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Doctor Who and the State of Decay was the Target Books version of the televised serial, State of Decay first broadcast from 22 November 1980. Written by Terrance Dicks, it was a surprisingly straightforward adaptation of the work as televised, given Dicks' stated disdain for script editor Christopher H. Bidmead's changes to his script. (DCOM: State of Decay)

The Pickwick audiobook version of State of Decay is sometimes mistaken for an audio abridgement of this book, but there is no relationship between the two versions.

The cover for the original Target edition featured the artwork of Andrew Skilleter.

Publisher's summary[]

The Doctor, Romana and K9 – and a young stowaway called Adric – are trapped in the alternative universe of E-Space.

Seeking help, they land on an unknown planet – and find a nightmare world where oppressed peasants toil for the Lords who live in the Tower, and where all learning is forbidden – a society in a state of decay.

What is the terrifying secret of the Three Who Rule? What monstrous creature stirs beneath the Tower, waking from its thousand-year sleep?

The Doctor discovers that the oldest and deadliest enemy of the Time Lords is about to spring into horrifying action.

Chapter titles[]

  1. The Selection
  2. The Strangers
  3. The Stowaway
  4. The Messengers of Aukon
  5. The Tower
  6. Tarak's Plan
  7. The Secret Horror
  8. The Resting Place
  9. Escape
  10. The Vampires
  11. The Traitor
  12. Attack on the Tower
  13. The Arising
  14. Departure

Deviations from televised story[]

  • The book includes several pieces of dialogue from earlier versions of the script that were left out of broadcast, such as K9 stating once he has finished his calculations he will go and rescue the Doctor and Romana.
  • Aukon's title is given as High Councillor.
  • All the references to "the wasting" are omitted, with Ivo instead stating the Lords protect them from "the dark things that stalk the night".
  • Veros is introduced later than on screen, during the scene where Tarak decides to go to the Tower.
  • The characters of Roga and Zoldaz are unnamed.
  • Prior to taking the TARDIS to the rebels' HQ, the Doctor deduces that since Romana and Adric haven't returned Tarak probably didn't deliver his message.
  • Ivo is shown to strangle Habris after encountering him at the Tower.

Writing and publishing notes[]

Additional cover images[]

British publication history[]

First publication:

  • Hardback
W.H. Allen & Co. Ltd. UK
  • Paperback


This Target Book was released as an audiobook on 7 January 2016 complete and unabridged by BBC Physical Audio and read by Geoffrey Beevers with K9's voice by John Leeson.

The cover blurb and thumbnail illustrations were retained in the accompanying booklet with sleevenotes by David J. Howe. Music and sound effects by Simon Power.

External links[]