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Doctor Who: The Time Meddler (Story 17)


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Doctor Who: The Time Meddler (Story 17) + Doctor Who: The Space Museum/The Chase (Stories 15 and 16)
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Product Details

  • Actors: William Hartnell, Maureen O'Brien, Peter Purves, Peter Butterworth
  • Directors: Douglas Camfield
  • Writers: Dennis Spooner
  • Producers: Verity Lambert
  • Format: Black & White, NTSC
  • Language: English (Stereo)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: BBC Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: August 5, 2008
  • Run Time: 100 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0017XOFFU
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #47,258 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Doctor Who: The Time Meddler (Story 17)" on IMDb

Special Features

None.

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com

One of the most popular adventures from the William Hartnell era of Doctor Who, The Time Meddler pits the Time Lord against Carry On star Peter Butterworth in an entertaining, well-written adventure. Set in England back in 1066, on the eve of the Battle of Hastings, The Time Meddler sees the Doctor drawn to a monastery where a single monk resides. So how come the singing of the monks can be heard from far away? And what's the reasoning behind the modern utensils he discovers? All paths lead to the aforementioned Butterworth, whose character's backstory adds a nice twist to the story. The Time Meddler throws in the backstory of Jamie discovering the world of time travel for the first time, but it's the sparring between Hartnell and Butterworth that provides the sparks. And while it's not a perfect adventure, The Time Meddler is very entertaining, and a nice slice of classic Doctor Who. Poignantly, the late Verity Lambert joins an intelligent, interesting commentary track in the highlight of the disc's extras. The Time Meddler was the last Doctor Who story she produced, and her contribution to the supplementary features package is both interesting and a fitting tribute to her work. --Simon Brew

Product Description

The TARDIS seems emptier without Barbara and Ian - at least until the Doctor and Vicki discover that the astronaut Steven stowed away before they left Mechanus. Steven's skepticism toward time travel pushes the Doctor to confront him with living proof. Shortly after landing on a beach in England, they discover a Viking helmet, but Steve remains unconvinced. Instructing Steve and Vicki to wait with the TARDIS, the Doctor seeks further proof. Heedless of the Doctor's warning, Steven persuades Vicki to explore the cliffs above the beach, where they find an abandoned wristwatch. Meanwhile, the Doctor investigates a ruined monastery, where he encounters an electric toaster, a gramophone playing ecclesiastic chants, and a monk who traps him in an alcove. Eventually, the Doctor realizes that the famous Battle of Hastings is only a few weeks away. That should provide ample proof for Steven, but who is this mysterious monk, and what is his interest in the events of 1066?

Customer Reviews

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Popular Discussion Topics

beta: what do you think?
  • "Story" 19
  • "Opinions" 8
  • "Special Features" 6
  • "Series" 5
  • "Characters" 4
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

22 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Grateful Jerry VINE VOICE on May 21, 2008
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I've liked this story from the first time I saw it many years ago. This is the last story from the second season. This story picks up where The Chase left off with the Doctor and Vicki finding new companion Steven Taylor hiding inside the TARDIS. Events from that story are also talked about in this one. They arrive on the eve of an invasion between Vikings and the Normans in 1066. The Monk turns out to be another person from the Doctor's home planet. This would be the first time other than the Doctor and Susan, that we see someone from his home planet although The Doctor's planet wouldn't be named until Doctor Who - The Time Warrior (Episode 70). This is also the first time that we get a story that is based on historical events but with a Sci Fi twist thrown in.

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.
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27 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Armchair Pundit on July 24, 2008
Format: DVD
Season Two.
Another amusing gem from the prolific Dennis Spooner. This is regarded as the first of the pseudo-historicals, and is one of my favourite season two stories.
I can never feel anything but sorrow for the Monk at the end of this story. I know he was a rogue, as witnessed by his Tardis full of stolen art treasures, but he did help the ancient Britons build Stonehenge with the aid of his anti-gravitational lift, after all.
"Carry on" film star Peter Butterworth plays the part of the monk with amusing relish. I would have loved to have seen him as a regular recurring.....I hesitate to use the word villain, so I'll say character instead.
And by being "shades of grey" in temperament, as opposed to the "black and white" pantomine personality of another Time Lord renegade from the seventies and eighties, makes the Monk a far more interesting and entertaining character in the process.
Here's an example, when the Doctor asks him why he behaves the way he does, the Monk replies with glee,
"Doctor it's more fun my way...". No heavy intellectual reasoning, just, it's more fun. That made a refreshing change from the pretentious reasons of some other sci-fi shows. This story was the first for the series to undergo a format change, as the Doctor takes a more pro-active role, and the actions of the companions had a lesser impact on the outcome of the stories.
As for The Monk, he is the kind of character that would go back in time just for fun, and etch some contemporary comment on some ancient artifact just to give future archaeologists headaches.
Not an evil character as such, just extremely naughty.
Although there's no worlds to save, (just a particular time-line) and no companions die this is still an enjoyable slice of early Who.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Crazy Fox on August 8, 2008
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Never meddle with success, they say. Fortunately the producers of "Doctor Who" chose not to heed this warning in 1965, ending the successful second season with this strange tale of time meddling. It's worth bearing in mind that this was a very different era, one in which season endings weren't felt to require earth-shattering cliffhangers or mega-dramatic climaxes, and indeed there is little to distinguish "The Time Meddler" from its prior stories in terms of tone or pacing. And yet, mainly in retrospect, it's crucially pivotal in the show's history, introducing unprecedented concepts and themes that we now take for granted as essentially "Doctor Who" through and through. And it also succeeds as an entertaining romp of an adventure, to boot.

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?!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Twiddles42 VINE VOICE on July 17, 2004
Format: VHS Tape
The plot is straightforward: A historical setting (1066, prelude to the Battle of Hastings.) Vikings, Saxons, and bits of technological incongruities/anachronisms and a big mystery surrounding a devious monk.
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".
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