No stone unturned

Today marks 45 years since part one of the classic Doctor Who story ‘The Stones of Blood’ was broadcast.

‘The Stones of Blood’ is a remarkable gem in the extensive universe of Doctor Who, showcasing the brilliance of the series in storytelling, character development, and creativity. Airing in 1978 as part of the ‘Key to Time’ season of the show’s classic era, this story, penned by David Fisher and directed by Darrol Blake, stands out as a quintessential example of Doctor Who’s ability to blend science fiction, mystery and adventure into a seamless narrative.

One of the most commendable aspects of ‘The Stones of Blood’ is its intricate plot. The story weaves a complex web of ancient rituals, alien justice and time-travelling, keeping the viewers on the edge of their seats throughout. The Doctor, Romana and K9’s journey to Earth, where they encounter a circle of ancient stones, swiftly evolves into a thrilling exploration of extraterrestrial life and its interaction with human history.

The character of the Doctor, brilliantly portrayed by Tom Baker, is at his charismatic best in this story. His wit, wisdom and eccentricity shine through, captivating the audience and exemplifying why he remains one of the most beloved incarnations of the Time Lord. Romana, played by the talented Mary Tamm, adds depth to the narrative with her intelligence and determination, proving herself as a strong and resourceful companion. Additionally, K9, the Doctor’s faithful robotic dog voiced by John Leeson, adds a delightful touch of humour and loyalty, endearing himself to fans.

Furthermore, ‘The Stones of Blood’ benefits from its eerie atmosphere and impressive set designs. The ancient stones, which are revealed to be silicon-based aliens called Ogri, exude a sense of mystery and foreboding, creating a visually captivating backdrop for the story. The juxtaposition of these alien elements with the serene English countryside adds to the story’s intrigue, capturing the viewers’ imagination and transporting them into the Doctor’s world.

The story’s themes are also worth appreciating. It delves into the concept of justice, exploring the moral implications of punishment and vengeance. By introducing the Megara, a race of justice machines, the narrative raises thought-provoking questions about the nature of right and wrong, making the audience contemplate the complexities of morality and the consequences of our actions.

‘The Stones of Blood’ is a testament to the brilliance of Doctor Who as a series. Its compelling storyline, well-developed characters, and thought-provoking themes make it one of the standout stories in the show’s long history. It encapsulates the essence of Doctor Who, offering viewers a thrilling and intellectually stimulating experience, and reminding us all why the Doctor’s adventures continue to captivate audiences across generations.

The story is discussed by director Darrol Blake and cast members including John Leeson in Who Talk: The Stones of Blood, available now from Fantom on CD or to download. Also published by Fantom in paperback are Mary Tamm’s two volumes of autobiography, First Generation (currently out of stock) and Second Generation; John Leeson’s autobiography, Tweaking the Tail; and the autobiography of K9’s co-creator, Bob Baker, K9 Stole My Trousers.