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Doctor Who: The Time Meddler

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Doctor Who: The Time Meddler (1965) starring William Hartnell, Maureen O'Brien, Peter Purves, Peter Butterworth
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Doctor Who: The Time Meddler (1965) starring William Hartnell, Maureen O’Brien, Peter Purves, Peter Butterworth

In The Time Meddler, The Doctor discovers a Monk in 1066 England, who’s clearly up to no good. But what does that have to do with time travel?

The Watcher

Steven (from the previous episode, Planet of Decision / The Chase) has hitchhiked along on the TARDIS. It lands on the English coast in 1066. But, the travelers are puzzled to find modern-day artifacts there. And a monk observes their arrival, but oddly enough is unsurprised. At the end of the episode, the Doctor realizes that the “chanting” from the monastery is a recording. He goes to investigate, only to be captured by the Monk. In the meanwhile, Steven confiscates a modern watch from one of the natives.

The Doctor: [Steven does not accept a Viking helmet as proof that they have travelled through time] What do you think it is, a space helmet for a cow? 

The Meddling Monk

The Doctor is held prisoner by the Monk in the monastery while Vicki and Steven search for him. Vicki & Steven are captured by the villagers, but soon released. And they’re told that the Doctor was last seen headed for the monastery. Meanwhile, a Viking war party arrives ahead of the main invasion fleet. At the monastery, the monk denies having seen the Doctor. But Steven tricks him into describing the Doctor, even though the Monk’s supposedly never seen him.

Meanwhile, the Vikings’ advance party has attacked poor Edith in the village. Villagers fight back against the invaders, but one of them is injured. So, they take him to the monastery for medical help. Meanwhile, Steven and Vicki have snuck into the monastery as well, and found the Doctor’s cell. But he’s escaped!

A Battle of Wits

The escaped Doctor takes care of the injured Edith. The two surviving Viking invaders are planning to go to the Monastery, and take captives while they hide out. Then, The Doctor returns to the monastery, and takes the Monk captive.

Steven and Vicki discover an atomic bazooka! It seems that the Monk has plans for the Viking invaders. The Vikings come to the monastery, and take the Doctor captive, though he reverses that quickly. Returning to the monastery, Steven and Vicki make an amazing discovery.

Vicki: “The Monk’s got a TARDIS!”


Discovering the the Monk’s plan, the Doctor is determined to stop him meddling with history. As the Viking fleet approaches, time is running out for both the Monk and the Doctor. The two Vikings capture the Doctor and his companions, while the villagers have figured out that the Monk is up to no good. He’s planning to destroy the Viking fleet from the cliff top, when the villagers arrive, and its a full out battle! Edith unties the Doctor, Vicki, and Steven. The Monk escapes, but the Doctor leaves him a note …. After disabling the Monk’s TARDIS!

The Doctor: So that’s it, you’re a time meddler! 

The Monk: Do you think the ancient Britons could have built Stonehenge without my anti-gravitational lift?

Cast of characters

  • William Hartnell (An Unearthly Child) … The Doctor. The First Doctor, who finds himself and his companions in 1066 England.
  • Maureen O’Brien (The Romans) … Vicki. The Doctor’s companion.
  • Peter Purves (The Chase) … Steven Taylor. The newest companion.
  • Peter Butterworth (A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum) … Monk. Better known as the Mad Monk. He’s certainly acting strangely for a monk! But the audience discovers why, and what he’s up to.
  • Alethea Charlton (The Woman in White TV) … Edith. The kindly English lady who take the Doctor in, gives him shelter, and tells him about the monk recently arrived at the monastery.
  • Peter RussellEldred. Hot-headed villager who wants to kill Steven & Vicki, because he suspects them of being Viking spies.
  • Michael Miller (The Prisoner) … Wulnoth. Leader of the village
  • Norman HartleyUlf. One of the surviving Viking advance scouts.
  • Dave AndersonSven. The other surviving Viking scout.


  • The Monk was the first Time Lord other than the Doctor and Susan to appear in the series. However, the term Time Lord would not be invented for another four years. The Monk also became the series’ first recurring individual villain.
  • In the second episode, The Meddling Monk, The Doctor isn’t seen on screen, only heard. Because actor William Hartnell was on vacation.
  • The Monk allegedly inspired Leonardo de Vinci to investigate powered flight.

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