Doctor Who can be a taxing grind for any continuing character in the series, and in the midst of his seventh and final season the toll was apparent on Mr. Baker. During State of Decay Tom was at various times looking rather pale and gaunt. Fortunately, it was only temporary, in fact, the difference between studio recording sessions (and as it was a 4-part story there were two of these) was readily apparent.
As for State of Decay itself, it’s another example of the new production team making due as they struggled to keep up with production demands. The Leisure Hive was a holdover as was State of Decay, which was originally written as a Doctor/Leela combination, and as such feels a bit separate from the other stories comprising Season 18. In fact, the pacing in State of Decay at times is glacial and the story rather under-runs with an unusually generous amount of crossover from one episode to the next.
What can’t be disputed however is that State of Decay triumphs as an exercise in style. The Three Who Rule were definitely cool. And not to be forgotten Tom and Lalla were really on top form here, although there were times an astute viewer could ascertain that Tom wasn’t taking the proceedings all that seriously.
Believe it or not, the new caps for State of Decay are the next-to-last in the Tom Baker era to receive the Classic Capitology treatment. Next time, however, Classic Capitology treats pepperpots like rubber duckies. Glug glug.