Thursday 10 February 2011

080 The Time Meddler Part 3: A Battle of Wits

EPISODE: The Time Meddler Part 3: A Battle of Wits
TRANSMITTED: 17 July 1965
WRITER: Dennis Spooner
DIRECTOR: Douglas Camfield
PRODUCER: Verity Lambert
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who - The Time Meddler

The Monk finds the wounded villagers somewhere to lie down. In the cell Vicki & Steven discover a secret passage and figure the Doctor must have used it to escape. The Monk finds his captive gone but is called back to the villagers. The Doctor is in the village where Edith has told him where his friends have gone and about the Viking visitors. Steven and Vicki emerge from the tunnel and seek the Doctor. The Monk treats villager Eldred with penicillin for his wounds and pumps him for information on the Vikings who tells them the main fleet is probably two days away. There are two Vikings left in the woods, Sven & Ulf. They decide to assault the monastery and hold the monks hostage. The Monk ticks another thing off his to do list before plotting on a map he has laid out on the altar. Knocking on the door makes him hide the papers, and answering he is grabbed by the Doctor who makes the Monk think he is being held at gunpoint. Steven & Vicki arrive at the cliff discovering the tide has come in burying the Tardis. Steven discovers a bazooka set up on the cliff. They head back towards the monastery, where the Doctor & Monk are arguing as the Vikings hammer at the door. When they answer it the Doctor is overcome as the Monk slips away to overpower Ulf while the Doctor knocks Sven out. The Monk goes to the village and gets the villagers to set beacons on the cliff tops. The Doctor captures him on his return and asks him what the fires are for. Steven & Vicki discover a cable on the floor of the Monastery leading to a door in the back of the altar. Opening it and entering they are amazed to discover that the Monk has a Tardis.

Superb. Hartnell & Butterworth are fabulous opposite each other and really make the episode. But what an ending! The shock in 1965 of discovering that there was another Tardis out there must have been HUGE. And if he's got a Tardis then by extension the Monk must be from the same place as the Doctor......

The Time Meddler is the first historical with science fiction elements inserted into it, although The Chase features a brief sequence with the Daleks on the Mary Celeste. As the historical story dies out we'll later come to see many more science fiction stories with a historical setting. Indeed later in the series the production team realised that a good way to get decent costumes and sets out of the BBC was to set it in the past and treat it as a historical drama. It's no coincidence that many of the best Sylvester McCoy stories are set in Earth's past.

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