December 11, 2014

Doctor Who: The Time Meddler

The Whoathon is back after a bit of a lull. This episode starts off with the Doctor and Vicki discovering that Steven has stowed away aboard the TARDIS. Steven immediately irritates the Doctor. Considering being on the TARDIS saved his life and he is trespassing, you'd think he wouldn't act like such an ass to the Doctor and Vicki.

Steven, the Doctor, and Vicki

They land on Earth in 1066, and Steven continues to be irritating, to the Doctor and to me. The Doctor leaves Steven and Vicki to go exploring. He ends up at the monastery, and the Meddling Monk, who overheard the TARDIS crew talking about the TARDIS, captures the Doctor and locks him in a cell. Why does a monastery have jail cells? I don't know.

The Meddling Monk talks to Vicki and Steven.

Vicki and Steven figure out that the Meddling Monk is not all he seems. They know he is lying to them when they first meet him, but wandering around the monastery, they find a record player playing monks chanting. He also has a toaster and a first aid kit with penicillin. But this is 1066. Hm....

We find out that the Meddling Monk is another Time Lord. The Doctor acknowledges that they come from the same place, and we see inside the Meddling Monk's TARDIS, which is disguised as a Saxon sarcophagus. They never mention the planet Gallifrey, and they don't even say they are Time Lords. Gallifrey isn't named until the 3rd Doctor. So what's his deal? He travels through time meddling. Yep. He thinks it's fun. He wants to advance civilization. He says he helped build Stonehenge with his antigravity lift. Now he wants to make sure King Harold beats William the Conqueror. Then there won't be hundreds of years of war over claims to France. The best part of this is that he rolls down a parchment attached to the wall with the eight steps of his plan on it. Then he checks off the next number! I enjoyed this immensely.

He has an evil checklist. This is something the Master would do.

The Doctor is appalled because they aren't supposed to interfere with the natural order of history. The Doctor thwarts his plan and also traps him on Earth in 1066. The Doctor removes the dimensional control of the Meddling Monk's TARDIS, so the inside is tiny- the Meddling Monk can't get in. However, I don't think this means we've seen the last of him.


Doctor: First
Companions: Vicki, Steven
Episode: #17, "The Time Meddler," four parts- 'The Watcher,' 'The Meddling Monk,' 'A Battle of Wits,' 'Checkmate'
Adversary: the Meddling Monk
Classic Lines: the Doctor, to Steven: "That is the dematerializing control, and that over yonder is the horizontal hold. Up there is the scanner. Those are the doors. That is a chair with a panda on it. Sheer poetry, my boy! Now please stop bothering me."
Tuck This Away to Impress Your Friends: This is the first appearance of someone from Gallifrey other than the Doctor and Susan.
Next Up: "Galaxy 4"


  1. 1.) JL:" He ends up at the monastery, and the Meddling Monk, who overheard the TARDIS crew talking about the TARDIS, captures the Doctor and locks him in a cell. Why does a monastery have jail cells? I don't know."

    I wonder if that was a misreading of the script. The living spaces in monasteries are properly known as monastic cells, and I wonder if the director was unfamiliar with the term and just assumed they meant *prison* cells.

    2.) The old Doctor Who RPG from the 80s speculated that the Meddling Monk was an earlier incarnation of the Master, but even at 12 years old, I wasn't buying that.

    3.) "Shada" has a throwaway reference to another renegade Time Lord, the Interfering Nun. That always makes me laugh.

    4.) I looked up the Meddling Monk on the Tardis data core (, and it says "After seeing the Monk's TARDIS, the First Doctor estimated that it and its owner were from about fifty years in the Doctor's own future."

    Does that happen in this episode? That's pretty interesting, because the Doctor always returned into Gallifrey in chronological order. Maybe he meant that the Monk's TARDIS was a model manufactured fifty years after the Doctor's own type 40, which was an old model even at the time the Doctor stole it. (Well, what it really means is that they hadn't yet codified the mythology of the show, but it's more fun to come up with Watsonian answers.)

    1. 1.) That's a good point- I didn't think of that. It certainly makes more sense than the monastery having prison cells.

      2.) Heh, I don't buy that, either.

      3.) That's funny! I don't remember that.

      4.) Yes! That does happen in this episode. And then the Meddling Monk sort of brags that HIS TARDIS is a mark 4. I was thinking, uh, the Doctor's is a type 40...except like you said, they hadn't really sorted that out yet- not that they ever let continuity get in the way of anything. And yep, it's way more fun to think up explanations. :)


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