Doctor Who: The Time Meddler (Story #17)

7.0 Overall Score
Story: 7/10
Acting: 7/10
Visuals: 7/10

Sweet and simple story, Vicki's better

Old Doctor Who isn't for everyone


Just because we’re Vikings doesn’t mean we have to be uncivilized!

The Doctor (William Hartnell) and Vicki (Maureen O’Brien) discover they have a new companion in Steven Taylor (Peter Purves) who stowed away on TARDIS.  While Vicki and the Doctor try to convince Steve that they have travelled in time to England in 1066 AD, they discover artifacts of the future in the land.  As the Battle of Hastings approaches, the Doctor discovers a man in guise of a monk (Peter Butterworth) has travelled back in time to alter history.  The Doctor must stop the monk, but the early arrival of a Viking could change history forever.

Doctor Who:  The Time Meddler aired as the final serial of second season of the long running BBC serial.  The story aired in four parts from July 3, 1965 to July 24, 1965 and the episodes have the individual titles of “The Watcher” (Episode 1), “The Meddling Monk” (Episode 2), “A Battle of Wits” (Episode 4), and “Checkmate” (Episode 5).  Following Doctor Who:  The Chase, Doctor Who:  The Time Meddler was released as part of The William Hartnell Years as Story #17 (though the DVD has gone out of print).


Monk…we’re coming to get you!

I like it when the Doctor and his companions are in a set period of time, and Doctor Who:  The Time Meddler is one of those stories.  The Battle of Hastings of 1066 is on the horizon and the introduction of the first rival Time Lord (I’d hardly call Susan a Time Lord) does add a different direction to Doctor Who.

The serial was originally partially missing but were rediscovered in the ’80s and ’90s (providing hope for future discoveries).  You can definitely see the low budget nature of Doctor Who in this entry which had little sets or locations.  Despite the tight budget, the show does a good job crafting a story where little sets are needed (something that needed to be done with more Doctor Who episodes).  Plus, you have to love the little Monk TARDIS at the end.


I want a tiny TARDIS

I have been hard on Vicki in the past from other episodes where I’ve encountered her, but she is a bit better here.  In her earlier appearances she was a little more manic and all over the place, but with the departure of Barbara and Ian in Doctor Who:  The Chase, she’s forced to carry the show and the writers seemed to have evened her personality out.  Vicki isn’t perfect, but she shows a bit more potential in this volume.

I do find the “Meddling Monk” rather interesting and wish that the character would be revisited.  The Monk as a foil for the Doctor predates the Master and the Monk did return in the largely missing Doctor Who:  The Daleks’ Master Plan (Story #21) from season 3.  His character did not die, and I think is ripe for a relaunch…with the Master now gone again, I think it is a great time for the Monk to return from exile.

Doctor Who:  The Time Meddler is a rather fun old story.  The four episode format is a bit long (like in most Doctor Who stories), but it isn’t as noticeable in this entry.  Fans of the early Doctor Who episodes should check this one out soon…especially if it is banished from print.  Doctor Who:  The Time Meddler is followed by the largely missing Doctor Who:  Galaxy 4.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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