Doctor Who Monsters, Aliens and Villains

The Meddling Monk

The Meddling Monk
The Meddling Monk
 Name: AKA The Meddling Monk

 Format: Television show, Book and Audio.

 Time of Origin: Gallifrey, 50 years later then The Doctor

 Appearances: "The Time Meddler", "The Daleks' Master Plan", "The Black Hole", "The Blame Game", "No Future", "The Book of Kells", "The Resurrection of Mars", "Lucie Miller", "To the Death", "The Secret History", "Twelve Doctors of Christmas: The Persistence of Memory" (Behind-the-scenes role in the events of "The Defectors" and "Last of the Cybermen")

 Doctors: First Doctor, Second Doctor, Third Doctor, Fifth Doctor, Seventh Doctor, Eighth Doctor and Twelfth Doctor; manipulated the Second Doctor into switching places with the Sixth Doctor but did not face the Sixth Doctor directly.

 Companions: Vicki, Steven Taylor, Sara Kingdom, Jamie McCrimmon, Victoria Waterfield, Liz Shaw, The Brigadier, Sergeant Benton, Captain Mike Yates, Ace, Bernice Summerfield, Susan Campbell, Lucie Miller and Tamson Drew; Jamie, Zoe and Jo Grant were involved in one of the Monk’s plans but never learned of his role in events.

Book - Divided Loyalties
Divided Loyalties
(Gary Russell)
 History: A Time Lord like The Doctor, Mortimus originates from Gallifrey, where he and the First Doctor were friends at the Academy, as revealed in a flashback of the Fifth Doctor's in "Divided Loyalties". Mortimus, however, is different from The Doctor, but not really on The Master's scale of evil - at least, at first. Although just trying to improve some things in "The Time Meddler", in his next appearance in "The Dalek's Master Plan", he was determined to get at The Doctor for ruining his plans, and in their final battle in "No Future", The Monk changed history in The Doctor's past to stop him dealing with an invasion of Earth, having finally gone over the edge, because The Doctor meddled with history here and there was seen as a hero, while all the monk had wanted to do was improve history, and was viewed as a villain.

The Monk made his debut in Doctor Who in the First Doctor television show "The Time Meddler", when the First Doctor and Vicki, just after the departure of Ian and Barbara, land at the Northumbrian Coast in 1066, just before the Battle of Hastings, and realized that Steven Taylor, a man they met during "The Chase", has stowed away on the TARDIS, Steven dismissing their claims that they had travelled in time when he discovered a modern wristwatch that The Monk had dropped earlier. Although it was quickly made obvious that The Monk was a time traveller as his monastery included such historical anomalies as a modern tea set, it was not until later in the story that Steven and Vicki learned that The Monk was another member of The Doctor's race, The Doctor speculating that he left their home world half a century before The Monk. Although The Monk captured The Doctor to prevent him interfering with his plans to alter the outcome of the Battle of Hastings by destroying the Viking fleet that weakened Harold's army before the Battle, The Doctor was able to escape, while Vicki and Steven learned that The Monk had already interfered with history in more minor ways, teaching DaVinci about powered flight and collecting a fortune in a bank by depositing some money and then travelling forward two hundred years. Outraged at The Monk's flippant use of time travel to interfere and reshape history simply because it was more 'fun', The Doctor managed to stop The Monk's plans by convincing the local Saxon villagers that The Monk was a Viking spy, causing them to remove the 'flares' that The Monk had provided the Vikings with - really missiles that would have destroyed the fleet -, subsequently removing the dimensional circuit from The Monk's TARDIS, leaving the ship's interior the same size as its stone tomb exterior, and thus useless to The Monk.

In the First Doctor’s next battle with The Monk, The Doctor, Steven, and new companion Sara Kingdom were confronted by The Monk while on a newborn planet while attempting to escape the Daleks ("The Daleks' Master Plan"). Although the Meddling Monk attempted to trap The Doctor and his friends there by damaging the TARDIS lock, The Doctor was somehow able to use his ring to destroy the lock and open the door. When The Meddling Monk tracked The Doctor to Egypt, along with the Daleks, despite The Monk's attempt to ally with the Daleks, The Doctor managed to trick the Daleks into moving The Meddling Monk's TARDIS by locking its Chameleon Circuit in the form of a Police Box, as well as stealing The Monk's directional unit. Although Sara died in the final confrontation, The Doctor was able to use the directional unit to track the Daleks back to their home planet and trigger the Time Destructor ahead of schedule, while leaving The Monk trapped on an ice world as he could no longer steer his ship.

Eventually escaping and regenerating into a new form, the Monk allied himself with the Seeth, intending to use The Doctor's TARDIS to free them from a black hole ("The Black Hole"). Shooting a Time Lord constable Pavo who had recently recruited The Doctor's aid in dealing with a few problems away from Gallifrey, the Monk used her perception-altering ring to pose as her new regeneration, convincing the Second Doctor, Jamie and Victoria that he was the real Pavo, taking control of The Doctor's TARDIS with a Stattenheim remote control. He successfully freed the Seeth, but The Doctor was able to stop him, help Pavo regenerate after the Monk's attack, and sent the Seeth back to their prison, prompting the returned Pavo to simply erase The Doctor's memories of their time together rather than take him back to Gallifrey.

Learning about The Doctor's trial and exile on Earth ("The War Games" and "Spearhead From Space"), the Monk decided to visit The Doctor to see his new regeneration and get revenge for being trapped in the 11th century ("The Blame Game"). He convinced The Doctor that he would take him to the 51st century where The Doctor could get a Vortex manipulator, but instead trapped The Doctor in the distant past on a Delphon ship which was in Earth as it formed. Liz Shaw convinced the Monk to return to The Doctor and save him, but while the Monk returned The Doctor to the 1970s, Liz stole several important components from the Monk's TARDIS, giving The Doctor new material to work with while trying to repair his own TARDIS and foreshadowing the damage that the Monk's TARDIS would experience in future encounters.

Book - No Future
No Future
(Paul Cornell)
 After this, The Monk decided to try a new strategy, as revealed in his next appearance in the New Adventures book "No Future", driven to the brink of rage and despair at the fact that he was seen as a villain simply for trying to improve history while The Doctor - now in his seventh incarnation - had reached a point where he even left messages for his past selves to aid them in solving the current crisis, meddling in history wherever he saw fit just as he had once criticised the Monk for doing (The fact that, on many occasions, The Doctor’s involvement appeared to have been part of history originally seems to have had no impact on The Monk’s anger). During a trip to the outskirts of the universe, The Monk had managed to trap the Chronovore ("The Time Monster") Artemis, using her immunity to the laws of cause and effect to greatly enhance his powers, as well as making a deal with the Eternal Death to become her Champion, in opposition to the Eternal Time and her new champion in the form of the Seventh Doctor. Determined to get revenge on The Doctor, The Monk travelled to Varda - the homeworld of the Vardans, a race whose invasion of Gallifrey had been defeated by the Fourth Doctor and subverted by the Sontarans ("The Invasion of Time") -, releasing them from the time loop that they had been trapped in and offering the Vardans his services in planning an invasion of Earth to avenge their defeat at the hands of The Doctor and the Sontarans, Earth being a strategically important world to the Sontarans as well as being precious to The Doctor. High on his newfound power, The Monk attempted to prevent The Doctor's interference by arranging for the Third Doctor to die in his confrontation with the Silurians ("Doctor Who and the Silurians"), but when this simply created an alternate universe, he contented himself by resurrecting the monstrous Garvond after The Doctor believed he had averted its creation ("The Dimension Riders"), binding The Doctor to Huitzilin, a psychically-enhanced Aztec warrior ("The Left-Handed Hummingbird"), and restoring the Land of Fiction after it was destroyed by the Second Doctor ("The Mind Robber" and "Conundrum").

With The Doctor occupied in stopping those new threats - although The Monk always knew that The Doctor would defeat them -, The Monk established a new identity on Earth in the 1970s in the form of industrialist Robert Bertram, removing various clues that The Doctor would leave himself in the future to help himself stop the crisis while assisting the Vardans in establishing themselves as subliminal signals in Earth's media, subtly brainwashing the humans to make them more susceptible to the Vardan influence. He also provided UNIT with virtual reality training equipment that would further subvert their wills and turn them against The Doctor, although this plan was only partly successful as The Doctor's old friends The Brigadier and Sergeant Benton were able to retain their own minds thanks to The Brigadier's Buddhist training - inspired by The Doctor's example - and Benton's disinterest in the modern media, allowing them to warn other soldiers of the danger. Although these signals were discovered by some people, the discovery actually worked to the Vardans’ benefit as they resulted in the formation of the terrorist group Black Star, who were convinced that UNIT were using the subliminal messages to keep threats secret from the public for their own purposes, The Monk escalating the subsequent riots using mood-manipulating technology of his own.

Having apparently won The Doctor's companion Ace to his side, taking advantage of the current hostility between her and The Doctor due to such actions as The Doctor allowing Ace’s old lover Jan to die ("Love and War"), The Meddling Monk then managed to get himself named as UNIT's Scientific Advisor after a particularly violent riot, declaring The Doctor and his allies a ‘Foreign Hazard’ to be shot on sight. After Ace had apparently stabbed The Doctor, allowing them to capture him during a mock sacrificial ritual, The Monk subsequently took him to the ice planet where The Doctor trapped The Monk after their last fight, intending for The Doctor to use up all his remaining regenerations as he starved to death on that planet, taunting The Doctor with the evidence that his compaions and the humanity he valued were such flawed beings. However, having taken a piece of paper from the desk that was the current appearance of The Monk's TARDIS, The Doctor was able to use that paper to escape, mocking The Monk's envy of his friends and allies as he disabled the Vardans by broadcasting a signal that would trap the Vardans in a carrier wave and banish them from Earth.

As The Doctor revealed that Ace had always been loyal to him - she had only 'stabbed' him with a pantomime dagger, rejecting The Monk's attempt to win her over as she recognised that the world had to be accepted as it was -, he taunted The Monk's inability to understand what it truly meant to be The Doctor, the other Time Lord unable to accept that The Doctor chose his companions for their ability to disagree with him as they helped each other become better rather than just to provide him with someone to tell him how great he was. The furious Monk prepared to use Artemis to erase this defeat from history and try again, but before he could do so, Artemis snapped free of her containment, having been freed by Ace; Artemis had blocked The Monk’s attempts to win Ace to his side from the beginning, and Ace had simply decided to string him along until she could find a way to stop him. Artemis, now free, nearly destroyed the world in revenge, but The Doctor convinced her to show mercy, although The Monk rejected his offer to come to some reconciliation despite The Doctor having made his peace with Ace for their recent arguments. The Monk tried to escape, but Artemis captured him and took him away to make him pay for her imprisonment.

Audio - The Book of Kells
The Book of Kells
(Barnaby Edwards)
Having somehow escaped Artemis, The Monk returned to The Doctor’s life when he somehow managed to convince the Eighth Doctor’s ex-companion Lucie Miller to travel with him, subsequently acquiring the mysterious Book of Kells from Ireland in 1006 for his collection ("The Book of Kells"). However, he abandoned Lucie on Deimos after an argument when he arranged an avalanche to kill a couple who would give birth to a future dictator, subsequently tampering with Ice Warrior history to create a new timeline where they would re-terraform Mars to take it back from the humans. The Doctor was able to set history on its proper course and rescue Lucie, but his actions resulted in him becoming estranged from his new companion Tamsin Drew, who abandoned him to side with The Monk as she felt that The Monk’s more ‘pro-active’ approach to time travel was better, as the Ice Warriors would now kill billions when they terraformed the planet Halcyon in the future rather than the few thousands who would have died if their current plan with the Monk had succeeded ("The Resurrection of Mars"). Although The Monk was able to trick Tamsin into helping him collect human artefacts from museums in the 22nd century while he helped the Daleks launch a new invasion of Earth - using a Dalek virus he had acquired in the far future -, she rejected him after his role in the invasion was revealed ("Lucie Miller"). After the Daleks destroyed the Monk’s collection and killed Tamsin while trying to exterminate The Doctor, The Monk saved The Doctor and Susan Campbell - The Doctor’s granddaughter and one of the leaders against the Dalek invasion - from the bomb that destroyed the Daleks, but The Doctor, disgusted at The Monk’s role in the invasion, simply ordered his old friend to leave his sight.

Audio - The Secret History
The Secret History
(Eddie Robson)
Mad with grief after Tamsin's death, the Monk eventually convinced himself that The Doctor was the one truly responsible for his loss, his subsequent quest to find some way to remove The Doctor from history completely eventually leading him to Sophia, a human/Hetrodon hybrid living in ancient Greece, whose Hetrodon heritage allowed her to perceive the future and force objects out of time ("The Secret History"). Having convinced her that The Doctor was evil because of the deaths he allowed to happen in the name of preserving history, the Monk tested Sophia's powers by having her cause the Seventh and Sixth Doctors to swap places with the Third and Second Doctors respectively, just prior to crucial events as UNIT were called to investigate an island where an alien ship had crash-landed decades ago ("The Defectors") and the TARDIS crew discovered a hidden Cybermen ship that sought to alter the outcome of the Cyber-Wars ("Last of the Cybermen"). Although the Monk had hoped that the 'new' Doctors would change history, Jo Grant and Zoe were able to help the displaced Doctors realise what their predecessors would have done if they remained, allowing them to resolve the various dangers and the timeline to unfold as it should before the future Doctors returned to their rightful place. Despite this, the Monk achieved his final goal when he arranged for Sophia to make the Fifth Doctor swap places with the First just before the TARDIS arrived in 540 AD, travelling to the city of Constantinople ("The Secret History"), where the Monk had arranged for the release of two Ostardi, a race who travelled the universe and sought to heal disease, just as he had discreetly unleashed a plague on Constantinople. In the original timeline, the First Doctor had apparently banished the Ostardi before they could take action on Earth in order to preserve the timeline, but with the Monk having released a deadly plague a year ahead of 'schedule', the Fifth Doctor hesitated due to his moral reluctance to cause death on such a scale, allowing the Ostardi to cure the disease now and grant an immunity to future plagues. When The Doctor was drawn away by the Time Lords as they detected his role in such a major change to the timeline, the Monk was able to use his equipment and Sophia's powers to essentially take The Doctor's place in history by occupying the 'hole' that was created when the Time Lords took him away, rewriting reality so that the Monk was now and had always been The Doctor while the 'real' Doctor no longer existed. With his new role as The Doctor, the Monk set about his own version of The Doctor's travel, changing history in a manner that he believed would benefit the wider universe, convincing his companions that they were protected from being erased by any changes they might make thanks to their time in the TARDIS, proclaiming himself to be a better Doctor than The Doctor.

However, the Monk underestimated Sophia's attachment to him, with her attempt to search for him after he took The Doctor's place allowing her to see the new future that would result from his actions and recognise the danger if the Monk was allowed to continue. Eventually, Sophia was able to draw the Fifth Doctor back into existence and explain what the Monk had tricked her into doing, working with The Doctor to come up with a plan to stop him. Using the Monk's TARDIS - which had remained in Constantinople while the Monk travelled in The Doctor's ship - the Fifth Doctor returned to the planet that he, Vicki and Steven before arriving in 540 AD, where they had confronted a race known as the Antoene and thwarted their plans to destroy a human colony, telling the Antoene that he would lead them to the 'Doctor' by opening a wormhole to Earth. The Doctor also went to the Ostardi before the Monk could 'wake' them to serve as part of his plan to prevent the fall of the Roman Empire and explained the consequences of what the Monk would have asked them to do, with the result that the Ostardi took control of Vicki and Steven - now the companions of the Monk - when they were awoken rather than taking control of the Emperor to aid the Monk's plans, tricking the Monk into becoming trapped in his now-immobilised TARDIS as the Antoene attacked and the Fifth Doctor revealed his return. Although the Monk protested that his actions made no difference in the long run as the universe would still decay away eventually, The Doctor reaffirmed his belief that the people in the universe had the right to live their own lives rather than let existence be defined by what the Monk believed would be better. After The Doctor forced the Monk to trigger a safeguard his enemy had created to return him to his own timeline if his plans went wrong, Sophia's powers allowed The Doctor to simultaneously return to his own role in history, The Doctor revealing his own plan to dispose of the Antoene by reversing the dimensional rift that had brought them into our plane of existence in the first place. Having accepted The Doctor's argument against interfering with primitive races, the Ostardi departed with the Monk, The Doctor dismissing the Monk's rants that he would escape and return as he always did while Sophia confirmed that the future without the Monk was better than the world he would have created even if it still wasn't perfect.

While the Monk's fate after the Time War was initially unknown, he eventually returned when the Twelfth Doctor was investigating new reports of the Loch Ness Monster in 1979, now regenerated into a new body that The Doctor didn't initially recognise (It is unclear if this means that he was trapped on Gallifrey when it was hidden in a pocket universe ("The Day of The Doctor") or if he was hiding under a chameleon arch ("Human Nature/The Family of Blood" and "Utopia") until he somehow restored himself). Having discovered an abandoned ship in the far future, manned by robots with a primitive time scoop - The Doctor later speculated that the crew had essentially wiped themselves out of existence due to their flawed experiments creating a time disturbance - the Monk took the ship to Loch Ness in the past, speculating that he would use the scoop to depopulate the planet and sell it to whatever alien race offered him the most, but initially just experimenting with it by dragging a plesiosaurus into the present to draw attention to the loch, revelling in his relative freedom now that the Time Lords were living in isolation ("Heaven Sent/Hell Bent"). Having come to investigate the sightings, The Doctor soon detected and visited the ship, allowing him to take control of its robotic crew and turn them against the Monk, subsequently erasing the Monk's memory of his fragmentary plan using a memory worm before sending him away in his TARDIS and programming the ship to destroy itself in the sun, dismissing his former friend as unimportant due to Mortimus's still-limited plans and ambitions.
The Time Meddler
The Time Meddler
The Time Meddler
The Time Meddler
The Time Meddler
The Time Meddler
The Time Meddler
The Daleks' Master Plan
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Parts of this article were compiled with the assistance of David Spence who can be contacted by e-mail at
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