Spooning w/Spooner

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As mentioned back when The Romans was re-capped, one of the unsung heroes of early Doctor Who (and to a larger point 1960’s British action/adventure television in general) was Dennis Spooner, whose initial entry into the show was The Reign of Terror and became script editor from The Rescue onwards.  Stylistically he brought much more of a lightness of touch into the series.  And where The Romans marked one end of his Doctor Who spectrum, The Time Meddler, and more specifically The Meddling Monk, is a different story balance entirely.

Impishly fun, the Monk marks the first time in series history we see another Timelord (unnamed at this point).  But whereas the Master was megalomaniacal, the Monk was more of a provocateur, brandishing historical anachronisms (record players, binoculars) merely to make his life more tolerable.  Hartnell plays his reaction to the Monk in such a way that the audience can also see the fun side of his interference, but ultimately can’t abide in the end.

Oddly The Time Meddler is more Vicki and Steven’s story (his first proper as a companion) than the Doctor.  They get lots of time together, indeed they need to as Hartnell gets episode two off (another convenient imprisonment), so the story is a little more disjointed than it might otherwise have been, but when the Doctor and Monk verbally fence, it’s delightful.

Ultimately the weekly churn of 60’s Doctor Who chewed through Dennis Spooner too.  Splitting writing responsibilities with Terry Nation for The Daleks Master Plan was it for him, but as an evolutionary force in Doctor Who, his legacy was enormous.

Classic Capitology promises another undisputed classic story next time.  We shall see.