Search - Doctor Who: The Time Meddler (the William Hartnell years 1963-66) on DVD

Doctor Who: The Time Meddler (the William Hartnell years 1963-66)
Doctor Who The Time Meddler
the William Hartnell years 1963-66
Actors: William Hartnell, Maureen O'Brien, Peter Purves, Peter Butterworth
Director: Douglas Camfield
Genres: Action & Adventure, Drama, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Television, Cult Movies
NR     2008     1hr 40min

The TARDIS seems emptier without Barbara and Ian - at least until the Doctor and Vicki discover that the astronaut Steven stowed away before they left Mechanus. Steven's skepticism toward time travel pushes the Doctor to c...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: William Hartnell, Maureen O'Brien, Peter Purves, Peter Butterworth
Director: Douglas Camfield
Genres: Action & Adventure, Drama, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Television, Cult Movies
Sub-Genres: Action & Adventure, Drama, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Drama, Science Fiction, Sci-Fi & Fantasy
Studio: BBC Video / Warner Bros.
Format: DVD - Black and White
DVD Release Date: 08/05/2008
Original Release Date: 01/01/2008
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/2008
Release Year: 2008
Run Time: 1hr 40min
Screens: Black and White
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 31
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

He's got to be stopped.
Armchair Pundit | Durham City, England. | 07/24/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Season Two.
Another amusing gem from the prolific Dennis Spooner. This is regarded as the first of the pseudo-historicals, and is one of my favourite season two stories.
I can never feel anything but sorrow for the Monk at the end of this story as he's left stranded. I know he was a rogue, as witnessed by his Tardis full of stolen art treasures, but he did help the ancient Britons build Stonehenge with the aid of his anti-gravitational lift, after all.
"Carry on" film star Peter Butterworth plays the part of the monk with amusing relish. I would have loved to have seen him as a regular recurring.....I hesitate to use the word villain, so I'll say character instead.
And by being "shades of grey" in temperament, as opposed to the "black and white" pantomine personality of another Time Lord renegade from the seventies and eighties, makes the Monk a far more interesting and entertaining character in the process.
Here's an example, when the Doctor asks him why he behaves the way he does, the Monk replies with glee,
"Doctor it's more fun my way...". No heavy intellectual reasoning, just, it's more fun. That made a refreshing change from the pretentious reasons of some other sci-fi shows. This story was the first for the series to undergo a format change, as the Doctor takes a more pro-active role, and the actions of the companions had a lesser impact on the outcome of the stories.
As for The Monk, he is the kind of character that would go back in time just for fun, and etch some contemporary comment on some ancient artifact just to give future archaeologists headaches.
Not an evil character as such, just extremely naughty.
Although there's no worlds to save, (just a particular time-line) and no companions die this is still an enjoyable slice of early Who.
From the season with the highest overall ratings ever.
DVD extras.
Commentary:~ Verity Lambert, Peter Purves, Donald Tosh, Barry Newbury.
Verity Lambert Obituary.
Photo Gallery Subtitle Production Notes.
English subtitles.
pdf files of Radio Times billings.
"The Lost Twelve Seconds" - 12 lost seconds recreated using off-air audio recording and the script.
Stripped for action - a look at the first Doctor's comic strip adventures.
Restoration featurette.
Coming soon trailer.
Originally aired:~3 july - 24 july 1965."
One of my favorite of the First Doctor surviving stories
Dark Star-The Other One | The Bus To Never Ever Land | 05/21/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I've liked this story from the first time I saw it many years ago. This is the last story from the second season. This story picks up where The Chase left off with the Doctor and Vicki finding new companion Steven Taylor hiding inside the TARDIS. Events from that story are also talked about in this one. They arrive on the eve of an invasion between Vikings and the Normans in 1066. The Monk turns out to be another person from the Doctor's home planet. This would be the first time other than the Doctor and Susan, that we see someone from his home planet although The Doctor's planet wouldn't be named until Doctor Who - The Time Warrior (Episode 70). This is also the first time that we get a story that is based on historical events but with a Sci Fi twist thrown in.

The story itself is quite good and the region 2 disc that I've seen, thanks to a friend, doesn't look too bad so I should think that the region 1 disc will look as good. I hope so as that's the one I'm buying. There are still 11 seconds of the fourth episode that are still missing due to overseas distributors' editing it for viewing. One of the special features goes back and uses both telesnaps, off air recordings and the such to recreate this scene as one of the special features."
"The whole course of history changed in one single swoop."
Crazy Fox | Chicago, IL USA | 08/09/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Never meddle with success, they say. Fortunately the producers of "Doctor Who" chose not to heed this warning in 1965, ending the successful second season with this strange tale of time meddling. It's worth bearing in mind that this was a very different era, one in which season endings weren't felt to require earth-shattering cliffhangers or mega-dramatic climaxes, and indeed there is little to distinguish "The Time Meddler" from its prior stories in terms of tone or pacing. And yet, mainly in retrospect, it's crucially pivotal in the show's history, introducing unprecedented concepts and themes that we now take for granted as essentially "Doctor Who" through and through. And it also succeeds as an entertaining romp of an adventure, to boot.

First of all, "The Time Meddler" shines as the prototypical example of the so-called pseudo-historical story, that delightfully distinctive blending of science fiction elements and past historical settings so typical of Doctor Who. Afterwards, that is. Up until this story, the purely science fiction stories and the purely historical stories had remained worlds apart, alternating with each other in almost lockstep fashion. What an innovative brainstorm it was to fuse the two! And something of the excitement of this unusual new approach communicates itself through the mood of the storytelling: we're pulled along by puzzle upon apparently irresolvable puzzle as the Tardis arrives somewhere along the northeastern coast of England in 1066 and what seems like an onlooking medieval monk seems less mystified than intrigued, as if by an unexpected but familiar sight. A monk, as it gradually turns out, who happens to own a wristwatch, a gramophone record player, an electric toaster, a first aid kit with penicillin, and...a Tardis?!

Yes, this is also the first time in the show's history that we get to meet someone else from, well, wherever the Doctor is from. The Meddling Monk, that is, another wanderer in time and space like the Doctor, though with much more of the prankish trickster about him. The way this revelation is weaved into the script is subtle and ingenious, adding a whole dimension to the ongoing series and the mythos of its main character even as, in a way, it reveals nothing and only adds a layer of mystery to it all (a knack that later writers eventually lost, for better or worse). The Monk himself is a great and memorable character, incorrigibly mischievous and yet likable for that very reason--and also for the fact that amidst the mischief and his unconventional methods he has a nice altruistic streak, the desire to "improve things" through his time meddling, in this case by wiping out the Viking fleet with space-age weaponry and so allowing King Harold to win the Battle of Hastings, thereby avoiding much of the warfare and strife in Europe that necessarily followed over the centuries. The Doctor will have none of such irresponsible interference, however, and comes down pretty hard on the Monk. Maybe too hard. The Doctor here seems just a bit malicious, possessed of a playfully cruel streak all his own (and perhaps a dash of envy?), reminding me anyway of his more initially unsettling personality in the show's first episodes. Indeed, the "Battle of Wits" between the Doctor and the Monk comes across not as a comfortably simple tussle between good and evil but more like a turf war between two unreliably eccentric but powerful renegades. I'm not sure if the writer intended it so, but it's definitely more interesting that way. Even, as the Meddling Monk might say, more fun.

"The Time Meddler" has much more going for it, too. Stock footage is craftily mixed almost seamlessly into the story, allowing it to transcend the look and feel of the necessarily studio-bound production that it was. Rather maturely horrific incidents are tactfully alluded to and still somehow successfully alloyed with the whimsical humor of the overall adventure. A new companion, Steven Taylor, is introduced and established properly, changing the overall chemistry of the Tardis crew--and confirming such cycling of companions as a permanent fixture of the series. And we get to see the Doctor relish putting away a heady brew of mead with ease, the old devil! In short, this is a quiet classic from the golden age of "Doctor Who"--sheer poetry, dear boy!"
The start of the pseudo-historicals
C. R. Swanson | Phoenix | 09/05/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Part of the idea behind "Doctor Who" was that it was going to be used to teach children a little something about history. Well, that pretty much came to an end once the Doctor visited Skaro for the first time, but the show still tried to do historical stories.

The pure historicals are ones like Doctor Who - The Aztecs, where the TARDIS crew winds up somewhere in the past, runs into trouble and has to get out. This is all done without them having to deal with any kind of monsters or sci-fi peril.

But after a while, the powers that be decided the show needed to have a sci-fi angle to every story, so gradually the pure historicals faded away, leaving behind a beast called the pseudo-historical. These are stories that take place in a historical setting, but feature sci-fi elements to them. Aliens meddling in Earth's past, power-mad time-travelers meddling in Earth's past, robot's meddling in Earth's past or, surprisingly enough, other Time Lords meddling in Earth's past.

The first of these, appropriately enough, is "The Time Meddler", where another Time Lord (though they weren't called that yet), called the Monk, goes back in time to change the outcome of the Battle of Hastings. He's not exactly evil, more of just a problem. Naturally the Doctor has to put a stop to this nonsense.

The story is quite good as is the acting, and the Doctor comes off as something more heroic than the usual anti-hero role the First Doctor had. I loved what he wound up doing to the Monk at the end of the story.

As for the rest of the episode... well, the sets and costumes are good, as one expects for a historical story. Much less cheese than when they tried to do sci-fi (then again their budget was something like 2000 pounds for an entire season, so yeah).

The extras are nice, including commentary that features Verity Lambert in her last role on the last episode she produced (it was also her last commentary). There's also a nice obit for her, and a few other nice extras, including a feature on the First Doctor's adventures in the "Doctor Who" comic strips.

Overall this is a nice purchase. It's always good to see some of the earliest episodes and the extras are nice icing on the cake."