State of Decay was a direct-to-cassette version of the televised story of the same name. It was distinct from both the TV story and the Target print novelisation. With a runtime of a mere 60 minutes, and a more or less in-character reading by Tom Baker, it had a very different format to the other two versions of this story.
It was one of the very few pieces of Doctor Who merchandise that was released on ¼" audio cassette. As of September 2017[update], it is, along with The Stones of Blood and The Androids of Tara, one of only three audio novelisations of a Doctor Who serial which are radically different from the print novelisation of the story.
Deviations from the TV story Edit
The main difference in the story on cassette is one of perspective. Almost all scenes are told from the Doctor and Romana's point of view. This shift leads to a reduction in Adric and K9's importance to the plot, removes a number of scenes with guest characters, and changes others such that the Doctor and Romana are said to have witnessed them from afar.
There are a number of specific differences with respect to the television story. Some of them are:
- The Law of Consonantal Shift is never mentioned — something that makes sense given Dicks' disdain of this Bidmeadism (DCOM: State of Decay)
- K9's role is reduced even to the point that he doesn't help the rebels with their attack
- Ivo has nothing to do with Habris' murder. In fact, Habris doesn't even die in this version.
- The Doctor's contact with the TARDIS is much more limited than on television. Thus, there is no scene in which he consults the Record of Rassilon or does a short hop mid-story.
The Pickwick version of State of Decay was first released on a single cassette by Pickwick themselves in 1981, about six months before the Target version hit stores. It was then re-released in 1985 by Ditto as a two-cassette pack. Other than the editing required to put the story on two cassettes, there is no narrative difference between the two versions.
There is, however, a small amount of music on the two-cassette version that's used as the intro and outro of each cassette. This music is fairly generic and has no connection to any Doctor Who soundtrack.