Robinson, Nigel


4 out of 5

(1 book)

Doctor Who: The Time Meddler

The novelisation of a First Doctor (William Hartnell) story featuring his companions Vicki and Steven.  Having escaped the Daleks and said farewell to Ian and Barbara (in the 'The Chase', novelised by John Peel), the Doctor, Vicki and new companion Steven arrive in Northumbria in 1066.  As the local Saxons anticipate an attack by invading Vikings, the Doctor discovers a number of anachronisms, such as technology which wouldn't be invented for centuries.  He is then brought face to face and into conflict with another renegade Time Lord, this one bent on changing the entire course of Earth's history.

It has to be said that a great deal of this book consists of the circular plotting and repetition which the TV series used to pad its run-time; in this instance involving a lot of going to the monastery, escaping the monastery, going to the Saxon village, returning to the monastery and so on and so forth.  It's fairly tedious and isn't livened-up as much as it should be by the introduction of Viking scouts into the mix.

Nevertheless, I actually rather enjoyed this book and mainly for one reason; the so-called Meddling Monk.  It's strange to think now that, aside from Susan, this was the first time the Doctor ever encountered another Gallifreyan in the show.  And much like they did later with both the War Chief and the Master, the story allows for a hint of recognition between the two characters, as if they have some shared history (even though its made clear that the Monk left Gallifrey fifty years after the Doctor).  What I most enjoyed about all this was how different an antagonist the Monk is when compared to, say, the Master.  The Monk is irresponsible, childish, misguided and petulant, but not overtly malevolent.  His relationship with the Doctor is much more like two elderly men competing with each other (including some TARDIS envy) than the bitter rivalry that the Doctor has with the Master.

4 out of 5


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