Doctor Who: The Time Meddler (Story 17)
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Top Customer Reviews
The story itself is quite good and the region 2 disc that I've seen, thanks to a friend, doesn't look too bad so I should think that the region 1 disc will look as good. I hope so as that's the one I'm buying. There are still 11 seconds of the fourth episode that are still missing due to overseas distributors' editing it for viewing. One of the special features goes back and uses both telesnaps, off air recordings and the such to recreate this scene as one of the special features.
First of all, "The Time Meddler" shines as the prototypical example of the so-called pseudo-historical story, that delightfully distinctive blending of science fiction elements and past historical settings so typical of Doctor Who. Afterwards, that is. Up until this story, the purely science fiction stories and the purely historical stories had remained worlds apart, alternating with each other in almost lockstep fashion. What an innovative brainstorm it was to fuse the two! And something of the excitement of this unusual new approach communicates itself through the mood of the storytelling: we're pulled along by puzzle upon apparently irresolvable puzzle as the Tardis arrives somewhere along the northeastern coast of England in 1066 and what seems like an onlooking medieval monk seems less mystified than intrigued, as if by an unexpected but familiar sight. A monk, as it gradually turns out, who happens to own a wristwatch, a gramophone record player, an electric toaster, a first aid kit with penicillin, and...a Tardis?!Read more ›
The important distinction between the two types was that the historical stories contained no science fiction concepts. The villains were regular humans, not evil alien monsters. Fights took place using swords or pistols, not death-rays or blasters.
THE TIME MEDDLER changed all this by combining the science fiction with the historical (pseudo-historicals as they became known in fan nomenclature). Looking back, it's intriguing to see how the production team played on viewer expectations by opening with an adventure set in the 11th century and only slowly dropping clues that a subversion of this story-type is unfolding: a modern wristwatch is found in the woods; a monastery has a phonograph (which apparently broadcasts the "Chant" album across the countryside).
The story is relatively straightforward. Landing in England in 1066, the TARDIS crew are puzzled by the aforementioned anachronistic clues. The one thing they have in common is a monk who has recently appeared in a previously abandoned monastery.Read more ›
In premise, this is an exceptional story, especially for 1965. Not only is it the first 'pseudo-historical', it finally pushes "Doctor Who" into doing more than using the TARDIS just to get everybody to a funky planet where they get scared out of their wits by some plastic (or invisible!) monster, and acknowledges that there are others like the Doctor, but who aren't as moral as he is.
The Monk is a delightful character (though I disagree he is an early incarnation of the Master. The Monk clearly has a history of playing with history on a small scale for his own personal gain, the Master has a penchant for seizing power and control whereever and whenever he can.) and well played by Peter Butterworth. Admittedly, it's great fun to watch him manipulate everybody he deals with.
The only problem is that it's slowly paced. The big revelation doesn't come until the end of episode 3. Which is fine, except we're only given small hints at meddling throughout the prior ~65 minutes and everything else happens at a leisurely pace. For first time viewers in 1965, this story is superlative and makes a top-10 story. For repeated viewings or in our supposedly enlightened 21st century, the pace is somewhat slowed. It's still worthy of the top 10 designation, the ideas presented more than make up for the slowness of the plot.
Edith the monk also gets assaulted and almost raped by a Viking. For a 1965 childrens' show, this is strong stuff. (as was the attempted rape of Barbara in 1964's "The Keys of Marinus".Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Great Hartnell story introducing another time lord and another Tardis.
Really sets the stage for the future stories regarding the time lords.
The Collection is growing!!!!! Thank you for having this awesome story!Published 7 months ago by VictorSlim3D
First time we meet another Time Lord in Who history. Always wondered what happened to this fiend.Published 9 months ago by E. Guerrido
when another time traveler goes back to 1066 to stop the Vikings from invading England the doctor, Vicki, and Steven most stop him from rewriting history. hint another tardis.Published 18 months ago by daryl drumheller
I'm not a big fan of this episode and the North American DVD certainly does not warrant a $100-$150.00 price tag, I don't care who is selling it. Read morePublished on January 27, 2014 by Ferris Bueller
Doctor Who always lets us know we cannot change the past, we can only view it. That is good to knowPublished on April 24, 2013 by Sandra Gass