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"I'm more from what you'd call "inner time"..."
―The Doctor
The Stones of Blood
Series: Doctor Who -
TV Stories
Season Number: Season 16
Story Number: 100
Doctor: Fourth Doctor
Companions: K-9 Mark II
Romana I
Enemy: Cessair of Diplos
Setting: Earth; circa 1978
Writer: David Fisher
Director: Darrol Blake
Broadcast: 28th October - 18th November 1978
Format: 4 25-minute Episodes
Previous Story: The Pirate Planet
Following Story: The Androids of Tara

The Stones of Blood was the third story of Season 16 of Doctor Who. It was the show's 100th television story, and Part 4 was first broadcast on the week of the show's 15th 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

The Doctor and others at the Nine Travellers in Cornwall

The Doctor and Romana are about to embark in search of the third segment of the Key to Time when an aural warning tells them to "Beware the Black Guardian." At this prompt the Doctor reveals Romana was not sent on this quest by the President of the Time Lords, but rather by the omni-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 gromlech or standing stones in Boscombe Moor, Cornwall. Also interested in the location is aged archaeologist, Professor Amelia Rumford, who is surveying the stones along with her friend, Vivien Fay.

Alerted to the activities of a local druidic sect, the Doctor heads off to meet its implied leader, de Vries, who 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

K-9 takes the initiative and almost pays the price

The sacrifice is disturbed by Professor Rumford, who helps the Doctor get free. They go to help Romana, who is found clinging to the cliff just below the edge. She is somewhat confused, but the newly arrived K-9 calms her by assuring Romana it is indeed the Doctor – and he is convinced of the existence of a projected doppleganger. He determines that de Vries can answer some questions, and sets off for Boscombe Hall. When he gets there he finds the owner and his maid dead, crushed to death and the place under attack by a pair of mobile giant stones like those from the Moor. The Doctor and K-9 repel the attack, though the robot is badly damaged and needs repair work in the TARDIS. Some more curious facts come to life: the Doctor works out that the stones need blood to survive; and 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

The Megara pass judgement on the Doctor

After destroying one of the stones which is pursuing them, the Doctor and Professor Rumford reach the stone circle they are told by Miss Fay that Romana will be safe providing the Doctor stops interfering, and then disappears. The Doctor now identifies the stones as Ogri, a life form from Ogros in the Tau Ceti system, and there are two of them 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, and builds a projecting device which he uses to transmit himself there. He arrives on a hyperspace craft which appears 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.

K-9 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 of the 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 though she, with her wand, can cross the dimensions easily. She will now destroy them.

Part 4

The Ogri threat is not the only one facing the Doctor

The Megara destroy one of the Ogri when it threatens them. The Doctor now 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 attempts to draw Vivien Fay into the trial and to get the Megara to subject her to truth indicators, surmising she is one of the criminals from the prison ship. He finds out that one of the prisoners the ship was carrying is Cessair of Diplos, a criminal wanted for murder and the removal and misuse of the Great Seal of Diplos, which had the powers of transmutation, transformation, and the establishing of hyper spatial and temporal coordinates.

Amelia and K-9 have meanwhile repaired the projector and use the device to beam Romana back from the hyperspace vessel – plus the one surviving Ogri, which pursues them. They find some incriminating data at Miss Fay's cottage and then 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 quickly drags Vivien into the beams' focus, forcing the Megara to examine her to see if she is badly hurt. On doing so they find that she is indeed Cessair of Diplos. She is charged with her crimes when she awakes 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 1500 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, K-9 and Romana return to the TARDIS, thanking Amelia for her great 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.




  • Vivian Fey is Cessair of Diplos (aka the Cailleach).
  • The cells in the spacecraft contain a Wirrn and an android.
  • The Ogri are from the planet Ogros.
  • The Ogri aided Cessair of Diplos contravening article 7954 pf the Galactic Charter.
  • The Doctor reveals to Romana that it was the White Guardian that sent her not the President.
  • Hyperspace is a "theoretical absurdity" according to Romana.
  • Diplos is in orbit of a type G star in the Tau Ceti System.
  • The Doctor mentions the Galactic Federation.
  • The Doctor says he's met Albert Einstein.
  • During his appeal, the Doctor refers to Romana by her full name, Romanadvoratrelundar, for the first time, although he subsequently shortens this to "Miss Voratrelundar".

Story Notes

  • 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, uncredited.
  • 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, third segment of 'The Trial of a Time Lord.
  • The fifteenth anniversary of the programme took place on 23rd 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 and K-9 surprising the Doctor with a cake celebrating his 751st 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 eventually eaten by the cast and crew.
  • This is the 100th story of Doctor Who
  • 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. Due to Mills suffering a brief illness, Elizabeth Parker provided the sound effects instead.
  • Exteriors in this serial were videotaped rather than filmed, which is something that occurred only rarely prior to 1986. According to comments on the 2007 DVD release, director Darrol Blake made the decision to use only one medium because of a dislike over 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.
  • A frequently recounted humorous behind-the-scene incident occurred during location filming (and is recounted 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 K-9; Leeson was in a van some distance away, providing K-9's voice over a loudspeaker for Baker to play off of. During a break in filming, utilizing the two-way radio set up for feeding Leeson's voice to the set, Baker was seen by onlookers to be sitting down with K-9 and doing the Times Crossword puzzle (as Leeson discussed the puzzle with Baker while remaining in character as K-9).
  • 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, being seen in three distinct 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


to be added

Filming Locations

  • 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 3 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

Discontinuity, Plot Holes, Errors

  • How does de Vries control the ravens, and what is their function? She does have access to powerful technology and this power would convince her followers she had powers. Also birds would make good spies.
  • At the start of the story there are three Ogri. One falls off a cliff, but later there are still three. Maybe it survived the fall.
  • If Cessair has escaped from the prison ship, why does she stay on Earth? What's her plan? If we knew that it wouldn't be that much of a secret plan. Why should she leave when she has her liberty? Besides, how could she leave without a ship of her own.
  • Why did the ship get stuck in hyperspace?
  • Why would Cessair be content to live in her tiny cottage when she could still be at de Vries' mansion?
  • The line of empty portrait spaces in de Vries' hall implies that at some point, all four portraits of Cessair (under her various aliases) were hanging next to each other, thus allowing all to see that their subjects are the same person. Why would Cessair ever allow this to happen and run the risk of blowing her cover?
  • 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.
  • 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.


  • 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 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.

DVD, Video and Other Releases

DVD Releases

  • Also released with same stories as Doctor Who: The Key to Time, an extras-laden box set limited to 15,000 in its initial UK release on 24th September 2007, later followed by wide release in Region 1 on 3rd 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 Whos 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)



Main article: Doctor Who and the Stones of Blood

See Also

to be added

External Links

  • BBC Episode Guide for The Stones of Blood,
  • Doctor Who Reference Guide: Detailed Synopsis - The Stones of Blood
  • A Brief History of Time (Travel): The Stones of Blood
  • The Locations Guide to Doctor Who - The Stones of Blood
Season 16
The Ribos Operation  • The Pirate Planet  • The Stones of Blood  • The Androids of Tara  • The Power of Kroll  • The Armageddon Factor
This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original article was at The_Stones_of_Blood. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with the TARDIS Index File, the text of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License 3.0 (Unported) (CC-BY-SA).

This article uses material from the "The Stones of Blood" article on the Dr Who wiki at Wikia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.


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