The Stones Of Blood
Working Titles: The Nine Maidens, The Stones Of Time.
Starring: Tom Baker (The Fourth Doctor), John Leeson (Voice of K-9), Mary Tamm (The First Romana).
When a Concorde disappears, the Doctor is called upon to investigate, and finds it has been hijacked back through time to the Pleistocene Era. There, he, Nyssa and Tegan discover the Master is at work, using human slaves from the missing Concorde to help him control the evil side of the Xeraphin, whose devastating mental powers the evil Time Lord intends to use to wreak havoc throughout the cosmos.
Amongst the new writers approached by script editor Anthony Read for Season Sixteen was David Fisher. Fisher had worked with been Read and producer Graham Williams in the past, and was a veteran of programmes such as The Troubleshooters and Dixon Of Dock Green. He submitted two story ideas to the Doctor Who production team, entitled The Nine Maidens and The Androids Of Zenda. Unusually, it was decided to carry both further, starting with The Nine Maidens, which had been inspired by Read's request for an adventure set around a stone circle. It was felt that this would make an ideal third story for the season, since it would be transmitted around Hallowe'en. The Nine Maidens was commissioned on January 10th, 1978.
At one point, it was thought that all the Season Sixteen serials would obey the naming convention The (Something) Of Time, and the title was switched to The Stones Of Time. This idea seems to have been quickly abandoned (of the other five stories, only The Androids Of Tara and The Power Of Kroll are known to have been given analogous working titles), and Serial 5C was renamed The Stones Of Blood. A major change to the story was the visualisation of the Ogri. Originally, these were to have been rocky-skinned humanoids who looked like regular stone blocks only when stationary. Director Darrol Blake (working on his first and only Doctor Who serial) decided to save costs by instead portraying the Ogri only as large stones. Some artifacts of the original conception did survive into the finished episodes, however, such as references to the Ogri's victims being crushed (the new versions instead "drained" their victims simply by contact) and the giant footprint found by the Doctor and Romana.
Location work on The Stones Of Blood was carried out from June 12th to 15th at Chipping Norton in Oxfordshire. Blake decided to use Outside Broadcast (OB) videotape equipment rather than film because it created less contrast with the videotape-only studio material; this would become an increasingly popular technique in ensuing years. The Stones Of Blood enjoyed two studio sessions, the first lasting two days beginning on Monday, July 3rd and the second running three days beginning on Sunday, July 16th.
In between the two, Read -- apparently acting on a suggestion by Tom Baker -- asked Fisher to script a new TARDIS scene which would celebrate Doctor Who's fifteenth anniversary on November 23rd, five days after the broadcast of episode four. (It would later be noted that The Stones Of Blood was also Doctor Who's one hundredth serial.) This was then expanded by Blake, and involved Romana and K-9 surprising the Doctor with a cake and a new scarf (identical to his old scarf) in honour of his 751st birthday. Williams vetoed the idea, however, believing it to be too self-praising. Blake had already ordered a special cake for the scene, and this was eventually consumed by the cast and crew. To make up for the lost scene, Williams wrote new material himself which included the voice of the White Guardian. Instead of Cyril Luckham (who had played the Guardian in The Ribos Operation), these lines were spoken by Gerald Cross, who also voiced one of the Megara.
Another reference to Doctor Who's history in The Stones Of Blood occurred when Blake decided to save costs by using old monsters in the Megara's holding cells rather than commissioning new costumes. Originally, it was planned that both a Wirrn (from The Ark In Space) and a Sea Devil (from The Sea Devils) would be seen, but the latter did not make it into the finished episodes.