THE STONES OF BLOOD

Part One

Me: Our 100th story! Can you believe it?
Sue: Is that all? How many stories are left?
Me: 50…ish. It’s complicated.
Sue: What a surprise. So we’re not even two-thirds of the way through this yet? Is that what you’re saying?
Me: Don’t say it like that. And Nicol is baking us a celebratory cake, so it’s not all bad news.

The Stones of BloodThis landmark story begins with the Doctor trying to assemble the first two segments of the Key to Time.

Sue: That’s good. I was annoyed when we didn’t see him pick it up at the end of the last story. Hang on, wasn’t this a round on The Krypton Factor?

When the Doctor discovers where the next segment is hidden, he grins like a Cheshire cat.

Sue: Earth. Has to be.
Me: It’s so sweet that you know that.
Sue: We’re due for a good down-to-earth story after all the spacey stuff we’ve had to endure lately. Oooh, Stonehenge. The Box of Andromeda in buried under there.
Me: It’s not Stonehenge and it’s not the box of Andromeda.
Sue: Where am I getting Andromeda from? Is there an Andromeda Experiment?

Christ, this is worse than some student essays I’ve had to mark.

Me: You’re thinking of the Pandorica.
Sue: I’m sorry but I don’t remember what these things are supposed to be called. I didn’t know there was going to be a test this week.
Me: Your memory is terrible.
Sue: No it isn’t. I just don’t file away unimportant information. Ask me who won the men’s singles final at Wimbledon in 1982.
Jimmy ConnorsMe: Okay, who won the men’s singles final at Wimbledon in 1982?
Sue: Jimmy Connors
Me: Okay, so who won it in 1990?
Sue: That’s not the point. The point is, I remember the stuff that I care about and I discard all the stuff I –
Me: Don’t care about?
Sue: Don’t give me those sad eyes. And it was Stefan Edberg.

In a stone circle (which definitely isn’t Stonehenge), some Druids are performing a complicated ritual.

Sue: Not another bloody cult. Cults and miners, that’s all we ever get. The perfect Doctor Who story would involve mind-controlled Masons mining for minerals.
Me: On Mars.
Sue: Maybe.

Romana changes out of her Abba costume into something more practical.

Me: This was back in the days when you could wear Burberry without looking like a guest on The Jeremy Kyle Show.

The Doctor is reminded to be on the look-out for the Black Guardian.

The Stones of BloodSue: Right, we must meet the Black Guardian this week. Why else would they mention him? I’ll keep my eyes peeled.

The Doctor brings Romana up to speed on the Guardians and what they stand for.

Sue: Is there a Grey Guardian?
Me: Yes, he’s the Guardian of badly written slash fiction.

After some witty banter involving tennis (which Sue adores, of course), our heroes leave the TARDIS so they can retrieve the third segment. The Doctor is immediately drawn to some holes which have been made in the grass. Romana uses her high heels to examine the ground’s density.

Sue: I love Romana. I hope she sticks around for a while. These two have great chemistry. It’s a fun relationship. It’s River Song-esque.

The Time Lords enter a stone circle, where they encounter Professor Emilia Rumford. Sue immediately falls in love with her.

The Stones of BloodSue: How is it that this story, and the story before last, are both a lot funnier than the one written by Douglas Adams?

And then, just when you think it can’t get any funnier, Vivien Fay turns up.

Sue: She is definitely the Black Guardian. Her pink suit is just a diversion.

The Doctor leaves Romana alone with the two women while he hikes off to investigate De Vries, the local Druid leader. Romana passes the time helping Vivien and Emilia measure the circle.

Sue: Ooh, she’s got a dumpy level.
Me: A dumpy what?
Sue: You wouldn’t understand. It’s like me and that box thing. See, I’ve forgotten what it’s called already.

And then…

Sue: It’s Bob the Bastard!

The Stones of BloodFor the several weeks now, we have been terrorised by a vicious crow. When he’s not standing in front of the kitchen window eviscerating dead mice like he’s posing for Jeff Wayne’s War of the Worlds album cover, he’s scaring the cats. Sue isn’t a big fan of crows. Especially Bob.

The Doctor arrives at Mister De Vries’ house.

Sue: This is a very nice location. It reminds me of Raymond Blanc’s place.
Me: Now you are just trying to sound like you can remember stuff.
Sue: I tell you what, though, the direction in this story is very good. Lots of symmetry. Nice.

Sue doesn’t believe me when I tell her that we have moved into a television studio, which is the best compliment a set designer can get.

As the Doctor mooches around, he notices that De Vries keeps a bird in his house.

Sue: I bet the crow is the Key to Time. Or maybe Bob the Bastard is the Black Guardian?

The Doctor and De Vries discuss Druidry over a sherry.

The Stones of BloodSue: This is not for kids.
Me: What isn’t?
Sue: He’s smoking a tab. That’s how we know he’s the bad guy.

To demonstrate his innate badness, De Vries knocks the Doctor unconscious before he can meet someone dressed in a feathered costume.

Sue: Is that the monster this week? Oh dear. It’s a bit… homemade.

Left alone in the stone circle, and with night falling rapidly (so rapidly you can smell the director’s fear), Romana throws off her shoes and follows the sound of the Doctor’s voice. Sue is on the edge of her seat.

Sue: (grimacing) She’ll sting her feet on those nettles. I can’t bear to watch this.

The episode concludes with Romana walking backwards off a cliff.

Sue: A cliff-faller instead of a cliffhanger. I don’t know what happened there but I enjoyed the rest.

 

Part Two

The Stones of BloodSue: Hey, the last cliffhanger was so bad, they were too embarrassed to repeat it. At least they had the decency to admit it, I suppose.

The Doctor lies unconscious on a stone altar. A Druid coven surrounds him, led by De Vries. Suddenly, a Druid named Martha decides to intervene.

Martha: Leonard, I don’t like this.
Sue: Leonard? Bit of a funny name for a bad guy, isn’t it? Leonard.
Me: “Is it Leonard?”. No, you’re right, it doesn’t work.

Martha reminds Sue of Megan, Don Draper’s wife from Mad Men. Megan is one of the most beautiful women in the world (allegedly, Sue, allegedly) – that’s how dark this scene is lit.

Emilia interrupts the sacrifice and the coven leg it.

Sue: I can hear their cars starting up in the background. That’s funny. I bet they all drive Volvos. They really should have stuck to dogging, you know. It’s a lot less dangerous (allegedly, Neil, allegedly).

Romana is clinging to the side of a cliff, but Sue isn’t impressed.

Sue: Just let go and drop onto the ledge you are standing on, love. It’s massive.

The Doctor is worried about Romana.

The Stones of BloodSue: Emilia just mentioned mine workings. I bloody knew it.

Emilia suggests that they call it a night.

Sue: (As Emilia) I know, let’s go for a quick pint at the Slaughtered Lamb!

Now Sue is just showing off.

Sue: **** me, K9 on grass. I never thought I’d live to see the day.

K9 struggles to negotiate the unfamiliar terrain at first, but when he gets going, he really gets going.

Sue: Freewheelin’ K9! This reminds of the time I ran out of money in France and I had to freewheel all the way back to the ferry terminal.

The Doctor rescues Romana, but when he pulls her up onto the grass verge, they are surrounded by CSO.

Sue: Why didn’t they shoot that scene on location? I know it’s dark out there, but so is this. I can hardly see a thing.

The Stones of BloodRomana returns to the TARDIS for some sensible shoes.

Sue: And a stupid dress. Yeah, that will be so much better if you fall off another cliff, love. Nice, though.

The Doctor returns to De Vries’ house with K9, who lags some way behind.

Sue: I have the same problem when I take Buffy for a walk, now that she has arthritis, bless her. The Doctor should wait for K9 to catch up. Just think, if this drive was on a slope, K9 could overtake him. Poor K9.

While investigating the house, the Doctor is attacked by standing stones (which are really Ogri, alien beings from Tau Ceti).

Sue: What the **** is that?
Me: What does it look like?
Sue: Giant popcorn?
Me
: What has this story been about so far?
Sue: I don’t know… Crows?
Me: It’s the stones!
Sue: Walking stones? That’s a bit daft.

Meanwhile, in the Professor’s cottage, Emilia is making sausage sandwiches while Vivien flirts outrageously with Romana.

Sue: This reminds me of my nana’s house, only much nicer. I’d love a cottage like this in France.
Me: I’ll love a sausage sandwich.

Vivien continues to tweak Sue’s suspicions:

Sue: It’s definitely her, you know. She is definitely the Black Knight.

And then, a few minutes later.

The Stones of BloodSue: They should have given Emilia and Vivien their own spin-off series where they solved crimes in their spare time.
Me: Even though you think she’s the baddie?
Sue: It might work on ITV4.

After his battle with the Ogri, K9 is totally ****ed. The Doctor turns him up upside down before pulling out a handful of guts.

Sue: Poor K9. I didn’t know that he doubled as a paper shredder.

The Doctor even considers putting his second best friend down.

Sue: (as the Doctor) Don’t worry, I’ve got loads spares in the TARDIS. I got a fantastic deal on Amazon. The Mark III is even quieter, you know.

In the circle, the Cailleach pours blood onto a standing stone.

Sue: It is so her.

Meanwhile, the Doctor and the Professor search De Vries house for clues.

The Stones of BloodSue: This is a beautiful house. Where did they film this?
Me: Television Centre. Studio TC3, I believe; I’ve already told you this.
Sue: Why can’t they set every Doctor Who story in a house like this? I really like the feel of this one: it’s Hammer Horror meets Agatha Christie.

Back in the TARDIS, Romana attempts to repair K9.

Sue: Why is she using the G clamp as a screwdriver? She should be shot for that.

The Doctor and Emilia find a series of paintings that have been secreted away in the cellar.

Sue: It’s her.

The Doctor realises that these paintings, which span several centuries, are portraits of the same woman: Miss Vivien Fay.

Sue: I told you it was her.
Me: Congratulations on narrowing down that huge list of suspects.
Sue: It could have been Don’s wife.

The Stones of BloodRomana returns to the stone circle but she is intercepted by Vivien, who leads her towards a glowing, red light.

Sue: And now it’s turned into The Wicker Man. But with stones instead of wood.

Vivien points a staff at Romana and an energy wave makes the Time Lord vanish into thin air.

Sue: So far, so good. Now where’s that cake?
Me: Nicol has baked the cake but she can’t decorate it until tomorrow.
Sue: The tension is killing me.

 

Part Three

The Stones of BloodThe Doctor and Emilia are chased out of the house by two Ogri.

Sue: I’m surprised they were allowed to broadcast this episode. It’s so dark. Look, the camera operator just tripped over and they just kept going. They are rushing this. Something must have gone terribly wrong on location that day. Did they film any of this in daylight? It’s the murkiest episode of Doctor Who I’ve ever seen. And I’ve seen recons.

The Ogri continue to advance.

Sue: It’s so much better when you can’t see them walking, and you just cut to them. They remind me of the Weeping Angels. A bit.

Emilia takes out her trusty truncheon.

Sue: Please let her be a companion. I’d love to see the Doctor travelling the universe with a dotty, old academic.
Me: Are you volunteering?

Wow. No cushion.

Sue: I don’t do cushions any more. It makes me sound like a petulant child. I’ll just spit in your tea instead.

The Stones of BloodThe Ogri aren’t really doing it for Sue.

Sue: The director is shooting them as tight as he possibly can. It’s all he can do, really. I mean, what were they thinking? Walking stones? The idiots! They love to make it difficult for themselves, don’t they?

Doctor suggests that the Ogri are related to Magog.

Sue: Genesis wrote a song about Magog, I definitely remember that. Supper’s Ready. Great song. There’s nothing wrong with my memory.

The Doctor and Emilia discuss Einstein’s special theory of relativity.

Sue: Nicol would have enjoyed that. These two are wonderful together. Tom Baker’s face when she starts going off on one is priceless. The Doctor had better take her for a spin in his TARDIS when this is all over. Romana’s fixed it, so it should be okay.

Emilia asks the Doctor if he comes from outer space. He tells her that he comes from inner time.

The Stones of BloodSue: That’s interesting.
Me: No it isn’t. It’s complete bollocks. Of course he comes from outer space. He’s taking the piss.

The Doctor assembles a device that will send him into hyperspace. He takes it to the stone circle with Emilia but when she switches it on… nothing happens.

Sue: That was very funny. All that build-up for nothing.

When the machine finally works, the Doctor is transported to a ship in hyperspace.

Sue: Oh no, it’s all gone a bit spacey now.

The Doctor finds Romana in a cell, and she is astounded when the Doctor tells her where she is.

Sue: How can hyperspace be a theoretical absurdity when Babylon 5 used it all the time? You told me that Babylon 5 was scientifically accurate.

With the Doctor gone, K9 tries to keep the Ogri at bay.

The Stones of BloodSue: K9 is having a nightmare this week. And why does he have to be recharged so often? Does he run on Apple batteries?

Elsewhere, a man steps out of a tent and buttons up his trousers.

Sue: Not for kids.

His lover, Pat, follows him. The couple are surprised to find themselves surrounded by standing stones. Pat touches one and screams. Her hand turns to bone in front of our eyes. Her lover’s screams join with hers and the image fades to red.

Sue: NOT FOR KIDS! Bloody hell.

Back on the hyperspatial ship, the Doctor encounters a familiar face.

Nothing. Not a sausage (in a sandwich or otherwise) from Sue.

I rewind and pause.

The Stones of BloodMe: What’s that?
Sue: Why are there so many tests this week? I don’t know. It looks like an insect. Is it a Zarbi?
Me: It’s a Wirrn!
Sue: Pardon?
Me: A Wirrn! How can you not remember the Wirrn? The Ark in Space, woman! It was only three months ago. And there was a bloody Wirrn on the cover of the book I asked you to get the Moff to sign. You told me you were going to read his introduction on the train. How can you not know that what a Wirrn is?
Sue: It’s probably just the angle. I’m used to seeing them full-on. I do remember them now. Vaguely.

The Doctor unleashes the Megara justice machines from a sealed cupboard. They aren’t very happy about this.

Sue: I like the Megara. Simple, effective and easy to understand. Much better than walking rocks who don’t say anything.

The Stones of BloodWhen Sue sees Vivien under the studio lights, she starts singing ‘Silver Lady’ by David Soul under her breath. Just be thankful this isn’t a podcast.

Vivien is overjoyed, having successfully trapped the Doctor and Romana in hyperspace.

Sue: (As Vivien) And I will force you to watch bad movies forever!

Cue credits.

Sue: It’s starting go downhill. I hope it doesn’t start to freewheel.

 

Part Four

The Stones of BloodThe Doctor is put on trial for his life.

Sue: This is basically an episode of The Jeremy Kyle Show. All these truth tests and lie detectors. There are fewer chairs, though.

An Ogri interrupts the proceedings, so the Megara vaporise it.

Sue: I wish Jeremy would do that when a cheating scumbag fails one of his tests.

As the trial unfolds, Sue falls silent. I naturally begin to worry.

Me: You’re not saying very much.
Sue: Shut up, I’m listening to this.

The Stones of BloodI had expected Sue to start disliking the Megara after a while, but I couldn’t be further from the truth.

Sue: I really like the electronic lawyers. It’s a nice idea which actually works for a change.

Back at Emilia’s cottage, Romana attempts to identify Vivien’s origins.

Sue: Romana’s great. You’ve basically got two Doctors in the programme when she’s around. It helps the plot move forward.

The Professor and Romana are attacked by the Ogri, one of which crashes through Emilia’s front door.

Sue: What a waste of a set.

The Ogri move in for the kill.

Sue: Just outrun them. That’s the problem with them: K9 could outrun them, even if he was going uphill.

The Doctor is sentenced to death, but at the last moment he touches Vivien’s pendant. An explosive discharge knocks Vivien unconscious and the Doctor persuades the Megara to scan her memory cells for signs of brain damage. They agree, but the scan reveals the truth: Vivien is really Cessair of Diplos, a notorious war criminal.

The Stones of BloodSue: Why didn’t they just scan everybody’s memory right at the start? It would have saved a lot of time

She sounds like a script editor.

Megara: According to article three, subsection one three five of the legal code, we the Megara, are not permitted to read the memory cells of any beings, except when they are unable to present their evidence by reason of death, unconsciousness or natural stupidity.
Sue: Then why didn’t you just say that in the first place?

Cessair gets her just deserts but the Doctor snatches her pendant away before she is transported back into hyperspace.

Emilia accompanies the Doctor and Romana back to their TARDIS.

The Stones of BloodSue: I can’t believe they haven’t invited her inside. She would be brilliant. Imagine her against the Daleks! I’m gutted. Poor thing. Maybe it’s because she wouldn’t wear a bra?

Back in the TARDIS, the Doctor transforms the pendant into the third segment of the Key to Time.

Sue: I really like these scenes. I like the story arc. It’s very subtly done but it holds everything together. I’m actually looking forward to the next one.

Right on cue, Nicol enters the room with a cake.

Nicol: Hurry up and make a wish – the candles are melting.
Sue: I wish this was the 150th story!
Nicol: It won’t come true because you said it out loud.
Me: Just slice the bloody thing open, I want to see if you made it with real blood.

 

The Score

Sue: I really enjoyed that. I wasn’t keen on the stones – that was a really stupid idea – but I can’t complain about anything else. I really liked the idea, and the direction was pretty good, but I’m going to dock another point for leaving Emilia behind at the end.

8/10

 

Coming Soon…

 

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Comments

  1. AST  July 14, 2012

    I’m massively looking forward to the next phase of the experiment: Sue is at her funniest when it gets grim – I have no interest in conventional reviews of thirty year-old TV shows.

    • DPC  July 14, 2012

      Hehe… as am I, looking forward to later adventure…

      Conventional reviews suck – which is why “Wife in Space” might be a hit for many. It offers a fresh approach to reviewing something.

  2. Adam Birch  July 14, 2012

    100 stories done. You’re also close to the 500th episode mark.

    “Stones…” is always going along at quite a nice clip for me and then we hit the Hyperspace story and it loses the “horror movie” feel. Good performances, especially Beatrix Lehmann, who I can only assume was great as Susan Calvin in 1967.

    Again, enjoyed the novelisation, despite it being in the Terrance Dicks treadmill (which I suspect is illegal, if not taboo in some countries) era. Those Target novelisations were such a life line when I was a lad.

    • Matt Sharp  July 14, 2012

      ‘Again, enjoyed the novelisation, despite it being in the Terrance Dicks treadmill (which I suspect is illegal, if not taboo in some countries) era. Those Target novelisations were such a life line when I was a lad.’

      There’s a David Fisher novelisation of this one as well now, isn’t there?

      I’ve never actually seen it anywhere, though. I’ve rather got out of the habit of searching bookshops for Target books there days…

      David Fisher did great novelisations. I remember reading ‘The Creature from the Pit’ when I was about 10 and being convinced he was Douglas Adams in disguise.

      • Philip Ayres  July 14, 2012

        David did a novelisation which was released by the BBC as an audio book

        • Matt Sharp  July 14, 2012

          Oh, not an actual book then. No wonder I couldn’t find it.

          If Neil adds an Amazon link, I’m sure I’m not the only one who’d use it.

          • Robert Dick  July 14, 2012

            David Fisher has done both this and Tara as audio novelisations now. Tara just out this month.

            Both are well worth getting.

            Stones is read by Susan Engel with John Leeson as K9 and Tara is read by John.

          • DPC  July 14, 2012

            Thanks, Robert!

            That’s cool they got Susan and John to do the reading. John Leeson definitely made K9 special, and Susan’s voice – I suspect – would make her a natural…

  3. Wholahoop  July 14, 2012

    A higher score than I would have given it but my childhood memories of this are being scared witless (or something like that) by the unremitting Ogri.

    I think I must have been more tolerant or had lower expectations in those days. Although saying that I do remember thinking how silly the effects for the Megara were, which shows that the not-we can sometimes behave in a most unexpected manner

    • AST  July 14, 2012

      Yeah the stones would have been much better if they had erupted from the ground.

  4. Shelley Lee  July 14, 2012

    Great entry! Happy 100! Don’t hurry through the last 50. Savor Tom Baker like the fine wine he is!

  5. fromEssex  July 14, 2012

    Well done on getting through 100 episodes.

    I must get the box set of this season as I haven’t seen any of these stories for a long time. If memory serves me, I’m not sure it was as good as an 8/10, but I’ll have to rewatch it and see what I think.

  6. John S. Hall  July 14, 2012

    I was hoping “Stones” would get at 8, and I am not disappointed! 🙂

    Beatrix Lehmann is divine as Professor Rumford — the best companion we never had — and she ‘n’ Tom have such lovely chemistry together. (Heck, he even makes *eye contact* with her, something that virtually never happens post-Lis Sladen!) She even helped reign in some of his now-usual excesses, I’ve read, by expressing disappointment during rehearsals at some of his apparent choices of ways to do certain scenes, and he would defer to her judgment.

    I am a bit surprised that Sue didn’t comment on Emilia’s rapport with K-9, or the “Trenton, New Jersey” gag, but there you go…

    And I, too, was one of the kids scared by the relentless Ogri crashing through the scenery, never tiring the way that flesh and blood does, always pursuing their prey… I think they would’ve looked sillier as golem-type creatures, which was the original intention; surely the sight of a menhir gliding across Cornish moorland is a prototypically DOCTOR WHO image??

    • PolarityReversed  July 14, 2012

      Interesting how you can always tell when Tom respects a co-star. Put him in seasoned RSC-type company and he starts “dancing with the big boys”.

      He was the first – wait a minute, possibly the only, now I reflect – lead who didn’t have an established career as a character or comic actor under his belt. Not that I’m knocking him – he is my favourite by a mile – but there does seem to be a dash of inferiority complex in the cake mix…

      • John G  July 14, 2012

        According to Julian Glover, William Hartnell demonstrated just that kind of inferiority complex when surrounded by RSC actors on the set of The Crusade. He apparently felt quite threatened by the likes of Glover, and there was a frosty atmosphere as a result. Mind you on-set tensions were hardly uncommon during the Hartnell era, whether classical actors were involved or not…

      • Frankymole  July 15, 2012

        Tom Baker was a theatre actor (National, under Laurence Olivier) and had some movie experience (e.g. Pasoloni) so I don’t think he’d have felt inferior to a radio “funny voices” man particularly… and Beatrix Lehmann was famous for films, I thought, not the RSC? (Maybe I’m wrong and she was a famous stage actress?)

        • PolarityReversed  July 15, 2012

          I didn’t mean to suggest that he felt inferior to his predecessors. I was just saying that he had a rather slim resume behind him and may have felt an element of competition/deference/what you will when playing alongside the likes of Collings, Madoc, Grenville, Cuthbertson, Lehmann, etc.

          Perhaps a touch of “I’m the star, you’re the help, but you’re all vastly more experienced than me, and I admire you.” A difficult dynamic in any walk of life.

          Bet he didn’t dare give Valentine Dyall any shit…

          • Frankymole  July 16, 2012

            I hope everyone felt inferior to Phillip Madoc. He was ruddy brilliant.

  7. encyclops  July 14, 2012

    I first saw this story when I was a kid, maybe 10, 11 years old or so. I was staying at my grandparents’ house and sleeping on the sofabed in the living room. I watched this at bedtime, after everyone else had gone to sleep. Behind the TV was a wall with big windows through which I was absolutely certain the Ogri would come crashing any second. It’s one of my best Doctor Who memories by far, and proof that however bad an idea the monsters were on paper, for the right audience they absolutely, undeniably WORKED.

    And frankly, watching this the other day, I still don’t think they’re nearly as bad as everyone makes out. They certainly look more convincing than the Shrivenzale, and arguably more so than the robotic parrot. I love the way we see one rumbling past the window while Leonard freaks out on Don Draper’s wife, just heaving past in the background of the same shot — how often does that happen on this show?

    I love so many other things about this story. It’s slightly frustrating that it changes what kind of story it is two or three times, but it’s also slightly brilliant because none of the modes ever outstays its welcome, not even the Megara scene, which I’d remembered as a little tedious but which now seems quite fun and witty. The Megara effect looks better to me now than it used to — there’s a real elegance to it, and though they’re meant to be machines, why shouldn’t they look mostly like floating lights?

    So I’m really glad Sue enjoyed this one (though I’ve been remiss in not saying that every one of the Key To Time commentaries has been gold so far — I’m enjoying the experiment even more than usual lately)! 8/10 seems just right to me. Obviously this is one of my favorites (definitely top 20, maybe top 10) despite the undeniable hiccups: some awkward edits, some flubbed lines with no retakes, and so on, but those are all over this season for some reason.

    The big thing I’d never noticed about this story before was that apart from the Doctor, there are only two other male characters, one of whom lasts fewer than two episodes and the other of whom lasts maybe a minute or two. Unless you count some anonymous cultists or three machines with male voiceovers, this is a refreshingly female episode.

  8. Mag  July 14, 2012

    That is an awesome cake, Nicol!

    10/10

    • DPC  July 14, 2012

      +10 🙂

  9. Emilias trusty truncheon  July 14, 2012

    big grats on your 100th 🙂
    The cake looks good even has it’s own “Bob the Bastard”

  10. David  July 14, 2012

    That’s the first time I have seen what Nicol looks like. I think she’s gorgeous. 🙂 Nicol, would you like to marry an Aussie bloke? 😉

    • Noodles  July 14, 2012

      She’s a) gorgeous, b) intelligent (and a scientist to boot), c) funny and d) an excellent cake-decorator.

      In other words – completely out of my league.

      • Majik  July 16, 2012

        Agree with all those…
        WAY out of my league….

  11. Ritch Ludlow  July 14, 2012

    Lovely cake, how marvelous!

  12. Tom  July 14, 2012

    I love the story, but bloody hell that’s a good looking cake.

  13. BWT  July 14, 2012

    “…maybe Bob the Bastard is the Black Guardian?” – well he does turn up on top of Valentine Dyall’s head later. Does that help?

    Am I the only one to get how ironic it was that they used the Rollright Stones to double as the Ogri? Because they didn’t roll right at all…

    Oh, and if she doesn’t like the Cailleach – what’s she going to say when she sees the Taran Wood Beast? And there is another, even more literal, cliffhanger coming up in a few Doctors time…

  14. Gavin Noble  July 14, 2012

    I know Sue keeps saying it’s not for kids at certain points but I was a four year old kid when this story came out and the bits that she says are not for kids are the bits that as a kid I enjoyed the most. As a kid I had no idea why that man was in the tent with a woman but her being killed was wonderfully exciting and gross – and kids love gross! Or boys do anyway!

    I can’t wait to see what Sue makes of Tara – I’ve just finished the Key to Time season in the last couple of days and think Tara is the most enjoyable story of the season for lots of reasons.

    Lovely to see Nicol put in an appearance in the flesh – she’s a very beautiful young lady and wonderfully talented a as a baker judging by the cake – are you going to sell them alongside the mugs?

    As an aside I don’t think you should stop with the McGann movie either – you should carry on throughout modern Who as well because I would love to hear Sue’s views on the entire run. This is one of my favourite websites ever and hope that you have a great time in London. I’m counting the days to 23 July now!

    • DPC  July 14, 2012

      Aye, same here!

      One guy, one girl, one tent. As a kid the concept of coitus was not there. I did know that people often put on pajamas or wore only underwear at night, so the scene didn’t seem inappropriate.

      The level of horror is a bit grizzly at times, but it works well within the context of the story and, TBH, is the only way to actually show that these stones are threats and something you don’t want to be around. And the story is a (then-modern) example of using everyday objects in unexpected and horrifying ways. What’s not to love?

      The Megara — I think they’re great and the dialogue is sparkling, but the camera framing of the characters, and the angles the characters look toward, don’t always follow with where the disco dancing Megara are superimposed. The scale isn’t there. It’s a novel attempt but, in the end, the Megara are not the sum of their parts. It’s a shame they didn’t do CGI…

  15. Simon Harries  July 14, 2012

    Superb review! Murky though some of the part 3 chase scenes are, I do like the tracking and zooming that goes on around the ornamental garden… and the Spanish bullfighter trick that the Doctor performs on the Ogri that goes over the cliff. Plus, what’s not to like about the Professor and Vivien?

  16. Simon Harries  July 14, 2012

    Didn’t Tom want a cake for the episode? At last someone has made a 100th story cake – and Nicol’s looks to have been beautiful.

  17. BWT  July 14, 2012

    “After his battle with the Ogri, K9 is totally ****ed. ”

    Yes, one might almost say he was stoned…

    Oh, alright – I’ll get me coat…

    • Korv  July 19, 2012

      Well, Sue did point out K-9 was ‘on grass’.

      My coats on the hook next to yours.

      • PolarityReversed  July 19, 2012

        It’s happy times for the metal mutt, these days – all downhill from here.
        Get mine while you’re there – it’s the off-white one with really long arms and leather straps…

  18. Fiona Tomney  July 14, 2012

    My favourite part of The Stones of Blood is in the TARDIS when Romana asks the Doctor how she looks & he replies, “Ravishing!” Without turning around.
    Great review & fantastic cake. I just wish I could share a piece of it!
    Please keep the experiment going, it always makes me laugh & smile.

  19. matt bartley  July 14, 2012

    Did Sue not spot the production assistant in the beige cardie standing in the background when the Ogri demolishes the house?

  20. Jazza1971  July 14, 2012

    I love the picture of the dog (Buffy?) wanting to eat the cake.

  21. Richard Lyth  July 14, 2012

    That cake looks delicious! But I don’t know if I’d want to eat it after that dog was slobbering all over it…

  22. Ludwig Wittgenstein XI  July 14, 2012

    What’s with this *NOT FOR KIDS!* fixation …?! If I was 7 or 8 years old when this was broadcast (which I, more or less, was but sadly, didn’t have the pleasure), the *not for kids* parts would be the very things I would’ve most salivated over … Grown ups are such misguided silly-willies when it comes to stuff like that …
    Anyway, “The Stones of Blood” is a favorite of mine, lovely capturing the creepiness zeitgeist of televisual (*children*) fantasy of that time (Sky, King of the Castle, Children of the Stones, etc.) but with added adults as protagonists thrown in …
    Cheerio …!

  23. Matthew C  July 14, 2012

    I’m so glad Sue liked that. It’s one of my favorite stories.

  24. John Callaghan  July 14, 2012

    A huge thumbs-up all around. WIS is essential and uplifting reading, the cake looks fab, and this is probably my favourite series.

    I like the fact that the style of this story changes completely half-way through, showing another layer of the onion. It’s a very Dr. Who thing to do. And forget Yeti and Ice Warriors; the Megara are my vote for the antagonist I’d like to see return (seriously!). Dangerous, witty and need to be outsmarted rather than physically overcome. Pure Who.

    Although Gareth Roberts’ idea for “Mrs. Meglos” would have been ace too (and a good way to give people that Tom Baker cameo that they seem to want so much).

    • Frankymole  July 14, 2012

      Surely Mrs Meglos should be played by Miriam Margoyles (or Dame Shirley Williams)?

  25. AndyW  July 14, 2012

    One of my Dr Who “claims to fame” is I actually stayed at the place used for the exterior for DeVries’ house.
    It’s called Reed College in Little Compton, Gloucester. I was working for the employment consultancy Reed at the time. Very nice place.

    • Richard L  July 14, 2012

      For those doing a bit of Doctor Who location spotting, I can wholeheartedly recommend the Grimsdyke hotel, which doubled up as the Victorian manor in Evil of the Daleks and can be seen in the surviving footage. Wonderful hotel, if you get a suite in the main house.

      I had the extreme misfortune of having to work on Harrow-on-the-Hill and would stay there when my firm had me doing 18-hour days: http://www.grimsdyke.com/

  26. Ryan Hall  July 14, 2012

    The glowing Ogri at the window scared the crap out of me as a kid , like Ribos this is the time the scary stuff on Drwho started to have an effect on me hahaha . K9 and the professor are a joy in this episode and Romana also to, its also my fav line up of any Who , 4th doc/romana and k9 , the perfect tardis team.

  27. Ryan Hall  July 14, 2012

    Oh and yeah the Ogri moving like a weeping angel would of been so more effective .

  28. Lewis Christian  July 14, 2012

    “I wish this was the 150th story!”

    You just wait, Sue!

    Great write-up for a decent story. I thought it’d fall apart at the end, but I’m glad Sue liked it. And that cake looks delicious!

  29. Gren Marbren  July 14, 2012

    So much for “it’s all downhill” from Underworld!

  30. Harry  July 14, 2012

    Well, even if Sue hates the second half of Season 16, the healthy scores so far mean that it has beaten Season 15 hands down already, even if she gave the rest 0/10! Plus I think she may well like the next story.
    Given her remarks about such-and-such a character being “posh”, I was a bit concerned about her reaction to Romana, but Romana isn’t “proper posh” anyway…she’s no snob, at least, where it comes to the people she meets. The chemistry between Tamm and Baker does work quite well, it’s like a family-friendly sci-fi tinged interpretation of all those slightly sparky, mildly antagonistic but developing into something more amicable relationships between the leading man and woman in some Hollywood movie where the protagonists begin with a mutual dislike for each other, only without the sexual aspect.

  31. Richard L  July 14, 2012

    Congrats to Neil and Sue. That cake is spectacular!

    Always had a soft spot for this story but mostly because of the Target novel. I don’t mind the Terrance Dicks auto-pilot style at all. For a lad under ten years old as I was at the time when I read it, I think the Dicks books were very accessible, easy to read and when you’re dying to know what happens next, that counts for a lot! And it’s not as if we re-read them now in our 30s and 40s… do we?

    I thought the story even worked well on the screen when I finally got to actually see it on UK Gold. Lovely story for a bit of K9 heroism too!

  32. John G  July 14, 2012

    Let me add my congratulations on you reaching the 100th story. As someone who has followed the experiment from the start, I never thought at the beginning that you would get anywhere near this far! Nicol and her cake both look fantastic – she can bake for me anytime…

    Alas, I can’t share Sue’s enthusiam for Stones. The first half is really good, atmospheric stuff, and the Doctor-Emilia interaction is great fun. Once we go into hyperspace, though, I start to lose interest. The Megara are too silly for me, and Susan Engel camps it up a bit too much. Still, it is overall a better effort than anything in Season 15 post-Fang Rock, and it is refreshing to have a story in which women are so prominent.

    Have a nice time in London, and in the meantime I will wait on tenterhooks for Sue’s views on the Taran Wood Beast…

  33. DPC  July 14, 2012

    Another awesome review from y’all, thanks!!

    “Romana changes out of her Abba costume into something more practical.”

    Hehe. 😀

    River-Song – interesting parallel, except Romana isn’t as flirty… I like RIver Song, but I like the comparative cleanliness and innocence of Romana, too…

    ep 1’s cliffhanger might have benefited from Romana seeing the image of the Doctor – it’s acted as if he might have been superimposed at times, but it could also work as if she thinks she seems him yet we don’t… ep 2’s explanation does describe it, but then – if we saw the Doctor beckoning and pushing her, that would be a definite not-for-kids moment as well and, as Sue noticed, there are many such delightful moments… 😀 But if had they made “Stones” maybe a decade or so later, they might have tried it like that, showing the Doctor doing the pushing… television itself did get more adventurous as the years went on, pushing envelopes and boundaries…

    • John S. Hall  July 14, 2012

      The director had to shoot the end of episode one that way because Tom Baker refused to appear onscreen as the “evil Doctor” pushing Romana over the cliff, IIRC.

  34. Tim Cook  July 14, 2012

    I loved the Ogri as a kid – so easy to draw with just a felt-tip pen!

    If you watch the ‘Tom Baker Years’ VHS, it’s obvious that Beatrix Lehmann is one of the few actors Tom really respects. He also mentions it was Lehmann’s last role before she died.

  35. PolarityReversed  July 14, 2012

    What a brilliant cake – almost a crime to cut it. Bravo, Nicol.
    Good patio work too. Sue’s touch there, I reckon…

    So you’re taking a break from Whoing about for a bit? Rather aptly timed really. To be really true to the spirit, Neil, you should let Sue start reviewing the next one while you bugger off fishing.
    Although I wouldn’t recommend fishing in the Thames much further in than Barnes. Enjoy your trip.

  36. chris-too-old-to-watch  July 14, 2012

    Sue’s review has just made me watch this story again. It was really good – OK a few weak points, but the story itself was great.
    Biggest complaint was the Megara – would almost have preferred 2 Metal Mickey types than the swirly lights – especially when they weren’t where people were looking.
    Any complaints however are crushed because of Prof Rumford – can you image her on Time Team? “Well actually Mr Robinson you’re talking a load of ballcocks: still what can you expect from a comedic actor?”

  37. Rad  July 14, 2012

    Hooray for 100! And great cake!

    I’m glad Sue likes Romana, although I haven’t seen many of either Romana’s stories, what I have really endears them both to me and I’d love a new regeneration of her to pop up in contemporary Who.

  38. Dave Sanders  July 14, 2012

    I bet you didn’t grade your students’ papers ‘A For Andromeda’.

    …Oh wait, maybe you did.

  39. Dave Sanders  July 14, 2012

    Both Stones and Tara have a bit of a love-or-hate vibe to them, so I will be massively surprised if Sue doesn’t mark the next story just as highly.

  40. Roderick T. Long  July 14, 2012

    The point is, I remember the stuff that I care about and I discard all the stuff I –

    Haven;t we already seen tis conversation on Sherlock?

  41. Dave Sanders  July 15, 2012

    Wait, has nobody brought up Evelyn Smythe yet? If Sue is ever going to be subjected to a Big Finish or three, then Colin Baker paired with a late-middle-age academic is the obvious place to start.

  42. P.Sanders  July 15, 2012

    As well as Kroll and the Mutants, I am also a Megara apologist. One of those effects I couldn’t imagine being achieved well after reading the book, but I reckon it’s surprisingly effective for the time (notwithstanding the odd ropey eyeline). Season 16 carries on strong… Hopefully Sue will enjoy the unusual style of Tara, recognise Kroll’s greatness… and maybe if you tell her Armageddon is the last 6-parter she’ll be more forgiving?

    Sue has been very canny in recognising a bored Tom Baker misbehaving rather than ‘witty banter’ in previous stories. I love Season 17 (also an Eden/Nimon/Erato/Movellan apologist) but I fear Sue will be less forgiving: “Dock his f***ing pay!”

    • P.Sanders  July 15, 2012

      PS: still love the Stones of Blood deleted scene on the DVD: “PLYMOUTH?!?”

    • Dave Sanders  July 15, 2012

      Hmmmm…. technically, it isn’t. The last six-parter (in length) is Robert Holmes getting the unworkable nightmare brief. What else is that reminding me of?

      ……..Oh dear, it’s The Power Of Kroll, isn’t it.

      • Dave Sanders  July 15, 2012

        And before you say it, no, The Power Of Kroll isn’t six episodes. It just feels like it is.

        • Neil Perryman  July 15, 2012

          We have a 14-parter and a 3x45min parter to come. So no, I won’t tell Sue that TAF is the last one. I value my life too much.

        • PolarityReversed  July 15, 2012

          It’s not easy being green…

      • P.Sanders  July 15, 2012

        Yes i had thought of that but technically it’s still 3 episodes (albeit twice as long)

  43. Andrew Marsden  July 15, 2012

    I must say I am really enjoying Sue’s reactions to the stories – I only discovered this blog by accident earlier in the week and I love it!

    And also, I do have to admit that given that she is funny and intelligent and (now photographic evidence has been provided) I may just have fallen in love with Nicol. Sorry!

    And I can’t wait to see what Sue makes of the later Sylvester McCoy stories (my era of Doctor Who).

  44. Matt Sharp  July 15, 2012

    Oh, and it seems that Leonard De Vries was a novelist and author – I have his ‘Orrible Murder: Victorian Crime and Passion sitting on the bookshelf in front of me, and I have in fact been looking directly at it for the last two days without it registering at all…

    I suppose David Fisher was harvesting names from his bookshelves. Or he was a mate he wanted to name check. Or it’s a coincidence, albeit quite a big one.

  45. Professor Thascales  July 16, 2012

    “The Doctor realises that these paintings, which span several centuries, are portraits of the same woman: Miss Vivien Fay.
    Sue: I told you it was her.
    Me: Congratulations on narrowing down that huge list of suspects.”
    Lol.

    BTW I love this story.

  46. icthar  July 16, 2012

    I’ve finally caught up! I can’t believe it!!

  47. DamonD  July 16, 2012

    Congratulations on the 100! Great cake too.

    Stones disappoints me just because I enjoy the first half so much, I’m never all that interested in the trial on the space ship. I think I just wanted Tom to get a Hound of the Baskervilles vibe of story.

  48. Jon Clarke  July 16, 2012

    I had forgotten how good this story was, so a great reminder.

    Congrats on the 100th story, hope you make it through the to the end.

    Can you please do the new series? I would love Sue’s comments on these.

  49. Zoe  July 17, 2012

    Wow, what a cake! Congratulations on the 100th story. Lovely write-up, lovely blog.

  50. Mike  July 19, 2012

    This season’s doing pretty well, eh? A 9, a 6 and then an 8. 7.67 average.