The Stones of Blood
The Stones of Blood was the third story of Season 16 of Doctor Who.
It was the show’s one hundredth television story. Part four was first broadcast the week of the show’s fifteenth anniversary.
The Fourth Doctor and Romana I are about to embark in search of the third segment of the Key to Time. The Doctor is excited to find that it is located on Earth, which Romana describes as his favorite planet. Romana has dressed herself in a fashionable outfit, including a pair of four inch heels that the dismayed Doctor believes will be unsuitable for walking. They prepare to embark when a voice tells them to “Beware the Black Guardian.” At this, the Doctor reveals Romana was not sent on this quest by the President of the Time Lords, but rather by the all-powerful White Guardian, who wishes them to gather the Key to maintain galactic stability. They venture outside to find themselves near the Nine Travelers, a group of cromlech or standing stones in Boscombe Moor, Cornwall. On the way, they see heavy indentations in the ground, which intrigue the Doctor. Also interested in the location is aged archaeologist Professor Amelia Rumford, who is surveying the stones with her friend, Vivien Fay.
They find dried blood on the ground at the stones, and are alerted to the activities of a local druidic sect. The Doctor goes to meet its implied leader,de Vries. Romana, having difficulty walking in her heels, stays behind with Amelia and Vivien. De Vries 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.
Meanwhile, Amelia and Vivien prepare to go back to Vivien’s cottage. They invite Romana to join them for a cup of tea, but she opts to stay at the circle to wait for the Doctor. After the others have left, Romana hears the Doctor’s voice calling out to her. She calls out for the Doctor. When he does not answer, Romana decides she should investigate – in her bare feet. Her high heels have caused her so much ilk she pitches them. Romana approaches a cliff edge, still hearing the Doctor call out. Something disturbs her, and she yells for it to keep back. She steps backwards and falls over the edge.
Romana has managed to grab onto the rock face, and is clinging to the cliff just below the edge. Meanwhile, de Vries and Martha argue about the validity of sacrificing the Doctor, who is now awake and tied to one of the stones in the circle. The sacrifice is interrupted by the arrival of Professor Rumford, who frees the Doctor as the others flee. Neither of the Doctor nor Amelia knows where Romana is, however. After discovering her abandoned shoes, the Doctor summons K9 to help find her. They are successful. Romana is relieve to see K9, but is surprisingly mistrustful when she sees the Doctor. After they pull her up from the cliff, K9 calms her by assuring Romana it is indeed the Doctor. They conclude that it must have been a doppleganger of him who pushed her off the cliff. They assume that whoever it is must be in possession of the third segment of the Key to Time, and has found a way to utilize its shape-changing abilities. They decide de Vries can answer some questions, and set off for Boscombe Hall – after Romana is allowed to return to the TARDIS so she may change clothes and switch into a pair of sturdy boots.
When he gets there, he finds the owner and Martha have been crushed to death. The Hall is under attack by a pair of mobile giant stones like those from the Moor. The Doctor and K9 repel the attack, though the robot dog is badly damaged and needs repair in the TARDIS. More curious facts come to light: the Doctor works out that the stones need blood to survive. 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 de-materialize.
Meanwhile, after dispensing with one of the stones pursuing them, the Doctor and Professor Rumford reach the stone circle. Miss Fay tells them Romana will be safe if the Doctor stops interfering. She disappears. The Doctor now identifies the stones as Ogri, a life form from Ogros in the Tau Ceti system. Two of them are 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. He builds a projecting device which he uses to transmit himself there. He arrives on a hyperspace craft which seems to be a prison vessel, and he frees Romana. 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.
K9 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 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 forever!
The Megara destroy one of the Ogri that threatens them. The Doctor has been tried in his absence by the Megara, an abrupt and unfair process dependent on the word but not the spirit of the law. He successfully petitions to conduct his own defense in an appeal. He puts Romana in the witness chair to establish that he broke the seal because he feared for the safety of the Megara. This also sets a precedent for the use of the truth assessor. He tries to draw Vivien Fay into the trial and get the Megara to subject her to the truth assessor, which will reveal her true identity to the court as the person whom they were originally ste to put on trial 4000 year ago. When he calls “Vivien” to the stand, he argues she should be attached to the assessor like Romana. The Megara, however, deny his appeal, on the grounds that she was not a direct witness to the crime for which he stands accused.
Nevertheless, the Doctor comes closer to the truth about “Vivien”. He argues successfully to put one of the two Megara on the stand, who tells the court the nature of the journey that has kept them in hyperspace for four thousand years. They are on a mission to find and try Cessair of Diplos, a criminal wanted for murder and the removal and misuse of the Great Seal of Diplos. The Megara states the seal has significant powers: transmutation, transformation and the ability to establish “hyperspatial and temporal coordinates”.
Amelia and K9 have repaired the projector and use it to beam Romana back from the hyperspace vessel — and the one surviving Ogri, which chases them. They find incriminating data at Miss Fay’s cottage — cookery books in which a number of recipes containing citrus fruit juices have been crossed out; Amelia says that Miss Fay was allergic to citric acid. 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 drags Vivien into the beams’ focus. The energy is divided between them, do both survive. This forces the Megara to examine her to see if she is badly hurt. The Doctor suggests they must examine her mind to check for damage. They find she is indeed Cessair of Diplos. She is charged with her crimes when she wakes, 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 fifteen hundred years and perpetual imprisonment, the sentences to run consecutively. Before she is turned into a stone on Boscombe Moor, the Doctor grabs her necklace – the Great Seal of Diplos, which is in fact the third segment of the Key to Time.
As the Megara bring up the matter of the Doctor’s delayed execution, they suddenly return to their ship as it is about to leave. The Doctor set the controls to so, prior to his leaving the ship. The Doctor, K9 and Romana return to the TARDIS, thanking Amelia for her assistance. He uses the tracer to turn the third segment of the Key to Time to its proper form. As he struggles with putting it together with the other two, he looks over to Romana, reminded of her boasting of being good with such puzzles.