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Pickwick International


Released
Title
Narrator
Format
Release Code
June 1981
Doctor Who: State Of Decay
Tom Baker
Cass
Pickwick International PTB 607
1985
Doctor Who: State Of Decay
Tom Baker
2 cass
Ditto DTO 10517


Often mistaken as an abridgement of the Target novelisation, this unique talking book, recorded for Pickwick International in 1981, appears to have been written specially for cassette. The script is far removed from the Target manuscript (which was published some months after the Pickwick release), and features a number of structural and narrative changes (see below) that were not included in the novel. Later re-packaged onto two cassettes by Ditto, the 60 minute recording was available throughout the 1980s - although Pickwick did not release any further Doctor Who titles.

State of Decay

State Of Decay
Read by Tom Baker
Written & Abridged by Terrance Dicks

Trapped in an alternative Universe the Doctor lands on a sinister planet ruled by an unholy trio of tyrants. Aided by Romana and the faithful K.9, the Doctor must discover the dreadful secret of the Dark Tower and face the awakening horror that lies beneath it.
Side One opens with a stock 'space' sound effect, before Tom Baker begins a brief account of the events of State Of Decay as witnessed by the Doctor and Romana. All scenes not directly witnessed by them (in the tower, forest, Ivo's home and the rebel HQ) have been removed, with the sole exceptions of Adric's escape from the TARDIS and Ivo and Habris' argument before meeting the travellers, which Baker explains the Doctor and Romana watched from the window. As such, details of the selection process, Adric's journey from the TARDIS to the sacrifical chamber and the Vampire's decision to begin the ritual are entirely absent. The overall structure remains true to both the television serial and the book, however, although cutaway scenes showing the Doctor returning to the TARDIS are briefly summarised after descriptions of Romana's preparations for sacrifice.

As well as differences in narrative - including the lack of K9 dialogue, possibly at Baker's request (his lines are conveyed in narrative not speech) - the cassette offers several changes to the television story. At many points the narrative becomes more detailed than the Target book, although dialogue and conversations tend to be paraphrased throughout. Baker reads most of Side Two as though it were one long paragraph, neglecting to pause for every scene change. His voices for Ivo and Kalma are performed with a wheeze; all other characters are accentless.

Although otherwise identical in content, the single and double cassette versions of this reading differ in presentation, with the double cassette pack featuring some cheery music at the opening and closing of every side. The music has no obvious connection to either Doctor Who or The State of Decay, and it is probable that the music featured on all Ditto releases.