Production Code: S
The Watcher - 03/07/1965 18:55
The Meddling Monk - 10/07/1965 17:40
A Battle of Wits - 17/07/1965 17:40
Checkmate - 24/07/1965 17:40
The TARDIS arrives on an English coastline in the year 1066. Exploring, the Doctor discovers that one of his own people, the Monk, is conspiring to wipe out the Viking fleet and thus allow King Harold to face the forces of William of Normandy with a fresh army at the Battle of Hastings. The Doctor succeeds in thwarting the Monk's plans and leaves him trapped in England.
The Doctor explores the ruined monastery he has seen and finds that the sound of monks chanting is coming from a record player hidden in an alcove. As he stops the player, metal bars descend from the ceiling to trap him in the alcove. The Monk appears outside, laughing at the Doctor's plight.
Vicki and Steven explore the monastery looking for the Doctor and also discover the record player. Eventually they find the cell in which the Doctor has been placed, but when they enter, he is not there: beneath his cloak there is just a pile of furs.
Stephen and Vicki return to the monastery, still in search of the Doctor. Vicki finds a cable leading to an ancient altar and then a door leading into the altar. They pass through and find themselves standing inside a TARDIS.
The Doctor's TARDIS dematerialises and leaves England.
A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court.
Steven Taylor : "I've seen some spaceships in my time, admittedly nothing like this, but... what does this do?"
The Doctor : "That is the dematerialisation 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, dear boy! Now please stop bothering me!"
The Doctor : [The Doctor finds a Viking helmet, but Steven still doesn't believe that they have time travelled ] "What do you think it is, a space helmet for a cow?"
It is hinted that the TARDIS' landings are almost entirely random: Vicki says that if the Doctor were to move the TARDIS to escape the rising tide 'he couldn't get back'. (The TARDIS is unharmed by the water.) When Vicki explains the TARDIS to Steven, the 'D' is said to stand for dimensions. The Doctor attributes his inability to tell where they have landed to 'a slight technical hitch at the moment'.
The 'stuck' exterior is also something that the Doctor will get around to repairing 'one day'. He refuses to tell the Monk what type of TARDIS his is ('Mind your own business'). The Doctor and the Monk are said to come from the same place, although the Doctor says that he is '50 years earlier' [the Doctor left Gallifrey 50 years before the Monk did]. They have never met before [so he isn't the Master].
The Monk loses a simple analogue watch, and also has a toaster, a pair of binoculars and a gramophone and record of monks chanting. He enjoys a pinch of snuff, and has a 'private collection' of art treasures from 'every period and every place' The Monk's cunning plan is laid out on a roll of parchment, complete with little boxes to tick. According to his diary, he met Leonardo Da Vinci and discussed with him the principles of powered flight. He also put 200 pounds in a London bank account in 1968, and then collected a fortune in compound interest 200 years later. [The Daleks are occupying Earth but presumably the electronic banking system remained intact.] He also helped the ancient Britons build Stonehenge using an anti-gravity lift.
The Monk - unlike the Doctor - has control of both the landings of his TARDIS and its exterior. His TARDIS [or perhaps its dematerialisation circuit, cf. 'Terror of the Autons] is a Mark IV (Vicki suggests that this is a later model than the Doctor's, but he doesn't confirm this), but it has been modified (for example, an automatic drift control has been added, allowing the machine to be 'suspended in space [in] absolute safety'). [This 'hover control' seems to have been added to the Doctor's TARDIS later.]
The Monk's plan is to save Harold's army from having to attack the Vikings by destroying them with an unspecified weapon, ensuring that William is defeated at Hastings and thus bringing a period of peace to Europe. With the Monk's help, he hopes that the British will have jet propelled airliners by 1320 and that Hamlet will premiere on television ('I do know the medium,' says the Doctor). Vicki and Steven postulate that if Harold defeated William at Hastings all the history books and even their memories would change instantaneously (see Carnival of Monsters).
The Doctor takes the Monk's dimensional control unit out of his TARDIS, thus shrinking its interior and leaving the meddler marooned [another name for the Time Vector Generator: see The Wheel in Space. However, the effect here isn't quite so drastic: perhaps the Monk has a failsafe.] The Doctor's handwriting is very different from that seen in The Sensorites [although this might not have been his].
Northumbria, late Summer, 1066.
When asked what 'TARDIS' stands for, Vicki says that it is 'Time And Relative Dimensions In Space'. This is the first instance of the acronym being explained since the series' debut episode, and the first of the 'D' being said to stand for 'Dimensions' (as would then become the norm) rather than 'Dimension'.
The interior of the Monk's TARDIS utilises the same set as the Doctor's except that the central control console is stood on a dais.
The closing credits of the final episode are played over images of Steven, Vicki and the Doctor superimposed against a starscape and, for the first time in the series' history, there is no 'Next Episode...' caption giving the title of the following instalment.
The Doctor's appearance in The Meddling Monk, the second episode, is limited to the filmed reprise from the end of The Watcher and a prerecorded voice-over as William Hartnell was on holiday during the week when it was recorded.
Peter Butterworth was chosen for the part of the Monk on the strength of his appearances in the Carry On films. (He had yet to appear in any of the films at the time The Time Meddler was made in May 1965. Butterworth's first Carry On film was Carry on Cowboy, filming for which started in August of that year.)
The Doctor's race are identified in this story as Gallifreyans. (They aren't.)
In episode one Steven, on finding a wrist watch, asks how they could possibly be in the tenth century (the Doctor has already told him they are in the eleventh).
Cast & Crew
The Doctor - William Hartnell
Steven Taylor - Peter Purves
Vicki - Maureen O'Brien
Edith - Alethea Charlton
Eldred - Peter Russell
Gunnar the Giant - Ronald Rich
Monk - Peter Butterworth
Saxon Hunter - Michael Guest
Sven - David Anderson
Ulf - Norman Hartley
Viking Leader - Geoffrey Cheshire
Wulnoth - Michael Miller
Director - Douglas Camfield