a real world point of view
|The Stones of Blood|
|Novelised as:||Doctor Who and the Stones of Blood|
|Adapted into:||The Stones of Blood|
|Main enemy:||Cessair of Diplos|
|Main setting:||Earth, 1978|
|Number of episodes:||4|
|Premiere broadcast:||28 October - 18 November 1978|
|Doctor Who television stories|
|The Pirate Planet||The Androids of Tara|
It was the show's one hundredth television story. Part 4 was first broadcast the week of the show's fifteenth anniversary.
Searching for the third segment to the Key to Time brings the Doctor and Romana to present-day Earth, where the travellers have to contend with stone circles, Druidic rituals and a not-so-mythical goddess known as the Cailleach.
Part 1 Edit
The Fourth Doctor and Romana I are about to embark in search of the third segment of the Key to Time when a voice tells them to "Beware the Black Guardian." At this, the Doctor reveals Romana was not sent on this quest by the President of the Time Lords, but rather by the all-powerful White Guardian, who wishes them to gather the Key to maintain galactic stability. They venture outside to find themselves near the Nine Travellers, a group of cromlech or standing stones in Boscombe Moor, Cornwall. Also interested in the location is aged archaeologist Professor Amelia Rumford, who is surveying the stones with her friend, Vivien Fay.
Alerted to the activities of a local druidic sect, the Doctor goes to meet its implied leader, de Vries. He lives in a large property nearby, Boscombe Hall, built on the site of the Convent of the Sisters of St Gudula. Inside, de Vries and his maid, Martha, are incanting to the Cailleach, the Druidic goddess of war and magic. The Doctor interrupts and is entertained briefly by de Vries until his host sees the opportunity to knock him out. De Vries and his mistress, dressed in a hideous bird costume, aim to sacrifice him to the Cailleach.
At the same time Romana is wandering by the cliff edge when an apparition of the Doctor confronts her and she falls over the edge.
Part 2 Edit
The sacrifice is interrupted by Professor Rumford, who frees the Doctor. They go to help Romana, who is clinging to the cliff just below the edge. She is confused by the Doctor's seeming involvement in her falling off the cliff, but the newly arrived K9 calms her by assuring Romana it is indeed the Doctor — and he is convinced of the existence of a projected doppleganger. He decides de Vries can answer some questions, and sets off for Boscombe Hall.
When he gets there, he finds the owner and his maid have been crushed to death. The Hall is under attack by a pair of mobile giant stones like those from the Moor. The Doctor and K9 repel the attack, though the robot dog is badly damaged and needs repair in the TARDIS. More curious facts come to light: the Doctor works out that the stones need blood to survive. Romana has pieced together that the owners of the Hall and the preceding convent were all women. It soon becomes clear they all had the same face too — that of Vivien Fay.
Meanwhile, the woman in the bird costume has brought more stones (or Ogri, as she calls them) to life using poured blood. Romana ventures back to the stone circle and there finds Miss Fay in the costume. When challenged, she fires a weapon at Romana, causing her to dematerialise.
Part 3 Edit
After dispensing with one of the stones pursuing them, the Doctor and Professor Rumford reach the stone circle. Miss Fay tells them Romana will be safe if the Doctor stops interfering. She disappears. The Doctor now identifies the stones as Ogri, a life form from Ogros in the Tau Ceti system. Two of them are still missing and moving around the countryside. Two innocent campers help quench their taste for blood.
The Doctor calculates Romana and her captor must be in hyperspace. He builds a projecting device which he uses to transmit himself there. He arrives on a hyperspace craft which seems to be a prison vessel. He soon breaks a lock on a sealed door, releasing two floating globes. They are Megara, justice machines, dispensing the law as judge, jury and executioner. They contend that as the Doctor broke the seals, he has transgressed the law and should be eliminated.
K9 and Amelia have meanwhile been tasked with protecting the projector used by the Doctor to cross the dimensions, but find themselves under attack from two Ogri. Vivien returns to Earth and destroys the device but spares her friend. She takes the Ogri back to the hyperspace vessel with her and there tells the Doctor and Romana she has destroyed their linking device between the dimensions, leaving them trapped in hyperspace. She can cross the dimensions easily with her wand, however. She will now destroy them.
Part 4 Edit
The Megara destroy one of the Ogri that threatens them. The Doctor faces trial by the Megara, an abrupt and unfair process dependent on the word but not the spirit of the law. Conducting his own defence, he tries to draw Vivien Fay into the trial and get the Megara to subject her to the truth assessor, which will reveal her true identity to the court. Towards this end, he puts Romana in the witness chair to establish a precedent for the use of the truth assessor. When he calls "Vivien" to the stand, he argues she should be attached to the assessor like Romana. The Megara, however, deny his appeal, on the grounds that she was not a direct witness to the crime for which he stands accused.
Nevertheless, the Doctor comes closer to the truth about "Vivien". He argues successfully to put one of the two Megara on the stand, who tells the court the nature of the journey that has kept them in hyperspace for four thousand years. They are on a mission to find and try Cessair of Diplos, a criminal wanted for murder and the removal and misuse of the Great Seal of Diplos. The Megara states the seal has significant powers: transmutation, transformation and the ability to establish "hyperspatial and temporal coordinates".
Amelia and K9 have repaired the projector and use it to beam Romana back from the hyperspace vessel — and the one surviving Ogri, which chases them. They find incriminating data at Miss Fay's cottage — cookery books in which a number of recipes containing citrus fruit juices have been crossed out; Amelia says that Miss Fay was allergic to citric acid. Romana and the Ogri return to the spacecraft to await the verdict.
At the close of his trial, the Doctor is convicted and the Megara fire executing beams at him. He drags Vivien into the beams' focus, forcing the Megara to examine her to see if she is badly hurt. They find she is indeed Cessair of Diplos. She is charged with her crimes when she wakes and the last Ogri is confined in a cell aboard the ship to be returned to its own planet. Cessair is sentenced to confinement for fifteen hundred years and perpetual imprisonment, both to run consecutively, and is turned into stone on Boscawen Moor.
Evading further questioning by the Megara on the matter of his delayed execution, the Doctor, K9 and Romana return to the TARDIS, thanking Amelia for her assistance. As he suspected the Great Seal of Diplos — removed from the Cessair's neck before she was turned to stone — is the third segment of the Key to Time and he translates it to its proper form.
- The Doctor - Tom Baker
- Romana - Mary Tamm
- Voice of K9 - John Leeson
- Male Camper - James Murray
- Female Camper - Shirin Taylor
- De Vries - Nicholas McArdle
- Martha - Elaine Ives-Cameron
- Voices of Megara - Gerald Cross, David McAlister
- Amelia Rumford - Beatrix Lehmann
- Vivien Fay - Susan Engel
- Writer - David Fisher
- Director - Darrol Blake
- Assistant Floor Manager - Carol Scott, Nigel Taylor
- Costumes - Rupert Jarvis
- Designer - John Stout
- Incidental Music - Dudley Simpson
- Make-Up - Ann Briggs
- OB Cameraman - Trevor Wimlett, Mike Windsor
- Production Assistant - Carolyn Montagu
- Production Unit Manager - John Nathan-Turner
- Script Editor - Anthony Read
- Special Sounds - Liz Parker
- Studio Lighting - Warwick Fielding
- Studio Sound - Richard Chubb
- Theme Arrangement - Delia Derbyshire
- Title Music - Ron Grainer
- Visual Effects - Mat Irvine
- Producer - Graham Williams
- Director - Darrol Blake
Astronomical objects Edit
- Diplos is in orbit around a type G star in the Tau Ceti System.
- Ogros is in the same star system as Diplos.
The Doctor Edit
- The Doctor says he's met Albert Einstein.
- When asked is he is from outer space, the Doctor initially says no, indicating instead that it is better described as "inner time".
- This appears to be Romana's first visit to Earth.
- Vivian Fey is Cessair of Diplos (aka the Cailleach).
- The Doctor informs Romana that it was the White Guardian who sent her, not the President.
- During his appeal, the Doctor refers to Romana by her full name, Romanadvoratrelundar, for the first time, although he subsequently shortens this to "Miss Dvoratrelundar".
Galactic Law Edit
- The Ogri aided Cessair of Diplos in contravening article 7954 of the Galactic Charter.
- According to Megaran Legal Code, impersonating a religious figure is punishable by imprisonment for fifteen hundred years.
- According to Megaran Legal Code, theft of the Great Seal of Diplos is punishable by perpetual imprisonment.
- According to Megaran Legal Code, breaking an official seal without authorisation is punishable by death.
- According to Megaran Legal Code, contempt of court is punishable by death.
- According to Megaran Legal Code, once you have been called to testify, you must appear.
- Article 3 - Subsection 135 of Megaran Legal Code: "We the Megaran are not permitted to read the memory cells of any beings, except when they are unable to present their evidence by reason of death, unconsciousness, or natural stupidity."
- Article 14 - Subsection 135 of Megaran Legal Code may grant a humanoid a stay of execution for two hours while they hear an appeal.
- Article 23 - Subsection 17 of Megaran Legal Code: "Attempts to influence the bench are punishable by death."
- K9 erases all memory banks concerning tennis after Romana casually tells him to "forget it" in response to a question.
- The only crystals Amelia Rumford finds in the house are Epsom salts.
- The Doctor mentions the Galactic Federation.
- The cells in the spacecraft contain a dead Wirrn and a non-functioning Kraal android. (A Sea Devil was also to have appeared, but shots of the creature were lost at the editing stage.)
- The Ogri are from the planet Ogros.
Theories and concepts Edit
- Hyperspace is a "theoretical absurdity", according to Romana.
Story notes Edit
- This story had the working titles of The Nine Maidens and The Stones of Time.
- Gerald Cross also provided the voice of the White Guardian in Part One. He was uncredited on-screen, but was credited as 'Voice of the Guardian' in Radio Times.
- Director Darrol Blake originally offered the role of Vivien Fay to Honor Blackman, who declined the part as she felt Beatrix Lehmann had all the best material. Blake then asked Maria Aitken, who wasn't interested. Susan Engel was finally hired for the part. Blackman would later appear in the Sixth Doctor serial Terror of the Vervoids, the third segment of The Trial of a Time Lord.
- The fifteenth anniversary of the programme took place on 23 November 1978, five days after the broadcast of Part 4. To commemorate this, Anthony Read asked David Fisher to write a new scene (expanded by Darrol Blake) featuring Romana I and K9 surprising the Doctor with a cake celebrating his seven hundred fifty-first birthday (and a new, identical scarf). However, producer Graham Williams vetoed this idea as being too self-indulgent and the scene was never shot. Blake had already ordered a cake, and this was eaten by the cast and crew.
- This is the one hundredth Doctor Who story.
- This was the only story between Frontier in Space and the end of the series' initial run not to have the special sounds created by Dick Mills. Mills suffered a brief illness and Elizabeth Parker provided the sound effects instead. However, due to an oversight, Mills was still credited on-screen.
- Exteriors in this serial were videotaped rather than filmed, which is something that occurred only rarely before 1986. According to comments on the 2007 DVD release, director Darrol Blake made the decision to use only one medium because of a dislike of the discontinuity created by the constant switch between filmed exteriors and videotaped interiors. Although not discussed, the fact "exteriors" taking place at night were actually shot in the studio probably made it necessary from a practical point of view, too.
- In the original script, the Doctor would have been seen at the end of part 1 leading Romana to the cliff's edge and pushing her off. Tom Baker refused to perform this, saying that it would upset young viewers to see "the Doctor" behaving in this manner, and adding that the "possessed Doctor" had been done to death. As a compromise, Baker agreed to let his voice be used calling "Romana!". (DCOM: The Stones of Blood)
- The location used for de Vries' house was actually a business college. As a prank, during location filming some students removed the TARDIS prop and relocated it to the nearby quarry. (INFO: The Stones of Blood)
- A frequently recounted, humorous, behind-the-scenes incident occurred during location filming (and is told yet again by John Leeson in the Getting Blood from the Stones featurette on the 2007 DVD). Tom Baker was filming on location with the remote-controlled K9; Leeson was in a van some distance away, providing K9's voice over a loudspeaker for Baker to act to. During a break in filming, using the two-way radio set up for feeding Leeson's voice to the set, Baker was seen by onlookers to be sitting down with K9 and doing the Times Crossword puzzle; Leeson discussed the puzzle with Baker, remaining in character as K9.
- According to the Getting Blood from the Stones featurette on the 2007 DVD release, the scene in which the Doctor and Romana embrace while preparing to be transported back to Earth constituted one of several visual in-jokes perpetrated by Tom Baker to play up his Doctor's utter asexuality, as the Doctor acts oblivious to being in close quarters with the lovely Romana. A similar scenario occurs in the catacombs during The Ribos Operation.
- Romana gives the TARDIS wardrobe a workout in this episode, appearing in three different outfits during the story (if one includes her costume held over from The Pirate Planet).
- Part 1 - 8.6 million viewers
- Part 2 - 6.6 million viewers
- Part 3 - 9.3 million viewers
- Part 4 - 7.6 million viewers
- The BBC received over eight hundred complaints for the graphic portrayal of headless corpses in part 2. While it is plausable the BBC received some complaints there has never been any factual (i.e. news reports) evidence revealed to say they received as many as 800 complaints.
Filming locations Edit
- The exteriors of this story were filmed on location at the Rollright Stones, a real megalithic site in central England. An actual legend of the site states that it is impossible to count the stones. As the serial ends, the Doctor notes that the number of stones in the circle has changed (due to the removal of three Ogri and the addition of Cessair's imprisoned form) and suggests Dr. Rumford write a monograph about it. In 2007, Mary Tamm returned to the site to tape a featurette for the DVD release of the story in which she interviewed local historians about the site.
- Brewery Row, Little Compton, Warwickshire
- The King's Men, Rollright Stones, Little Rollright, Oxfordshire
- Little Rollright Quarry, Oakham Road, Little Rollright, Oxfordshire (Location of the "cliff" that Romana falls off)
- Reed College (now known as Reed Business School Ltd), Little Compton, Warwickshire
- Manor Farm, Oakham Road, Little Rollright, Oxfordshire (Location of the TARDIS's arrival)
- BBC Television Centre (TC3), Shepherd's Bush, London
Production errors Edit
- In spite of allegedly having his skull crushed, the "corpse" of de Vries is visibly breathing.
- When the Doctor and Amelia are first chased by the Ogri, two crew-members are quite clearly visible in the doorway manipulating the creature. One appears in the right side of the doorway just after the Ogri enters, the other can be glimpsed behind the Ogri itself, pushing it forward.
- At minute 12 of the 4th episode, when Romana stands in the kitchen, a microphone is visible at the top left for a few seconds.
- In the Getting Blood from the Stones featurette on the DVD release, director Darrol Blake claims you can see one of the Ogri prop's wheels when it falls over a cliff.
- When the Doctor and Amelia are on the cliff being chased, a van can be seen in the background right after she says, "We're trapped."
- This is the third of six linked serials that comprise the whole of Season 16, known collectively as The Key to Time.
- Modified Ogri appear in PROSE: Legacy.
- The events of this story occur immediately after (or very soon after) the conclusion of The Pirate Planet. Romana is still wearing her outfit from the preceding story at the start of the serial and it is suggested that they have just obtained the second segment.
- For the benefit of Romana (and presumably new viewers), the Doctor recaps his mission briefing from the White Guardian following the reception of a mysterious warning regarding the Black Guardian.
- The above sequence reveals that Romana thought the President of the High Council had assigned her the mission, when in fact it was the White Guardian in disguise.
Home video and audio releases Edit
DVD releases Edit
- This story was released along with The Ribos Operation, The Pirate Planet, The Androids of Tara, The Power of Kroll and The Armageddon Factor as Doctor Who: The Key to Time. This October 2002 release was only in Region 1. Extras include commentary by Mary Tamm and Darrol Blake, a photo gallery and production information subtitles.
- It was released with the same stories as Doctor Who: The Key to Time, an extras-laden box set limited to 15,000 in its initial UK release on 24 September 2007, later followed by wide release in Region 1 on 3 March 2009 as The Key to Time - Special Edition.
Contents (2007/2009 version):
- Commentary by Tom Baker, Mary Tamm, Susan Engel and David Fisher.
- Commentary by Mary Tamm and Darrol Blake (carried over from the 2002 set).
- Getting Blood from the Stones - Cast and crew look back at the making of The Stones of Blood, including Mary Tamm,John Leeson, Susan Engel, David Fisher, Anthony Read, Darrol Blake and Mat Irvine.
- Hammer Horror - A short featurette considering the influences of horror films on Doctor Who stories over the years.
- Stones Free - A 2007 featurette in which Mary Tamm visits the Rollright Stones to meet experts on this ancient stone circle.
- Deleted Scenes - Deleted footage from Part 2.
- The Model World of Robert Symes - An excerpt from a 1979 programme looking at the modelwork for The Stones of Blood.
- Blue Peter & Nationwide - The two BBC magazine programmes celebrate Doctor Who's 15th anniversary. The Nationwide segment includes interviews with Carole Ann Ford, Mary Tamm and Tom Baker.
- Continuities - Off-air continuity links from the story's original BBC1 transmission.
- Radio Times Billings - Original listings from Radio Times (DVD-ROM PC/Mac)
- Coming Soon Trailer - Planet of Evil (2007 UK version only)
- Production Subtitles
- Photo gallery (2009 Region 1 version)
- Editing for the DVD release was completed by the Doctor Who Restoration Team.
The Key to Time boxed set covers Edit
Video releases Edit
- The Stones of Blood at the BBC's official site
- The Stones of Blood at BroaDWcast
- Detailed synopsis of The Stones of Blood at the Doctor Who Reference Guide
- The Stones of Blood at Shannon Sullivan's A Brief History of Time (Travel)
- The Stones of Blood at The Locations Guide