Thankfully things picked up! ‘The Time Meddler’ is a wonderful pseudo-historical story, which I must try to have more of because I am always landing on modern day Earth or getting stuck somewhere like the time vortex which truly gets boring after a while.
|Hey ho! Now I was looking for a new hat!|
I really liked this story. It was a major improvement from the previous two which has really got old and slow – fast! A clever use of stock footage combined with studio work, simple but effective sets, a wonderful guest star in the amazing Peter Butterworth, one of the forgotten ‘Carry On’ regulars in nearly twenty of the films, and a clever plotline that was quite different from anything else that Doctor Who has presented thus far.
|Peter Butterworth and Alethea Charlton|
It wasn’t an amazing production, the script wasn’t mind blowing, but it’s a very solid four episodes. I almost didn’t notice that William Hartnell took a holiday during episode three! The Meddling Monk (Peter Butterworth) was a great foil for Hertnell’s Doctor, they worked well off each other and both injected some well needed humour into various parts.
We also have Peter Purves in his first full story as a travelling companion, Steven Taylor. He is filling William Russell’s shoes, but he brings a different sort of character to the table whilst still being able to be the slightly heroic figure who can get involves in fights which doesn’t fit Hartnell’s Doctor. Vicki, played by Maureen O’Brien, is as always very good too.
They keep the boundaries of the story, written by Dennis Spooner, simple and well contained. We see the monastery, the bottom of the cliffs, a small village with only one hut and a bit of forest scenery. It’s all the story needs.
|The Monk's console - slightly higher than the norm.|
Ah but we do have the Monk’s TARDIS (and interior) as well as the Doctor’s. The floor is painted black and the console raised somehow so it’s basically at chest height, I think to watch it in the original run to see someone with a TARDIS other than the Doctor must have been a shock, but exciting.
As for the rest of the cast, they are mostly functional (especially the Vikings) but solid. A special mention goes to Alethea Charlton, in her second and somewhat similar Doctor Who role, her first being in the very first story, ‘An Unearthly Child’.
In ‘The Time Meddler’, the production team and Dennis Spooner have tried something a little different, and the result is a great little story!
|Bloody Hell! Vikings!|