The Meddling Monk – Time Lords and Ladies Who Probably Won’t Come Back

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You’ve seen lists like this before, probably. List after list on clickbait websites about how the Master, or the Rani or Romana will probably come back. Well, I wanted to do something a little different and say why I think they will not come back any time soon. Now, I’m always a nerd for Time Lords and Ladies to pop up, but after more than ten years my hopes have been dashed so many times that one begins to wonder why haven’t these characters come back. Besides the obvious fact that Gallifrey was destroyed for most of those years, I think there are other reasons to consider, too.

So, let us assume for the time being that the show runners find a way to bring back these old characters. It worked for the Master, and it looks like we could be heading for a return for Gallifrey itself – now trapped in an alternate universe.

Besides the logistics, any creative writer worth their salt could think of a way around whatever is stopping them continuity wise.

This new mini series will be a regular Friday feature until I run out of Time Lords to talk about!

The Meddling Monk

Peter Butterworth as the Monk
Peter Butterworth as the Monk

He was the first Time Lord apart from the Doctor that we met. Back in 1965’s The Time Meddler and again in The Daleks’ Master Plan. Much like the Master, he was a fellow renegade who had left Gallifrey with a TARDIS some fifty years more advanced than the Doctor’s. He was a meddler in history, making changes and adjustments for his own amusement. While he lacked real malice, he was a nuisance and the Doctor was forced to put a stop to his meddling by disabling his TARDIS’s dimensional controller. Later, the Monk was ultimately marooned on a desolate, icy planet and has not been seen since.

Having appeared twice, one would think the Monk counted as a viable recurring character, one who could pop up time and again to cause mayhem much like the Master. And that, I’m afraid, is the key to why he has never returned.

Once the Master had been invented, the need for another meddling renegade Time Lord was filled. The Master was so evil, so malicious and clever that bringing the bumbling and slightly comedic Monk back would just not have the same impact. The Master has been that, too, let us not forget – Anthony Ainley’s master could bumble, and would meddle in history for his own amusement (see The King’s Demons).

Doctor Who has built up an air of seriousness with regards to the Time Lords, their lore and legends making them into almost mythic figures. They may be boorish, out of touch, and paranoid, but they remained impressive. The Doctor and the Master stand very much in contrast to the established Time Lords – slightly silly, a bit anarchic, and not afraid to meddle.

Ultimately, the Monk is too much in the same line and would feel like a cheap comedy version of the others. What with the darker tone of modern Doctor Who, the comedic nature of the Monk might clash a little too much.

Having said that, one thing the show possibly needs at the moment is a comedic episode or two. These do pop up in the form of some absurd monster of the week, so a goofy Time Lord enemy might be the ticket to break the monotony. However, I have a hard time believing that this will come to pass. It has been almost fifty years since the Monk was last seen, so the chances of him coming back seem pretty slim.

So tell us; what other Time Lords and Ladies do you think the show could bring back? Do you think they will come back?

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Joel Cornah
Joel Cornah is an author, journalist, and blogger. He is the author of a number of novels and novellas including; The Sea-Stone Sword, The Spire of Frozen Fire and The Silent Helm, with the upcoming novel The Sky Slayer, expected some time in 2016. He is an editor for The Science-Fiction and Fantasy Network, head of the Doctor Who department, and member of the Tolkien Society. He is a frequent blogger for the Pack of Aces blog, focussing on issues of Asexuality in media, specialising in sci-fi and fantasy.