Saturday, January 26, 2013

Doctor Who 50th Anniversary: The Time Meddler

Doctor Who:
The Time Meddler
By Dennis Spooner

“That is the dematerializing control, and that over yonder is the horizontal hold, up there is the scanner, those are the doors, and that is a chair with a panda on it. Sheer poetry, dear boy. Now please stop bothering me.”

It’s 1066 and The Doctor and Vicki are trying to convince new companion Steven that they have indeed traveled back in time.  They even show him a Vikings helmet to prove their point but when they come up across a wristwatch from modern times they are starting to doubt they are in 1066.  The Doctor wanders off to the monastery where he finds tons of anachronistic stuff that should not be in 1066. But there is someone else lurking in the shadows. It’s The Meddling Monk who is someone with a sinister plan to change history and who the Doctor also knows from his own planet.

The Time Meddler is one of those stories that fits into the get captured escape and do it all again.  Not that there is anything wrong with that but it did seem that happened a lot in 60’s Doctor Who.  But The Time Meddler is a good story in that it gives The Doctor an equal in a way.  The Monk as it turns out is from the Doctor’s home planet and therefore has a TARDIS of his own.  This is the first time we have met another Timelord and predates The Master by several years. The scenes of the bickering Timelords is pretty good and really well done as it is fun watching them trying to get the upper hand on each other.  Of course The Doctor does and what he does to The Monks TARDIS is, in itself, quite comical.

While the part of the story with The Doctor and the Monk was quite entertaining Steven and Vicki were just wandering around getting captured and escaping.  It felt like they were an afterthought in this story.  In fact the whole Viking raiders and villagers story was pretty weak but did set up the story of what the Monk wanted to do.  At times the story got dull. At one point The Doctor wasn’t even in the second episode.  William Hartnell probably had that week off and so we treated to Steven and Vicki walking around and well pretty much doing nothing.

While The Time Meddler isn’t the greatest story of all time it isn’t the worst of the lot either.  In fact it is pretty entertaining in parts and plus it does have a big historical aspect to it as it’s the first time we meet another Timelord.  Plus you can tell that William Hartnell is really enjoying himself as The Doctor now.  He seems more at ease and he sure puts in a wonderful performance in The Time Meddler. The Time Meddler is yet another of those stories that has a historical nugget for Doctor Who and not a bad one to watch from time to time.
Grade C

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