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Doctor Who: The Time Meddler

William Hartnell , Patrick Troughton , Marcus Hearn    NR (Not Rated)   DVD
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 77.95
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Slowly plotted, but very worthy. 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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4.0 out of 5 stars "What type are you?" "Mind your own business!" March 3 2004
Format:VHS Tape
Landing in 1066 England with a new companion travelling with the Doctor and Vicki, Steven Taylor, discover a Monk who is hell bent on altering time a few days before the Battle of Hastings. The Time Meddler may be the slowest 4 parter ever in Who's history, but it is also very enjoyable. Peter Butterworth is a perfect fit as the Monk, another renegade Time Lord with his Mark IV TARDIS. Steven skeptical of the TARDIS being a time machine and the disbelief that they're actually in 1066 is a nice touch with his character so early in his development. And Vicki comes off ok. She has the usual goofy deliveries, but this serial is one of her best of the season. The villagers are pretty good. But the Vikings and the fight choreagraphy and the pace of the story are reasons why some might want to steer clear. But the first pseudo-historical in Doctor Who's history is really enjoyable. It's quite a surprise when Vicki and Steven enter the Monk's TARDIS for the first time, and realise that the Doctor's TARIDS isn't the only one. Not to be overlooked.
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4.0 out of 5 stars I wonder where the TARDIS'll take us next... Oct. 25 2003
Format:VHS Tape
That's what Vicki wonders aloud. The last story of Doctor Who's second season finds the Doctor, Vicki, and Steven landing in Northumbria, in the summer of the fateful year--drum roll please, 1066. References to that include a conversation with Edith, the wife of the Saxon village headman Wulnoth, who mentions good King Edward, i.e. Edward the Confessor, who died earlier that year, and Harold Godwinson, a.k.a. Harold II, who would be runner-up at the Battle of Hastings. The Saxons are indeed wary of Viking raids, and sure enough, some of them appear in future episodes.
However, a monk sees the TARDIS land and watches with intense curiosity. "I wonder..." he says pensively. He also does something extraordinary. He raises the left sleeve of his robe, and stares in bewilderment at his bare wrist. Hmmm...
The Doctor's curiosity is piqued by something and to that end, he goes to the monastery, only to find some things that don't belong there, like a grammophone record, for one. However, he delightfully enjoys the mead offered him by Edith, which he drinks from a horn.
This is Steven's maiden voyage in the TARDIS, and he is skeptical that he has entered a time machine. His question to the Doctor on some equipment on a ship leads to this reply by the Doctor: "That is the dematerialization control. And that over yonder is the horizontal hold. Up there is the scanner, those are the doors, that is a chair with a panda on it. Sheer poetry, dear boy. Now please stop bothering me." Vicki laughs in response to Steven's bewilderment. On finding a Viking helmet, Steven's skepticism is answered by the Doctor's flippant quip: "What do you think it is, a space helmet for a cow?
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