Sunday, 28 October 2018

488 The Stones of Blood: Part One

EPISODE: The Stones of Blood: Part One
TRANSMITTED: Saturday 28 October 1978
WRITER: David Fisher
DIRECTOR: Darrol Blake
PRODUCER: Graham Williams
RATINGS: 8.6 million viewers
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who - The Key to Time Box Set (Ribos Operation/Pirate Planet/Stones of Blood/Androids of Tara/Power of Kroll/The Armageddon Factor)

"Death to the enemies of the Cailleach!"

The Doctor & Romana are trying to assemble the first two segments of the Key To Time when they are warned by the White Guardian to beware of the Black Guardian, causing the Doctor to reveal to Romana that the White Guardian, not the Time Lord president, had sent her on the quest. On Earth the Nine Travellers, a stone circle, is being used by night by a druidic cult worshipping the Cailleach. The next morning the Doctor & Romana arrive nearby, but the Doctor berates Romana on her choice of high heeled shoes for her first visit to planet Earth. She soon regrets her decision and they stop & rest at the Nine Travellers where they meet Professor Amelia Rumford and her friend, Vivien Fay, who are surveying the stones. Discovering blood at the scene the Doctor is informed that the site is used by a cult, and goes to meet it's leader, de Vries, who lives in the nearby Boscombe Hall. De Vries drugs him and prepares to use him as a sacrifice to the Cailleach. Romana, waiting for the Doctor at the stones, hears his voice calling her and follows the sound. She is confronted by an apparition of the Doctor and pushed over a cliff edge.....

Welcome to the 100th Doctor Who story! This is the first of several major milestones for the series this season. Apparently the initial intention was that the episode would start with the Doctor celebrating his Birthday and cutting a cake as a recognition of the story's significance but the scene was vetoed. Instead we get some decent Tardis scenes. Firstly The Doctor & Romana attempt to piece together the two segments of the Key they've found so far

DOCTOR: Right, let's put these two together and go and find the third. Er. Oh, I see.
ROMANA: Here, let me do it.
ROMANA: I used to be rather good at puzzles.
DOCTOR: Puzzles? You don't call that a puzzle, do you?
ROMANA: Well, hardly complex enough to be called a puzzle, is it.
DOCTOR: It certainly isn't.
ROMANA: Look, shouldn't we be getting on? We've only got two segments. Why don't you go and find out where our next destination is?
DOCTOR: Right. Ahem. Romana, I've just decided to go and find out where our next destination is.
ROMANA: Oh. Well?
DOCTOR: Have I got a treat in store for you, Romana.
ROMANA: Really?
ROMANA: Better than Calufrax, I hope.
DOCTOR: Oh, much better than Calufrax. You'll love it, I promise you. You'll love it.
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Then they receive a warning!

VOICE: Beware the Black Guardian.
ROMANA: What about these, Doctor?
VOICE: Beware the Black Guardian.
ROMANA: What? Doctor, what does it mean?
DOCTOR: It's a warning, and a reminder.
ROMANA: Doctor, I do wish I knew what you were talking about.
DOCTOR: If she'd been meant to know, he would have told her.
ROMANA: What? Look, I only want to know about our mission.
ROMANA: After all, what would I do if something happened to you?
DOCTOR: If something happened to me? Yes, I suppose you have a point. Yes, I don't really think it's fair.
DOCTOR: Romana, you were not sent on this mission by the President of the Supreme Council.
DOCTOR: No, no, you weren't.
ROMANA: But, I saw. He told me. Well, what am I doing here?
DOCTOR: The voice you just heard and the being you saw in the shape of the President was the White Guardian, or to be more accurate, the Guardian of Light and Time as opposed to the Guardian of Darkness, sometimes called the Black Guardian. They can assume any shape or form they wish.
ROMANA: Just like the segment of the key.
DOCTOR: Yes. That's why our mission is so vital. Romana, the Key of Time is so powerful that it must not be allowed to fall into the hands of any one being. It's been broken up into six segments and the segments scattered through the universe and disguised as other objects.
ROMANA: Yes, I know that, but what I don't know is why.
DOCTOR: Because there are times when the forces within the universe upset the cosmic balance so badly that the entire universe is in danger of eternal chaos.
ROMANA: And I suppose the Key can prevent that.
DOCTOR: That's what the White Guardian said. When it's fully assembled and activated, it stops everything.
ROMANA: Everything?
DOCTOR: Yes. So that the White Guardian can restore the balance.
ROMANA: I see. And I suppose there's a time like that approaching.
DOCTOR: Rapidly.
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Then we get to briefly see the otherwise absent K-9:

DOCTOR: Hello, K9.
K9: Master.
DOCTOR: Hello, my dear old thing. My
ROMANA: What's that?
DOCTOR: That's your surprise. We've landed.
ROMANA: Where?
DOCTOR: Come here. Earth.
ROMANA: Earth?
DOCTOR: I thought you'd be pleased.
ROMANA: I might have guessed. Your favourite planet.
DOCTOR: How do you know that?
ROMANA: Oh, everybody knows that.
DOCTOR: I didn't tell everybody that.
ROMANA: I can't think why, for the life of me.
DOCTOR: You'll like it. It's pretty civilised, on the whole.
ROMANA: Hmm, oxygen level good. Slight aqueous precipitation.
DOCTOR: Do you mean it's raining?
ROMANA: So it would appear.
DOCTOR: Ah well, that's what the locals call a soft day.
ROMANA: Oh, really?
DOCTOR: Any one for tennis?
ROMANA: Tennis?
DOCTOR: Yes, it's an English expression. It means, is anyone coming outdoors to get soaked?
K9: Master?
DOCTOR: Guard duty for you, K9. We don't know if the natives are friendly yet.
K9: Master.
ROMANA: K9, what is tennis?
K9: Real, lawn or table, mistress?
ROMANA: Never mind. Forget it.
K9: Forget. Erase memory banks concerning tennis. Memory erased.

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So then we end up on Earth in a stone circle:

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It's there we get to meet Professor Amelia Rumford and Vivien Fay.....

EMILIA: It's been surveyed, you know.
DOCTOR: I beg your pardon?
EMILIA: Surveyed. The circle. Many times.
EMILIA: Ah, so you noticed it, did you?
EMILIA: I always knew it was a matter of time before another professional came in and noticed the discrepancies. Oh, haven't I met you somewhere before, Professor?
DOCTOR: Doctor.
EMILIA: Oh, Doctor. Yes, of course. I have a wonderful memory for faces. Fougous.
DOCTOR: Fougous?
EMILIA: Fougous. Cornish fougous. You read that paper on them at the symposium at Princeton, or was it Cardiff? Oh, or was it that fool Leamington-Smith. Oh, dreadful paper. Complete bosh.
DOCTOR: Who are you?
EMILIA: Professor Emilia Rumford. Author of Bronze Age Burials in Gloucestershire.
DOCTOR: Oh! The definitive work on the subject.
EMILIA: Oh, you're too kind, Doctor, but of course perfectly right. It was the survey of Doctor Borlase in 1754 that brought you on to it. That's how I twigged, cos when I came to compare the survey of Doctor Borlase with the survey of the Reverend Thomas Bright in 1820 and then the two surveys of 1874 and 1911, well, it was obvious, wasn't it.
DOCTOR + ROMANA: What was obvious?
DOCTOR: I do beg your pardon. That's my assistant, Romana.
EMILIA: Oh, hello.
ROMANA: Hello.
EMILIA: What a charming name. What's the origin, I wonder?
ROMANA: What was obvious, Professor Rumford?
EMILIA: That there's been a miscount, my dear.
ROMANA: A miscount?
EMILIA: Of the stones. According to Doctor Borlase, the Nine Travellers here
ROMANA: The Nine Travellers?
EMILIA: Oh, it's a local name for them.
ROMANA: Yes, but there are more than nine stones.
EMILIA: Curious, isn't it.
Professor Rumford is played by veteran actress Beatrix Lehmann. The Stones of Blood is her last television appearance, she dies the following July. She played many roles over a long career. Her most famous prior science fiction appearance is in the second season Out of the Unknown episode The Prophet, an adaptation of Isaac Asimov's short story Reason, where she plays Doctor Susan Calvin. Sadly this episode is now missing from the archives but it's well known to Doctor Who fans as it's where the white Robots from the Mind Robber make their first appearance in their original black colour scheme.

Susan Calvin returns in the third season episode Liar! but in that appearance she's played by Wendy Gifford who was Miss Garret in The Ice Warriors. Unfortunately that episode is missing to so the closest we get to seeing Susan Calvin in Out Of The Unknown is in it's predecessor, Out of This World when Maxine Audley plays her in Little Lost Robot.

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DOCTOR: Dried blood, and quite a lot of it. Almost as if something had had it's throat cut.
VIVIEN: It probably did.
EMILIA: Oh, Vivien. Doctor, my friend Miss Vivien Fay.
DOCTOR: How do you do? You move very quietly, Miss Fay. I didn't hear you approach.
VIVIEN: I used to be a Brown Owl.
ROMANA: Really?
DOCTOR: The leader of a Brownie pack. Doesn't the blood upset you, then?
VIVIEN: Oh, it'll probably be just another sacrifice.
ROMANA: I thought you told me Earth was civilised now.
Susan Engel, playing Vivien Fay, has had a long acting career. I've seen her in Inspector Morse as Dora Hammersby in Death Is Now My Neighbour and her Midsomer Murders appearances as Camilla Crofton in Sins of Commission & Harriet Wingate in Death in the Slow Lane.

I first watched this story as a young & innocent five year old so some of the subtext may have been beyond me. The first time we saw this story together Liz took great pleasure in pointing out how unobservant I was and that there might be more to the relationship between Professor Amelia Rumford and her "friend", Vivien Fay than I had previously noticed.....

DOCTOR: Shush. You mean there have been sacrifices before?
VIVIEN: The BIDS are a bit primitive.
VIVIEN: The British Institute of Druidic Studies. Nothing at all to do with real Druids, of course, past or present. No, there's a group of them who come regularly. They all wear white robes and wave bits of mistletoe and curved knives in the air. It's all very unhistoric.
EMILIA: Oh, I think you dismiss them a little too easily.
DOCTOR: Why, has there been trouble?
EMILIA: Well, their leader, Mister De Vries, is a very unpleasant man.
DOCTOR: Really?
VIVIEN: Yes. As a matter of fact, we thought you were one of his group.
Playing Leonard De Vries is Nicholas McArdle. You can see him in The Sweeney as Inspector Wilson in Thou Shalt Not Kill and Tridgwell in Hearts and Minds. He also appears in the Porridge film as P.C. Townsend.

His wife Martha is played by Elaine Ives-Cameron.

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At this stage the missing paintings on DeVries' wall seem like an unimportant detail.

DOCTOR: Thomas Borlase 1701 to 1754. Oh. Oh, so that's the good doctor.
DE VRIES: He surveyed the Nine Travellers, but then you probably know that already, Doctor.
DOCTOR: Mister De Vries.
DE VRIES: Correct.
DOCTOR: How did you know my name?
DE VRIES: It was very sad about Doctor Borlase.
DE VRIES: Didn't Professor Rumford tell you?
DE VRIES: One of the stones fell on him just after he completed his survey.
DOCTOR: What? Maybe we should warn the Professor.
DE VRIES: She's quite safe.
DOCTOR: Ah. What about them?
DE VRIES: Those are away being cleaned. One of them's rather fine, by the Scottish painter Ramsey. Lady Morgana Montcalm. Perhaps you've heard of her?
DOCTOR: No, I'm afraid I haven't.
DE VRIES: The Montcalms owned this land and this house, including the circle. They used to call her the wicked Lady Montcalm.
DOCTOR: Really?
DE VRIES: She's said to have murdered her husband on her wedding night.
DE VRIES: That's Mrs Trefusis. She was a recluse. She lived here for sixty years and never saw a soul.
DOCTOR: Really.
DE VRIES: And that's a Brazilian lady, or would be if she were here. Senora Camara.
DOCTOR: Hmm. Was there a Senor Camara?
DE VRIES: He doesn't seem to have survived the crossing from Brazil. But don't let's stand about here in the hall, Doctor. Do come in. Let me offer you a glass of sherry.
DOCTOR: Yes, thank you, thank you. I'd like that.
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DOCTOR: That's rather an unusual pet, isn't it?
DE VRIES: It's not exactly what you'd call a pet, Doctor.
DOCTOR: You know, Mister De Vries, you never told me how you knew my name.
DE VRIES: Didn't I, Doctor?
DE VRIES: You never told me what your interest in the circle is.
DOCTOR: That's true. I'm looking for something.
DOCTOR: Part of a key.
DE VRIES: A key to what?
DOCTOR: Oh, it's just a key. It's been mislaid. Tell me, you're not really a Druid, are you.
DE VRIES: Not in the conventional sense, no, but I am a humble student of Druidic lore.
DOCTOR: That must be very boring.
DE VRIES: Boring? What do you mean?
DOCTOR: Well, I mean there's so little of it that's historically reliable, is there. The odd mention in Julius Caesar, Tacitus, no great detail. I always thought that Druidism was founded by John Aubrey in the seventeenth century as a joke. He had a great sense of humour, John Aubrey.
DE VRIES: It is no laughing matter.
DOCTOR: Oh. Oh, well that's a pity. What's your interest in the stones?
DE VRIES: The stones are sacred.
DOCTOR: To whom?
DE VRIES: To one who is mighty and all-powerful. To the Goddess.
DOCTOR: The Goddess? What goddess is that?
DE VRIES: She has many names. Morrigu, Nermintana, the Cailleach.
DOCTOR: Ah, Celtic, of course.
DE VRIES: Goddess of war, death and magic. Beware the raven or the crow, Doctor. They are her eyes.
DOCTOR: You don't really believe that, do you, hmm?
DE VRIES: I have seen her power, Doctor. Come.
It's at this point the Callieach makes it's entrance and DeVries whacks the Doctor over the back of the head!

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DE VRIES: His blood is still warm. I know what to do.
Great stuff!

An odd thing sprang out at me: DeVries sitting in a chair smoking! I can remember Hartnell smoking a pipe in the second episode ever, The Cave of Skulls, and the Master has a Cigar in his chauffeur driven car in Mind of Evil but I don't recall any other cigarette smoking at all. I suspect there must be some in the Pertwee earthbound era that I've just forgotten about!

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Right through this episode there's been some superb images in this episode starting with full moons and a druidic sacrifice in a stone circle.

According to IMDB somewhere in the Druids are a couple of regular supporting artists. James Muir was last seen in the previous story The Pirate Planet as a Technician and next in City of Death: Part One as a Louvre Detective while Mike Mungarvan we last saw as an Outcast Time Lord in The Invasion of Time and will be in the next story, The Androids of Tara, as a Gracht Guard.

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Another recurring theme is crows, which DeVries draws attention to while talking to the Doctor. Put that together with the stone circles, druids and talk of sacrifices and there's a lovely sinister feel to the episode.

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