The Stones of Blood

Doctor Who Big Finish Stones of Blood

“but now on BBC One, it’s time for the third part of Doctor Who and The Key To Time…

Having found the first two segments of the Key, The Doctor and Romana arrive on Earth looking for the third, leading them to a mysterious stone circle and a terrifying encounter with… The Stones of Blood”

In many ways, The Stones of Blood is the highlight of the Key To Time Season. It harks back to the good old Hinchcliffe days in terms of subject matter and, for the most part, tone. Things only really go tits up when we get to the Spaceship of the Twinkly Fairy Light Twins in Part Three but more of that later…

Like the last “gothic” story, Image of the Fendahl, there’s a scene of some poor innocent bystander minding their own business but getting done in anyway that is just crying out to be a pre-credits sequence. In Fendahl it was the hitch-hiker, here it’s the two campers. The actual moment where “Pat” gets killed has been cut back slightly and I reused the music cue from the start of the scene to up the tension and lead us into the opening titles. It’s a great scene and makes a really spooky opener, setting up the mystery of the stones before the Dr and Romana turn up.

In order to make it as effective as possible I had to muck about a bit with the audio towards the end of the clip to make sure the end of the scene was the right length before we hit the opening titles. Every editor will tell you that when you start cutting material together, even pre-exisitng material like this, you develop a sense of the timing and rhythm of the scene you’re cutting. It’s a subjective thing but you can tell when a shot is just a little bit too long or too short – it’s how you know when to cut away to another shot.

At first it was only going to be the campers scene that formed the pre-credits but again, rhythm and timing suggested that I add in the initial scene at the stone circle as well. I put it before the “unhappy campers” clip [see what I did there?] to fully set up the atmosphere and the reason why the stones were killing them. I think the two scenes go well together and make a much more effective opening. It’s this re-ordering of material that can sometimes make the difference between a good edit and a really good edit!

The last thing I did to this sequence was to adjust the colour balance and enhance the contrast of the bits where the stones glow after the blood is poured on them to make them a more darker, blood red – the originals are a bit too orange-y.

stones of blood covers

After the titles we join the Tardis and Romana finding out about the Black Guardian. A compilation edit like this makes it all too clear that it’s one of the blokes doing the Megara voices who gives the warning so I’ve reused a voice clip of The White Guardian  – Cyril Luckham – from The Ribos Operation to maintain continuity with the original. It was a difficult fix to do and required six additional audio tracks to get it right.

In the original the first stone circle scene came in the middle of the two Tardis scenes but here I`ve joined them both together so we can get it all out the way before we return to the stone circle in the daytime and meet probably the best thing about the story – Professor. Amelia. Rumford.

The award for “Best Dotty Old Lady In Doctor Who, Ever.” has to go to Beatrix Lehmann! Actually, she’s probably the Best Dotty Old Lady In Anything, Ever. Or at least in anything since Margaret Rutherford’s turn as Miss Marple back in the Sixties [which always puts me in mind of Jon Pertwee in drag!]. She’s a delight and the main thing – aside from that “campers” scene – that made me really look forward to working on this edit.

Stones of Blood by Adrian Salmon DWM361Romana falling over the cliff edge happens off stage so it’s a surprise to us as well as the Doctor. After De Vries knocks the Doctor out, I joined the two scenes at the stone circle together. I managed to re-use the clip of De Vries saying “she will come” to cover the join as the first shot of the second scene is a slightly tighter single on Tom. That involved re-timing the clip slightly, as the second time the line is said a bit faster, in order to make it fit.

I re-instated the long version of the scene where De Vries and Martha realise the game is up as it’s a really good scene and a it’s shame it never made it to the final cut. When we get to the cliffhanger leading into part three, I noticed that the music cues were slightly different on both versions so the crossover point is the shot of Romana looking at the circle after the model shot.

The Doctor and Amelia make a very quick escape from the cellar in this version, so no spotting the crew in the background moving the stone forward and certainly no dodgy bullfighting moves in front of a cliff!

Once the Doctor gets to the ship in hyperspace is where it all goes tits up story-wise so most of the cuts are to the final episode. The reprise of part three’s ending is staged differently at the start of part four so I had to move up the first daytime scene at the stones between Prof Rumford and K9 to cover the join. And when Romana returns to Earth, in the original it’s noticeable that there are no beams coming from the machine so I’ve added them in.

The next problem was how to work round all that courtroom nonsense with the Megara. It took a while but I worked out how to join the beginning and end of that sequence so it still made sense, meaning we can get all the footage we need from part four in just eight minutes. Not bad, eh? One consequence of cutting out the “courtroom” stuff was that I had to mask the wig and document that Tom threw on the floor, otherwise you’re wondering where they hell they came from…

With the way the material was now cut together, Vivien Fay did not identify herself as such to the Megara. So when the Megara says “This is not Vivien Fay” you’re left wondering when did she tell them she was, so I cut that line out, and that’s a good example of how making a cut can have a knock-on effect further down the line. With the whole thing running just over an hour, this is the longest KTT Edit yet and it makes one of my favourite stories just that little bit better.

Stones Blood DWM





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