The Meddling Monk

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The Meddling Monk, or simply The Monk, is a fictional character in the British science fiction television series Doctor Who. He was played by the British comic actor Peter Butterworth. He appeared in two stories (The Time Meddler and The Daleks' Master Plan, written and co-written by Dennis Spooner), respectively, and was an adversary of the First Doctor.

The Monk was the first other member of the Doctor's race apart from Susan to appear on the programme, and the first Doctor Who villain, aside from the Daleks, to make a return appearance.

The Monk was the possessor of a Mark IV TARDIS and said he left the Doctor's (then unnamed) home planet some fifty years after the Doctor did. This information would reasonably indicate that he was probably a Time Lord, although it was never stated at the time since the concept of the Doctor's race had not yet been devised.

He 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; 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. On that occasion he wore the guise of a monk in order to gain the trust of the 11th-century locals, hence the name by which is most often referred to. (His actual name was never revealed in the series.)

Unlike the Doctor's other Time Lord adversaries, such as the Master, the Monk was presented as a comic figure: a well-meaning but childish man who wasn't half as clever as he thought he was, and who never seemed to realise the seriousness of what he was doing. The fact that his plans always failed to come to fruition, at least on screen, also helped maintain the comic tone and allowed the audience also to avoid thinking too much about how dangerous a person like the Monk could really be.

The Monk also turned up in the spin-off novel No Future by Paul Cornell, in which he was given the name "Mortimus". The novel was the last of a story arc published to coincide with the series' thirtieth anniversary in 1993, in which the Doctor encounters various alternate realities that have been created due to the Monk's meddling with time.

For some time, there was speculation among fans that the Monk was actually an earlier regeneration of the Master (see also: the War Chief), but this theory has not been as widespread in recent years.

In The End of the World the Doctor stated that his homeworld had been destroyed and that he was the last of the Time Lords. Whether the Monk was present on Gallifrey and killed with the others is uncertain.

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