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12 December 2017 @ 08:56 pm
The Randomiser: The Stones of Blood  
Stones of Blood is rightly well-regarded in fan circles. I think it is fair to say that many of my generation remember vividly the scene where some random campers find a standing stone has mysteriously appeared outside their tent, one touches and becomes stuck, the second tries to help her and becomes stuck as well and then both are drained of their blood/life force by the stone - but its reputation hinges on more than just one incredibly scary moment. That said, I was struck, on this viewing, by what a tonally uneven story it is.

Everything on Earth is playing with the kind of gothic horror tropes that characterised early Tom Baker: we have strange goings on, rumours of witchcraft, miscellaneous aristocrats and their houses, all delivered with the kind of production values one associates more with Doctor Who from a few years earlier, as opposed to the increasingly cash-starved Graham Williams days. Then suddenly you are in hyperspace in a story that feels like something Douglas Adams would write, where the Doctor nips around fooling comicly literal justice robots. In fact, I ended up consulting a random tome of Doctor Who lore* to see if Douglas Adams had started his script-editing tenure by that point and was slightly surprised to learn that he hadn't.

It's still a good story, and the Earth-bound parts have bags of atmosphere, excellent characters (particularly archeologist Amelia Rumford) and rock solid acting - but it is hard to deny that the bits in hyperspace look cheap and are a bit rubbish

*once upon a time there were relatively few of these and I would recall which I consulted. These days I just grabbed the nearest one. It was probably Howe and Walker's Doctor Who:The Television Companion.

This entry was originally posted at https://purplecat.dreamwidth.org/472740.html.
liadtbunny: DW 4 &Romana IIliadtbunny on December 13th, 2017 04:13 pm (UTC)
I enjoyed the Earthbound story as I love stories set round standing stones but didn't like the space stuff. I agree with the actors it would have been better if they had real 'aliens' to interact with instead of balls of light and it felt mostly made up on the spot.
louisedennis: Who:Fourlouisedennis on December 15th, 2017 12:59 pm (UTC)
I'm not sure I'd say "made up on the spot" but it is very different from the rest of the story and more overtly comedic without really being that clever (and Dr Who generally succeeds at comedy best when it is witty).