Doctor Who (1963–1989)
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The Stones of Blood: Part One 

On Earth to collect the third segment to the Key to Time, the Doctor and Romana encounter modern day druids in Cornwall making blood sacrifices to Cailleach, the goddess of war and magic, ... See full summary »

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Beatrix Lehmann ...
Susan Engel ...
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K9 (voice)
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De Vries
Elaine Ives-Cameron ...
Martha
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Storyline

On Earth to collect the third segment to the Key to Time, the Doctor and Romana encounter modern day druids in Cornwall making blood sacrifices to Cailleach, the goddess of war and magic, at a megalithic circle known as The Nine Travelers. The Tracer says the third segment is there, then says it isn't, which is very odd. Written by statmanjeff

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28 October 1978 (UK)  »

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1.33 : 1
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Trivia

David Fisher envisioned the Ogri as rocky-skinned humanoids who looked like regular stones only when stationary. This was deemed too costly, although elements of Fisher's original idea - such as the large footprint found by the Doctor and Romana - remained in the script. See more »

Quotes

The Doctor: [entering dwelling alone] Hello? Anybody home?
[silence]
The Doctor: Nobody home except us druids.
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Connections

Featured in Getting Blood from the Stones (2007) See more »

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User Reviews

I Used to Be a Brown Owl
6 February 2016 | by (Tunbridge Wells, England) – See all my reviews

"The Stones of Blood" is the third part of the "Key to Time" sequence. After finding the first two segments of the Key on alien planets, the Doctor and Romana now arrive on Earth- in Cornwall, to be precise, near a prehistoric group of standing stones known as the Nine Travellers which are being investigated by two lady archaeologists. The stones have also aroused the interest of a sinister pagan cult, headed by de Vries, the local Lord of the Manor, who believe them to be sacred to their goddess, the Cailleach. The serial has some similarities with the Third Doctor adventure, "The Daemons", which also involved archaeologists investigating prehistoric remains. In both stories the Doctor appears to be menaced by the forces of the paranormal; in both cases the danger is real, although it turns out that the source of that danger is natural rather than supernatural.

The previous serial, "The Pirate Planet", had been written by Douglas Adams, best remembered for his sci-fi spoof "The Hitch-Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy", and contains a lot of his eccentric brand of humour. "The Stones of Blood" was not written by Adams, but is still pretty tongue- in-cheek, even though several members of the cast end up dead. (Sardonic humour seemed to be a feature of the programme in the late seventies). The Doctor even manages to fire off a few wisecracks when the villains are threatening to kill him. The serial's tone can perhaps be gauged by an exchange in the first episode when Vivien, one of the archaeologists, announces "I used to be a Brown Owl". Romana looks taken aback, obviously taking this information literally, but is reassured when the Doctor explains Vivien means a Brownie Guide leader, which makes perfect sense to her. The Girl Guide movement is evidently well established on Gallifrey. (Vivien later proves not to be all she seems; in comparison with her real identity a past as a member of the species Strix aluco would not be all that surprising).

In the third and fourth episodes of this series the setting shifts away from Cornwall to hyperspace, but even here there is plenty of humour, most of it satirical in nature. We are introduced to the Megara, justice machines which administer the law as policeman, prosecutor, judge, jury and executioner and, despite their contempt for "mere humanoids", display some very unattractive human characteristics, such as a callously bureaucratic and legalistic mentality.

The serial has two main flaws. The first is that its two halves, one set in Cornwall and the other in a vessel in hyperspace, do not fit together well. They seem like episodes from two quite different Doctor Who adventures, incongruously joined together and united only by the presence of one character. The other is that the principal monsters, the Ogri, seem neither scary nor convincing. (The Ogri are a silicon-based life-form from an alien planet. They look exactly like rocks, enabling them to fit in on Earth by pretending to be part of the Nine Travellers, but are able to move around and kill people).

The serial's strong points are a powerful sense of atmosphere during the first two episodes and some good acting. Tom Baker's style of acting seemed to be an excellent fit for the rather jokey, knowing tone of many serials during this era. (Some of the Doctors- most notably William Hartnell- would not have fitted in at all well). There is also an excellent contribution from Beatrix Lehman as the elderly and eccentric, but good-hearted, Professor Emilia Rumford. This was to be Lehman's last television appearance; she was to die the following year. This is far from being the scariest "Doctor Who" adventure, but if one can overlook the strange disconnect between its two contrasting halves it is often a lot of fun.

A goof. Why would Cornish Druids be worshipping the Cailleach, an Irish/Scottish deity rather than a Welsh/Cornish one? (Although both are regarded as "Celtic", there are many differences between the Gaelic culture, rooted in Ireland and later brought to Scotland by Irish settlers, and the Brythonic culture, rooted in mainland Britain). On the other hand, this "goof" may have been a deliberate one on the part of the scriptwriter to highlight the frequent ignorance of cultists like de Vries of the past they are supposedly trying to revive. This point is also made by the Doctor when he claims that John Aubrey invented Druidism as a joke. Aubrey joins the list of famous persons from history- others include Shakespeare, Nelson and Leonardo da Vinci- whom the Doctor claims to have known personally.


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