The Time Meddler: Part 2 - Brilliant, entertaining adventure that fascinatingly introduces a villain from The Doctor's home planet.
Review for all 4 parts:
The Time Meddler is a 4 part story beginning with The Watcher.
This story is excellent entertainment, well written, well acted and good fun but most importantly it introduces 'The Meddling Monk', wonderfully played by Peter Butterworth, who gives us fascinating new information about The Doctor's background.
Writer Dennis Spooner is at his absolute best here with the humour blending beautifully with drama, unlike in some of his stories such as his earlier Season 2 effort The Romans where this is done badly. It is ironic that when Spooner was script editor standards were generally lower but he is the writer of this first story after Donald Tosh took over from him as script editor and it is brilliant. Tosh and director Douglas Camfield deserve a lot of credit for this I am sure. The humour is executed much better than it is in the stories when Spooner edited/oversaw the scripts himself.
It all begins very mysteriously with 1066 England having items such as electric appliances being shown. The viewer is left wondering what is going on and it makes the build-up really interesting. At the same time the new companion Steven begins to be established. The character proves to be superb and Peter Purves starts as he means to go on with a fine performance matching Hartnell's delightful Doctor. Butterworth also excels as the amusing and interesting Monk.
The character of the Monk finally gives a little development to the mysterious background of the Doctor as he is eventually revealed to be of the same race and planet of origin as the Doctor and also has a TARDIS time machine. This provides fascinating aspects to the story. It lets us know the Doctor is just one of a race capable of time travel. They are not yet named on screen as Time Lords from Gallifrey, though, that only happens in Second Doctor story The War Games.
The Monk uses his TARDIS to travel to Earth past and interfere in proceedings at the time of the Norman invasion by William the Conqueror. He is not portrayed as thoroughly evil, more as mischievous and dangerously meddling in past events for his own gain.
The whole story is excellent in my view with script, story and acting of a very high standard. It is one of the great all-time gems.
My Ratings: All 4 episodes 10/10.
Overall, Season 2 started and finished really well but dropped in quality noticeably in between for the stories where Spooner was script editor (except for The Crusade which was more serious in tone than the others and really top quality). That makes this one of the weakest of the classic series in my view up until the disappointing Colin Baker and early Sylvester McCoy years when the show reached its low point.
Average Season 2 Rating: 7.77/10
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