The search for the Key to Time brings the Doctor and Romana to modern-day England, very close to a stone circle being studied by Professor Amelia Rumford and her friend Vivien Fey. Romana is alarmed to see real evidence that a live animal may have been sacrificed at the stones very recently, but is told by Professor Rumford that it’s probably just the work of an overenthusiastic local group of Druid recreationists. But it’s not just would-be Druids who are moving around the circle – Professor Rumford is convinced that the stones themselves are moving. The Doctor and K-9 witness this for themselves, as an unknown force uses an apparition of the Doctor to lure Romana over the edge of a cliff. The stakes are higher now than anything that the Druid afficionados could imagine – one of the galaxy’s most feared criminals is hiding out on Earth, using the rock-like Ogri to enforce her will…and hide her identity.
written by David Fisher
directed by Darrol Blake
music by Dudley Simpson
Guest Cast: Susan Engel (Vivien Fay), Beatrix Lehmann (Professor Rumford), Nicholas McArdle (De Vries), Elaine Ives-Cameron (Martha), Gerald Cross (Megara voice), David McAlister (Megara voice), James Murray (Camper), Shirin Taylor (Camper), Gerald Cross (voice of the Guardian), James Muir (Druid), Ian Munroe (Druid), Margaret Pilleau (Druid), Judy Crowne (Druid), Decima Delaney (Druid), Mike Mungarvan (Druid)
Broadcast from October 28 through November 18, 1978
LogBook entry & review by Earl Green
Review: One of the most intriguing stories in the Key To Time cycle, The Stones Of Blood benefits from better than usual production values and the kind of black magic/ghost story that suited Doctor Who so well in the Tom Baker years, right down to the Celtic Druid equivalent of a witches’ coven. The production looks a little slicker than usual due to director Darrol Blake’s insistence on using video instead of film for location shooting. There’s still some pure goofiness, including the giant moving stones and the Megara, two floating clumps of lights – erm, sorry, “justice machines” – which figure heavily into the latter half of the story.
Much has been made of Beatrix Lehmann’s guest appearance in this story, and while I personally can’t vouch for the rest of her body of work, she’s got to be one of the most perfectly-cast guest artists ever to show up in the series. Equally well-cast is Susan Engel as Vivien Fey, though she may have poured it on a little too thick, a little too quick – I doubt I’m spoiling anything for anyone by saying it’s easy to spot her as the baddie all the way from orbit.
Overall, though, a very interesting twist on an old story, one which hangs a sharp right about halfway through.