California - The State of Decay
An alternate Programme Guide by
The One Hundred and Fifteenth Entry in the Charles Daniels
Unauthorized Programme Guide O' Schwarzenegger
Serial 5P: California - The State of Decay
Searching for a way back to the Turk's Head Pub
(located at 92 High Street in Exeter, England, Earth),
or in fact to any drinking establishment in the entire
multiverse of the space-time alwayswhen, the Doctor
and Romana arrive in the TARDIS on a stereotypical
Here, they find that the villagers are governed by..
WAIT FOR IT!...three rulers, which have cleverly been
called - "The Three Who Rule".
The Doctor briefly wonders why the people of E-Space
have seemingly decided that society is best run by
three tyrannical despots each playing their own twisted
power games of evil -- he also wants to know what he can
do to become an evil dictator. To his suprise he only
needs 2 signatures and 3,500 Galactic Credits.
The Doctor seems ready and willing to take control
of this cliche medieval-like planet, until he is
informed by Romana and K9 that this will mean undertaking
a lame science fiction name such as Ming the Merciless,
or King Zarquo. Instead the Doctor merely opts to
meet the ruling powers that be -- King Zargo,
Queen Galaxian and their less successful co-dictator,
These rulers live in a dark and mysterious, very
cardboard-looking, tower overlooking the village.
These leaders have wisely outlawed technological
equipment, because that is just the sort of impossible
thing that leaders do in these sort of science fiction
The leaders also decree that young villagers be taken
from their homes and brought to them, never to be seen
again....which is actually the SAME plot that we see
in "Kingdom of Lust"...well, if you're into bad softcore
60s exploitation porn, you might have seen Kingdom of
Lust. It's not that good, and its sort of embarassing,
so let's just forget I mentioned this. Okay? Thanks.
After the Doctor and Romana are captured by a group of
rebel scientists, they are tied up and tortured with
long cylindrical devices...WAIT A MINUTE! This *IS*
like Kingdom of Lust. Terrance Dicks must have just
totally plagarised this whole damn thing! Why did I
never see this before? It's so damn obvious!
Or it would be...if you and I were the sort of person
who would watch such flith. Still, the scenes with
the leather straps weren't THAT bad, you know in a
sort of innocent 60s way. Umm...yeah, let's really
get away from this now.
Anyway, the rebel scientists are led by Kalmar Gravitron
the Great Mind of Ethnos. Kalmar is immediately smitten
with Adric and he uses his connections to make Adric his
personal bodyguard. Apparently, compared to the other
rebel scientists, Adric is seen as a really buff guy.
Adric is confronted by Billy, who attempts to put
the young boy under his influence. (See this part
is a lot more like this sci-fi gay porno I haven't
Meanwhile, the Doctor and Romana enter the wobbly
cardboard tower and discover that it is in fact a
wobbly cardboard spaceship, The Hydrox, which,
hundreds of years ago, was pulled through the
Cheap Vortex Entrance into E-Space just like the
TARDIS was. Furthermore, King Zargo, Queen Galaxian
and Billy are not the descendants of the original
crew, they ARE the original crew.
They are Vampires.
If you want to believe the continuity presented
in this episode, then..okay. Here we go -
The Great Vampires were a race of highly
improbably creatures that the Time Lords
themselves ignored repeatedly millennia ago.
The Great Vampires pillaged world upon world,
the Time Lords sat back and talked about
philosophy. Entire solar systems fell into
a tyranny of bloodletting and the destruction
of countless souls -- the Time Lords paused
for a moment, before deciding that they really
needed a good long sip of lemonade and a Jaffa
The galaxies themselves fell into endless
chaos, all civilization seemed certainly doomed.
The Time Lords debated their involvement, and
after 500 years of tense consideration -- they
decided to get back to it later.
Finally when the universe could no longer
support life as we understand it, the Time Lords
decided to take action -- but just then -- the
Great Vampires went into E-Space. The Time Lords,
in their infinite wisdom, decided that it was
the-universe-next-door's problem, and breathed
a sigh of relief as they went back to reading
fishing magazines of unimaginable power.
In short The Time Lords had done fuck all.
Now in E-Space the Doctor faces a fate worse
than death -- an eternity of being a walking
dead shell of the man he currently is, which really
isn't much to start with in the first place.
The Doctor manages to convince Adric of the
real identities of the rulers, and then they
decide not to just run away in terror, but
instead to bravely and righteously run away
in terror very VERY fast.
Book(s)/Other Related - Doctor Who and the Creepy Violin
Vampires: The Ultimate Plot Device
The Undead for Dummies
Fluffs - Tom Baker seemed pale for most of this story
Goofs - The Doctor says the Tower decor is early Saxon when
actually it's late Saxon/early Romanesque. I know, I
KNOW, it seems nitpicky, but after you take a few
classes in classical art, it drives you nuts. I still
haven't forgiven the Romans for those damned composite
Technobabble - Apparently there is a TechnoNapsterFileShare
System dancing on a grave stone labelled RIAA.
Links and References -
The Doctor asks Romana to put on a silver catsuit and answer
to the name Zoe. She doesn't comply, and this is never mentioned
Untelevised Misadventures -
The Doctor tells Romana 'There was once an old hermit
from the mountains of South Gallifrey...one day he
took me aside, and we went to a magical place, a
wonderland of excitement and mystery..a place called..
Milton Keynes! Wait, a minute, no, it was Flantagus V.
Milton Keynes is where I bought some Jelly Babies.
I also get those two confused. Must be the concrete
Romana says she used to work in the Bureau of Ancient
Records and once saw a reference to 'The Record of Rassilon'.
This, the Doctor discovers, was an embarrassing Beatles
Groovy DVD Extras -
Use your remote control in an Adric shooting gallery!
Definitely "Kingdom of Lust". I have it on Betamax
somewhere if you want me to prove it.
Dialogue Disasters -
Doctor: Night must fall, Romana, even in E-Space.
Romana: What are you rattling on about now you
drunken old bastard?
Dialogue Triumphs -
Doctor: [To Romana] Psst, you are wonderful.
Romana: Suppose I am. I've never really thought about it.
Romana: [To the Doctor] You are incredible.
Doctor: Well, yes, I am. I always think about that.
Dialogue Oddities -
The Doctor: Adric, we need your mathematical skills
to calculate the precise escape velocity
required to leave E-Space.
Tom Baker: Oh fuck it, I'll just use an abacus!
Viewer Quotes -
"I thought the whole production was given a definite
atmosphere of gloom and foreboding by the darkly lit
and sumptuous sets of the Tower...then I discovered
that they had just run past 10 o'clock and the BBC
had shut the lights off." - Andrew Jones (1985)
"I remember when Jesus fought Vampires. That was
totally radical. They should have never forced
that book into the Apocrypha. Goddamn Council
of Nicea. At least Doctor Who is trying to
set the story straight."
- Father James O' Maley (1985)
"I want to take this opportunity to clear up
a misquote that's been attributed to me over
the years. A lot of times I've been quoted
as saying 'This story looks a lot like a
Hammer film'. What I really said is
'This looks a lot like film that has been hit
by a Hammer. Big Difference." - Jeff Boyd (2003)
"I don't think I can remember a story that was as
well plotted...well, there was The Beard of Evil..
so just forget I said anything."
- I just quoted him anyway, I'm like that. (2002)
Psychotic Nostalgia -
"You don't need to be a vampire to drink the blood
of the damned, you know. I can't say that this was
-THE- episode that made me want to drink human blood,
but it definitely reinforced what was going on in
Tom Baker Speaks!
"Ahh yes, the VAMPIRES! I went to a vampire rave
in London a few years ago, I was hired by the DJ
to act as a human statue. That is how far I have
fallen since my days as a BBC hero. I don't have
many memories of this season, well, this YEAR of my
life. To be honest I've downplayed how much I was
drinking at this time in my life. It was actually
much worse than anyone knows. My love for fermented
beverages came to me as a young boy. I discovered the
joys of floor polish, while I was attempting to make
a living as a mop. It wasn't a fantastic job, and it
didn't pay well, but my head and hair was a natural
mop, and I got to eat whatever fluff got stuck in my
hair. It was the best job of my childhood. My fondest
memories are being used to mop up the floors of
Rumors & Facts -
This story is another example of the extreme lengths
John Satan-Turner and Bidmead would go to turn a completely
unusuable script into a script that was still unusable
but which they would be willing to go ahead and use anyway.
Before the beginning of season 18, Terrance Dicks sent in
a script that betrayed the fact that he hadn't actually
been paying attention to Doctor Who for years. The script,
apparently written for season 18, featured the Doctor
and his savage companion Leela.
In the script, "The Vampire Mutations", the Doctor and
Leela, land on a planet whose civilisation has regressed
from innovative sketch comedy to reality shows. The
citizens live in a perpetual state of fear, they might
be tempted at any moment to backstab the hell out of
their fellow-man for fame and fortune. At night, when
the reality tv starts, people become transformed into
zombies. The planet's rulers have been in power for a
thousand years, and it turns out that they are really
Dicks had planned that The Vampire Mutations would be
an undetectable ripoff of Bram Stoker's Dracula -- but
it was actually VERY detectable. How detectable?
It could be seen from space.
Bidmead and Satan-Turner admonished Dicks for his
attempt to so blantantly steal an internationally
famous classic horror novel, and told him that he
should focus on ripping off the Hammer films instead.
Unfortunately, while Dicks was midway through
re-scripting the serial, in a moment of clueless
leadership, Head of Serial Graeme McDonald ordered
its cancellation, because he feared it would be seen
as a send-up of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein.
Satan-Turner was aware that McDonald would stick
with whatever silly notion had passed his mind, no
matter how factless and insane it was. He also knew
that he could force Dicks to do whatever he wanted.
So against Dick's artistic objections he removed
all references to anything McDonald said was
"Frankenstein-like". As a result, various changes
were made, including the decision to have the
vampires' wobbly cardboard castle turn out to be a
wobbly cardboard spaceship in disguise and the
inclusion of the material which was basically a
cheap re-write of the Kingdom of Lust.
Beyond all this Dicks had to totally re-write
the whole story concept from scratch. Leela
had to be replaced with Romana, K-9, and Adric.
Overall this was done well, but with a few
major oversights -
- Adric, hired as a bodyguard for his strength,
kills someone with a janis thorn.
- Romana's stirring speeches about her "tribe"
- The infamous scene when K-9 kills a passerby
with a machete.
These radical changes are made worse by an
unfortunate development. Adric's character was
still being justified by Bidmead and Smyth
when Dicks' was finishing up his final version
of the script. Because Adric's character was
still being pitched as an artful dodger ala
Oliver Twist, Dicks inadvertently accentuated
some character traits which would soon be abandoned --
most notably Adric is a untrustworthy, selfish,
son of a bitch. Which sadly was a far better
character than what we eventually got.
It's about time, that I told one of the more
disturbing truths of season 18. When it came time
to cast the role of Adric, Satan-Turner was
approached about the part, via internal casting
adviser Jenny Jenkins, by a young BBC clerk in the
News Information Department named Matthew Waterhouse.
Waterhouse was a fan of Doctor Who, even holding a
membership in the Doctor Who Worship Cult. Satan-Turner
was immediately taken with the young lad, and 500 quid
in hotel room fees and a dirty weekend in France later,
Waterhouse ultimately won the role, despite the fact
his only prior acting experience was as an extra in a
commerical for motor oil.