TARDIS Index File

The Stones of Blood (TV story)

The Stones of Blood
Stones title
Novelised as: Doctor Who and the Stones of Blood
Doctor: Fourth Doctor
Companion(s): Romana, K9
Main enemy: Cessair of Diplos
Main setting: Cornwall, 1978
Key crew
Writer: David Fisher
Director: Darrol Blake
Producer: Graham Williams
Release details
Story number: 100
Number of episodes: 4
Season/series: 16
Premiere broadcast: 28 October - 18 November 1978
Premiere network: BBC1
Format: 4x25-minute episodes
Production code: 5C
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The Stones of Blood was the third story of Season 16 of Doctor Who.

It was the show's one hundredth television story. Part 4 was first broadcast the week of the show's fifteenth anniversary.

Synopsis edit

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.

Plot edit

Part 1 edit

The Fourth Doctor and Romana I are about to embark in search of the third segment of the Key to Time. The Doctor is excited to find that it is located on Earth, which Romana describes as his favorite planet. Romana has dressed herself in a fashionable outfit, including a pair of four inch heels that the dismayed Doctor believes will be unsuitable for walking. They prepare to embark 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. On the way, they see heavy indentations in the ground, which intrigue the Doctor. Also interested in the location is aged archaeologist Professor Amelia Rumford, who is surveying the stones with her friend, Vivien Fay.

They find dried blood on the ground at the stones, and are alerted to the activities of a local druidic sect. The Doctor goes to meet its implied leader, de Vries. Romana, having difficulty walking in her heels, stays behind with Amelia and Vivien. De Vries 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.

Stones of blood part1

The Fourth Doctor and Romana at the Nine Travellers in Cornwall

Meanwhile, Amelia and Vivien prepare to go back to Vivien's cottage. They invite Romana to join them for a cup of tea, but she opts to stay at the circle to wait for the Doctor. After the others have left, Romana hears the Doctor's voice calling out to her. She calls out for the Doctor. When he does not answer, Romana decides she should investigate - in her bare feet. Her high heels have caused her so much ilk she pitches them. Romana approaches a cliff edge, still hearing the Doctor call out. Something disturbs her, and she yells for it to keep back. She steps backwards and falls over the edge.

Part 2 edit

Stones of blood part2

K9 takes the initiative and almost pays the price

Romana has managed to grab onto the rock face, and is clinging to the cliff just below the edge. Meanwhile, de Vries and Martha argue about the validity of sacrificing the Doctor, who is now awake and tied to one of the stones in the circle. The sacrifice is interrupted by the arrival of Professor Rumford, who frees the Doctor as the others flee. Neither of the Doctor nor Amelia knows where Romana is, however. After discovering her abandoned shoes, the Doctor summons K9 to help find her. They are successful. Romana is relieve to see K9, but is surprisingly mistrustful when she sees the Doctor. After they pull her up from the cliff, K9 calms her by assuring Romana it is indeed the Doctor. They conclude that it must have been a doppleganger of him who pushed her off the cliff. They assume that whoever it is must be in possession of the third segment of the Key to Time, and has found a way to utilize its shape-changing abilities. They decide de Vries can answer some questions, and set off for Boscombe Hall - after Romana is allowed to return to the TARDIS so she may change clothes and switch into a pair of sturdy boots.

When he gets there, he finds the owner and Martha 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

Stones of blood part3

The Megara pass judgment on the Doctor

Meanwhile, 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, and he frees Romana. 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 forever!

Part 4 edit

Stones of blood part4

The Ogri threat is not the only one facing the Doctor

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.

Cessair stone

Cessair is turned to stone.

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 Boscombe 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.

Cast edit

Crew edit

References edit

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.
  • Romana refers to Earth as the Doctor's favorite planet. When asked how she knows that, she tells him that everyone knows that.

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".
  • In Part 1, the Doctor paraphrases the song Ain't Nobody Here but Us Chickens when he says "Nobody here but us druids".
  • In Part 2, the Doctor references the Worried Man Blues when he says "worried men often sing worried songs".

Individuals edit

  • This appears to be Romana's first visit to Earth.
  • Romana unwisely picks a pair of four-inch heels for the terrain in Cornwall and the Doctor repeatedly warns her they are unsuitable.
  • 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 edit

  • K9 erases all memory banks concerning tennis after Romana casually tells him to "forget it" in response to a question.

Minerals edit

  • The only crystals Amelia Rumford finds in the house are Epsom salts.

Organisations edit

Species edit

  • 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 is the third of six linked serials that comprise the whole of Season 16, known collectively as The Key to Time.
  • 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).

Ratings edit

  • Part one - 8.6 million viewers
  • Part two - 6.6 million viewers
  • Part three - 9.3 million viewers
  • Part four - 7.6 million viewers

Myths edit

  • 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' arrival)
  • BBC Television Centre (TC3), Shepherd's Bush, London

Production errors edit

If you'd like to talk about narrative problems with this story — like plot holes and things that seem to contradict other stories — please go to this episode's discontinuity discussion.
  • 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."

Continuity edit

  • The Doctor recaps their mission for Romana, and reveals that she was actually sent on the mission by the White Guardian, rather than the Lord President of the High Council of Time Lords as she had thought.
  • The Doctor also tells her that there is a Black Guardian who may be out to thwart their quest.
  • The Doctor and Romana are also just putting away the second segment of the Key, which they have recently retrieved. (TV: The Pirate Planet)

Home video and audio releases edit

DVD releases edit

  • 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):

Notes:

The Key to Time boxed set covers edit

Video releases edit

External links edit