The Time Meddler is the last story of the second season of Doctor Who. But it was the a first in a couple ways. To start with, it introduced us to he Meddling Monk (Peter Butterworth). This was somewhat of a big deal because the Monk was the first member of the Doctor and Susan’s race we had seen( They were not yet known as Time Lords). It was also the first pseudo historical story of the series, which would replace the historical stories in the coming years. For those not familiar with the term, a pseudo historical story is basically a historical story, but with science fiction elements and not as much emphasis on educating the audience. It’s a good format and will provide some good stories in future years. Steven ( Peter Purves) is also introduced as a main member of the cast. We will get to him later.
The story starts in the TARDIS. The Doctor and Viki realize they have a stowaway on board. It turns out to be Steven from the previous story The Chase. He doesn’t believe that the TARDIS is actually a time machine. To prove that it is the Doctor takes them back in time and they end up in a Saxon village in the year 1066. There they find peaceful folk who are about to be ravaged by Vikings. Meanwhile, up in the monestary there is a monk who seems to know more than he is letting off.
This episode is the introduction of Steven, played by Peter Purves. Steven comes across as a bit of an annoying git in this one. He spends most of it with Viki, but I think he’s much better when paired with Hartnell( we get a bit of this combination in the next serial Galaxy 4). He’s still a git with Hartnell, but it’s satisfying to see Hartnell debunk him. The youth of Steven somewhat clashes with Hartnell’s old man persona. But we’ll get a bit more of that in Galaxy Four( the next serial). Here Steven isn’t horrible, just a tad annoying.
The highlight of the episode has got to be Peter Butterworth as the Monk. He starts out playing a more reserved monk character. Maybe a bit too reserved, which is what leads Steven to believe he’s not what he seems. Then he’s in his timelord mode, plotting to change history. He manages to make the monk’s cover up feel very realistic and believable. He’s a joy to watch, especially in part four( probably my favorite episode of the serial) when he’s with William Hartnell. They are on fire together as rivial Timelords. While I love the Doctor and the Master together, it’s always fresh to see him working against another timelord. I think that this is one of the strengths of the often hated story, Mark of the Rani. But that’s another review. Butterworth and Hartnell work really well together, you can tell that both actors are having great fun and I could even see Hartnell cracking a smile that seems unscripted in a couple scenes.
In conclusion the Time Meddler is a fantastic story. The story moves along at a fast pace, and has great direction actors, and script. I would say that this is a good first story if someone is trying to get into Hartnell’s era.