The Monk (Doctor Who)

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The Monk
Doctor Who character
Meddling Monk.jpg
First appearanceThe Time Meddler (1965)
Last appearanceThe Daleks' Master Plan (1965–66)
Portrayed byPeter Butterworth (television)
Graeme Garden (Big Finish Productions)
Rufus Hound (Big Finish Productions)
SpeciesTime Lord
AffiliationFirst Doctor

The Monk is a fictional character in the British science fiction television series Doctor Who.[1] Played by the British actor Peter Butterworth, the character appeared in two stories, The Time Meddler and The Daleks' Master Plan,[1] as an adversary of the First Doctor, they were written and co-written respectively by Dennis Spooner.

Other than the Doctor and Susan, the Monk was the first member of the Doctor's species to appear in the programme, and the second Doctor Who villain (after the Daleks) to make a return appearance.


The Monk was the possessor of a stolen Mark IV TARDIS – superior to the Doctor's and with a fully functioning Chameleon Circuit; the Doctor hypothesised that the Monk left the Doctor's then-unnamed home planet, Gallifrey, some 50 years after the Doctor did.[2]

At this early stage in the history of the series, the name Time Lord and the details of the Doctor's origins had not yet been devised.

The Monk liked to meddle in history and to change it for his own amusement and for what he considered to be the better: lending mechanical assistance to the builders of Stonehenge; giving Leonardo da Vinci tips on aircraft design; making money by using time travel to exploit compound interest; and, when the Doctor first encountered him, attempting to prevent the Norman Conquest as part of a plan to guide England into an early age of technological prosperity.[2] On that occasion he wore the guise of a monk in order to gain the trust of the 11th-century locals of Northumbria, hence the name by which he became known.[1]

The Doctor stranded the Monk in the 11th century by stealing his TARDIS's dimensional controller, which reduced the interior dimensions of the time machine to minuscule size; the Monk eventually restored his ship and tracked the Doctor to a volcanic planet, where he attempted to maroon his enemy by destroying the Doctor's TARDIS's lock. The Doctor managed to repair it and next materialised in Egypt, with the Monk still following him. While there, they encountered the Daleks, and the Doctor stole the directional unit from the Monk's TARDIS (later destroying it when he tried to use it in his own ship, as it was incompatible), causing the Monk to lose control over his TARDIS's navigation; the Monk was last seen marooned on a desolate, icy planet.[3]

Other appearances[edit]

This section concerns the appearances of the Monk in various non-TV media.

In the Doctor Who Monthly comic strip 4-Dimensional Vistas (DWM #78-#83, Winter 1983), the Time Meddler teamed up with the Ice Warriors in a complex plan to build a giant sonic weapon. In this portrayal, the character (who piloted a TARDIS also shaped like a police box) did not wear a monk's habit, and was referred to as "the Time-Meddler"; the Time Meddler was defeated by the Fifth Doctor. He later reappeared in Follow That TARDIS! (DWM #147), in which the Sleeze Brothers hijack the Doctor's TARDIS in order to pursue the Time Meddler across time and space after he damages their car.

In the Doctor Who role-playing game published by FASA in 1985, the Monk features as an earlier incarnation of the Master,[4] who is depicted as being his sixth incarnation which he personally chose after a failed rebellion on Gallifrey forced him to flee.[5] After the events of The Time Meddler, the game suggests that the Monk was able to replace the missing dimensional components, but a minor miscalculation sent him, and his TARDIS to a planet in the 'crack' between realities, a planet which he later named 'Merast' and used as a base of operations, it also cost him a full regeneration, however he was able to keep his current appearance.[6] After the Monk's second encounter with the First Doctor on the planet Tigus, he regenerated into a 'strikingly handsome, middle-aged man'.[5]

The Monk also turns up in the New Adventures novel No Future by Paul Cornell, in which he is given the name "Mortimus"; the novel was the last of a story arc published to coincide with the series' 30th anniversary in 1993, in which the Seventh Doctor encounters various alternate realities that have been created due to the Monk's meddling with time, including a reality where the Third Doctor was killed in his confrontation with the Silurians (Blood Heat), attempting to distract the Doctor while he helps the Vardans to invade Earth, thus getting their mutual revenge on the Doctor for their losses during their past confrontations with him. Although the Monk seemingly traps the Doctor on the same ice planet he was himself exiled to, thanks to the betrayal of the Doctor's companion Ace, it is revealed at the conclusion of the novel that Ace was simply pretending to side with the Monk to defeat him, the novel ending with the Monk being apparently captured by a Chronovore that he had imprisoned to help him alter time; the Monk, once again as "Mortimus", makes an appearance in the Past Doctor Adventures novel Divided Loyalties; as part of a flashback to the First Doctor's days at the Academy, Mortimus is seen as part of a group of students, taught by Borusa among others, known as the Deca, a group of activists campaigning for more intervention, alongside the Doctor, Ushas (the Rani), Koschei (the Master), Magnus (the War Chief), Drax, a spy named Vansell, Millennia, Rallon and Jelpax. He aids the Deca in learning about the Celestial Toymaker, several members of which then undertake a disastrous trip to his realm;[7] the Monk later makes a cameo appearance, as "Mortimus", in The Quantum Archangel, working alongside the Rani, Drax and The Master in an artificially created parallel universe.[8]

The Eighth Doctor discovers a new incarnation of the Monk in the Big Finish Productions audio drama The Book of Kells. Voiced by Graeme Garden, the Monk is once again pretending to be a human monk, this time at the Abbey of Kells in Ireland, 1006. Calling himself Thelonios, he used the illuminated art skills of the other monks to create a circuit to repair his TARDIS, he also had his own companion, who happened to be the Doctor's former companion, Lucie Miller. It turns out that several of the Doctor's recent adventures had been manipulated behind the scenes by the Monk, he and Lucie reappear in The Resurrection of Mars, this time waking up cryogenically-frozen Ice Warriors on the Martian moon of Deimos, centuries before history says they should so in the future they won't wipe out a world. When Lucie realises what kind of person the Monk is, she leaves him, he in turn coaxes another of the Doctor's companions, Tamsin Drew, to join him. After that, he sets off to reunite with the Daleks, planning to loot Earth of its art treasures and get his final revenge on the Doctor, in Lucie Miller / To the Death, he repairs the Dalek Time Controller who had been hurled back through time after a battle with the Sixth Doctor and on Dalek orders leaves a virus on Earth to weaken humanity. However his plans backfire when the Daleks betray him, resulting in the deaths of Tamsin, Lucy, and the Doctor's great-grandson Alex, although the Monk saves the Doctor – who, a broken man, nevertheless dismisses the Monk utterly – and Susan in an attempt to make up for his role in the Dalek attack.

In an out-of-sequence encounter with the Fifth Doctor, during the events of the audio drama The Secret History, the Monk, distraught over the death of Tamsin Drew, hijacks the Doctor's timeline in an attempt to prevent her death from coming to pass. Using a time-sensitive called Sophia, the Monk attempts to disrupt the Doctor's timeline by causing the Seventh and Sixth Doctors to switch places with the Third and Second Doctors respectively during particular adventures, hoping that the new Doctors will make mistakes and disrupt history, but his plan only succeeds when he switches the Fifth Doctor with the First, forcing the Fifth to let history be changed by escalating an outbreak of disease to the point where the Fifth must allow an advanced alien race to take action where the First was able to accept the historical consequences of a smaller outbreak. However, Sophia's abilities to see the future prompt her to restore the Fifth Doctor as she sees that the Monk's actions are making history worse in the absence of the Doctor, allowing the Fifth Doctor to arrange for the Monk to be faced with capture by a group of Antoene warriors so that he will be forced to restore the Doctor's timeline to escape this threat; the Monk escapes and vows to return to continue his vendetta against the Doctor.

The Early Adventures story The Black Hole introduces another incarnation of the Monk from the era of the Second Doctor. Rufus Hound voices the new incarnation who has disguised himself as constable Pavo, a member of a special Gallifreyan police unit called Chapter 9; the Monk's plan involves helping an alien race called the Seeth escape from their pocket universe 200 years early, whilst receiving payment to offset the expensive overheads associated with fixing time. The Monk is last seen being sucked into the pocket universe, along with the Seeth, while the Doctor's memory of these events is erased by the real Pavo, who chooses this over taking the Doctor back to Gallifrey as per official policy and admitting that she needed the help of a renegade to stop the Monk's plan; the same incarnation is heard again in the Big Finish Short Trips adventures The Blame Game and How to Win Planets and Influence People, as an adversary of the Third Doctor and Fourth Doctor respectively. He also appears alongside the Eighth Doctor in The Side of the Angels, the third adventure in the fourth Doom Coalition boxset, where he represents a group of Time Lords working with Weeping Angels to prepare an enclave in 1970s New York to protect them from the imminent destruction of the universe, only to be betrayed by the Angels and banished centuries into the past;[9] the Hound incarnation makes a further appearance in Doctor Who: The Third Doctor Adventures: The Rise of the New Humans, where he acts as the chief administrator of an exclusive clinic using future technology and resources to treat diseases. The clinic's primary goal is to devise a means of altering human physiology so that the subjects can rapidly adapt and 'evolve' to cope with any threat to their lives, the Monk attempting to force the Doctor to help by infecting Jo with a disease that can only be cured if his process is perfected. However, those subjected to the process develop a hive mind and a desire to 'infect' the rest of humanity, forcing the Monk to help the Doctor devise a cure before he escapes.[10]

It is unspecified if the Hound incarnation is younger or older than the Garden incarnation; Hound's incarnation expresses ignorance of why the Eighth Doctor would be particularly angry at him and dismisses it as the likely actions of one of his future incarnations, but when meeting the Third Doctor and talking about past companions, he makes reference to "brassy birds from Blackpool", a description that could imply knowledge of Lucie Miller or just be a coincidental alliteration used as he teasingly describes Jo Grant.

List of appearances[edit]




  • 4-Dimensional Vistas
  • Follow That TARDIS!

Audio dramas[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Lofficier, Jean-Marc (1981). Doctor Who Programme Guide. W H Allen & Co Plc.
  2. ^ a b Spooner, Dennis (Writer); Camfield, Douglas (Director); Lambert, Verity (Producer). The Time Meddler. Doctor Who. BBC.
  3. ^ Nation, Terry (Writer); Spooner, Dennis (Writer); Camfield, Douglas (Director); Wiles, John (Producer). The Daleks' Masterplan. Doctor Who. BBC.
  4. ^ Keith, J.Andrew (1985). The Doctor Who Role Playing Game The Master. FASA. ISBN 0-931787-94-7.
  5. ^ a b Keith, J.Andrew (1985). The Doctor Who Role Playing Game The Master. FASA. p. 17. ISBN 0-931787-26-2.
  6. ^ Keith, J.Andrew (1985). The Doctor Who Role Playing Game The Master. FASA. p. 32. ISBN 0-931787-26-2.
  7. ^ Parkin, Lance & Pearson, Lars (2012). A History: An Unauthorised History of the Doctor Who Universe (3rd Edition), p. 710. Mad Norwegian Press, Des Moines. ISBN 978-193523411-1.
  8. ^ Hinton, Craig (2001). The Quantum Archangel. BBC Books. p. 233. ISBN 0-563-53824-4.
  9. ^ Fitton, Matt (writer); Bentley, Ken (director) (March 2017). "The Side of the Angels". Doom Coalition. Doctor Who: Doom Coalition. Big Finish Productions.
  10. ^ Adams, Guy (writer); Briggs, Nicholas (director) (March 2018). Doctor Who: The Third Doctor Adventures: The Rise of the New Humans. Doctor Who: Special Releases. Big Finish Productions.

External links[edit]