In his first incarnation, (PROSE: The Mutation of Time) Mortimus, (PROSE: No Future) often dubbed as "the Monk", (TV: The Time Meddler) a time traveller of the Doctor's own kind, who by most accounts was a renegade Time Lord, (PROSE: No Future, Divided Loyalties) adopted the name, or at least the ethos, of "the Time Meddler". (COMIC: 4-Dimensional Vistas, PROSE: The King of Terror)
He travelled in a TARDIS of his own throughout Earth's history, "meddling" with it in a manner the Doctor denounced as reckless and counterproductive. After an encounter with the First Doctor in 1066 Northumbria, the Monk attained his moniker through the Doctor and his companions due to his choice of disguise. (TV: The Time Meddler)
According to a dream about his childhood in the Deca that the Fifth Doctor experienced under the influence of the Toymaker, Mortimus had once been a friend of the Doctor's on Gallifrey until he fled to meddle in history. (PROSE: Divided Loyalties)
Celestial Intervention Agency files indicates that this Monk, in the context of his encounters with the First Doctor, was the sixth incarnation of the Time Lord later known as the Master, marking the beginning of his time as a renegade. (PROSE: CIA File Extracts)
Prior to becoming the first meddling time traveller known as "the Monk", this Monk came from the same place as the First Doctor at a time 50 years after the Doctor left. (TV: The Time Meddler) One source depicted the Monk "crossing his heart with his fingers", (PROSE: The Mutation of Time) possibly indicating him to have a single heart much as the First Doctor did; (TV: The Edge of Destruction) later sources indicated this was a feature of Time Lords who had not yet regenerated (PROSE: The Man in the Velvet Mask, et al.) although having a single heart was also a known marker of human biology (TV: Spearhead from Space, et al.) — either perspective would place the first Monk as still being in his first incarnation.
Most sources indicate the Monk's original identity had been as a Time Lord named "Mortimus" on Gallifrey. (PROSE: Divided Loyalties, et al.) A contradictory source indicates the Monk had lived five prior lives and was the sixth incarnation of the Time Lord later known as the Master, being the first incarnation to leave Gallifrey and break the laws of the Time Lords. (PROSE: CIA File Extracts) A third account places the Monk as having been a human from circa the 49th century. (PROSE: The Church of Football, Unnatural History)
As a human
- Main article: John Scanlon
In an original iteration of history, the First Doctor was a human fleeing from an Enemy in the 49th century. (PROSE: Unnatural History) Similarly, one source indicated the Time Meddler's original identity was as a human named "John Scanlon" from a period over 2000 years after the 20th century who was fleeing a horrible enemy to humankind, from whom Scanlon stole a timeship with the initial goal of changing history to save his people. As his travels progressed, Scanlon became more interested in looting and meddling with history for personal gain. (PROSE: The Church of Football)
As Mortimus on Gallifrey
Like all Time Lords, Mortimus was taken from his family at the age of eight for the selection process in the Drylands. Staring into the Untempered Schism as part of a Time Lord initiation rite, he was driven mad by what he saw in the Schism. (PROSE: A Brief History of Time Lords)
According to a nightmare had by the Fifth Doctor, Mortimus and the First Doctor were both part of the Deca in the Time Lord Academy. When the Doctor uncovered Time Lord files regarding the Guardians, Mortimus was one of the first to delve into their secrets. He dropped out of the Academy after the Doctor, Rallon and Millennia took an illegal trip away from Gallifrey to the Celestial Toyroom. (PROSE: Divided Loyalties) Other accounts concurred that Mortimus was an Academy contemporary of the Doctor. (PROSE: Goth Opera, AUDIO: The Rani Elite)
On Gallifrey, Mortimus was an initiate of one of the colleges of scholars in the Capitol, trusted with keeping secrets, (PROSE: No Future) and also worked for the Celestial Intervention Agency. (PROSE: The Quantum Archangel) During this period, he was responsible for the Legions' imprisonment. (PROSE: The Crystal Bucephalus) According to the Master, Mortimus "crossed and double-crossed" the CIA. (PROSE: The Quantum Archangel)
After becoming an agent provocateur for the High Council, Mortimus found an interest in intervening in history. Becoming aware of other worlds where everything he believed in was meaningless, Mortimus turned to politics, attempting to "create a purpose out of nothing". Finding politics to be full of betrayal, he retreated into hedonism, out of a desire for harmless fun. Through "some sort of controversy", the High Council betrayed Mortimus. (PROSE: No Future)
Fifty years after the Doctor and other members of the Deca left Gallifrey, the Monk escaped in a Mark IV TARDIS and decided to become a renegade as well, meddling with history for amusement. (PROSE: Divided Loyalties) After he left Gallifrey, Irving Braxiatel heard that Mortimus had headed in the direction of Earth. (PROSE: The Empire of Glass)
Early renegade activities
The Monk worked as an advisor to both the Moroks and Yartek, leader of the Voord. (PROSE: No Future) Mortimus encountered the Celestial Toymaker at one point, and the Toymaker took a liking to him due to their similar personalities. (PROSE: Divided Loyalties)
The Monk lent mechanical assistance to the builders of Stonehenge by providing anti-gravity lifts; according to his logbook he gave Leonardo da Vinci tips on aircraft design, and he placed £200 in a London bank in 1968 and then travelled forward two hundred years to pick up a fortune in compound interest. (TV: The Time Meddler) At some point, the Monk encountered the Daleks and developed a fear of them. (TV: The Daleks' Master Plan)
The Battle of Hastings plot
Still in his first incarnation, (PROSE: The Mutation of Time) the Monk went to 1066 Northumbria trying to prevent the Normans from winning the Battle of Hastings as part of a plan to guide England into an age of technological prosperity when the First Doctor encountered him, using a progress chart to keep track of the proceedings. After the Monk's plans were prevented, the Doctor sabotaged the dimensional control of his TARDIS, making it the same size inside as outside. With his TARDIS interior reduced to dollhouse proportions, the Monk was seemingly stranded in 11th century England. (TV: The Time Meddler)
Alliance with the Daleks
The Monk ran into the First Doctor again on the volcanic planet Tigus. The Monk sabotaged the lock on the Doctor's TARDIS, though that did not stop him from getting inside. The Doctor stole the Monk's direction controls to use in his effort to stop the Daleks.
The Monk's TARDIS landed in ancient Egypt. Knowing of the Daleks, the Monk decided to help them regain the taranium core to avoid being exterminated himself while trying unsuccessfully to convince the Doctor and his companions of his honourable nature. The Doctor overpowered the Monk and placed him in a sarcophagus, where he was found by Steven Taylor and Sara Kingdom. He caused them to be captured by the Daleks but was also held by them. The Doctor tinkered with the chameleon circuit of the Monk's TARDIS, making it take various shapes, finally that of a police box. The Doctor was forced to give the taranium to Mavic Chen, enabling his companions and the Monk to escape the Daleks.
The Monk entered his TARDIS before the Daleks could recapture him. However, the Doctor had stolen its partially compatible directional unit, and as the Monk arrived on an ice planet he realised he'd have to wander in time and space as lost as the Doctor was. (TV: The Daleks' Master Plan) By some accounts this was true, and the Monk left the ice planet without a directional unit, only able to go to random locations until he dealth with the problem in his next incarnation. (AUDIO: The Book of Kells) Other accounts indicate the Monk became stranded on the ice planet as he constructed new circuits and repaired his TARDIS. (PROSE: No Future, A Brief History of Time Lords)
Several of the Monk's subsequent encounters with the Doctor would be perceived by both as the first time they encountered each other after the Daleks' master-plan, (COMIC: 4-Dimensional Vistas, PROSE: No Future, AUDIO: The Book of Kells) with some accounts indicating this incarnation of the Monk never met the Doctor again. (AUDIO: The Book of Kells, PROSE: CIA File Extracts) This could be attributed to later Monks meddling with their own past and erasing parts of their history, (AUDIO: The Secret History, The Wrong Woman) although another account indicated several of these events were directly continous. (PROSE: Divided Loyalties)
Further battles with the Doctor
Now calling himself "the Time Meddler", the Monk later allied himself with the Ice Warriors and battled the Fifth Doctor in a complex scheme involving alternative Earths and a giant Sonic weapon. (COMIC: 4-Dimensional Vistas)
Sometime in the 21st century, the Monk tried to rig elections in what may have been the United States to stop President Sinatra from winning a third term of office. As he began this mission, he landed his TARDIS on a busy freeway. The Sleeze Brothers, El Ape and Deadbeat, collided with it, damaging their vehicle. At the same time, the companion-less Seventh Doctor landed his TARDIS in the same area.
Besieged by the angry brothers and an irate Doctor, the Monk slipped back into his TARDIS and took off. The Brothers hijacked the Doctor's TARDIS at gunpoint and ordered him to follow the Monk's TARDIS through time. A chase ensued, and the two TARDISes flitted to several famous mysteries in Earth's history. Finally, the Doctor and the Sleeze Brothers made the Monk's TARDIS implode, apparently causing the creation of the Bermuda Triangle. The Doctor rescued the Monk from the implosion and apprehended him on behalf of the Time Lords. (COMIC: Follow That TARDIS!)
According to some accounts, the Monk constructed a new directional unit while stranded on the ice planet after allying with the Daleks. Now using his real name, Mortimus spent decades planning his revenge, accumulating information and stealing useful devices, and financing his operations by taking on discreet commissions across the universe. While Mortimus and the Doctor believed they did not encounter each other in this time, (PROSE: No Future) by one account Mortimus' period as Death's Champion occurred after his alliance with the Ice Warriors. (PROSE: Divided Loyalties)
He made a deal with the Eternal Death to become her champion, thinking it wouldn't be too demanding, and also met the Eternal Vain Beauty in Paris, exchanging gold for his blood. He also killed the Minyan Antokh to obtain his blood, regretting that the required poison was expensive, along with blood from a Mandrel, Silurian, and Dalek, and collected spheres from the Sisterhood of Karn. Using all this in a ritual performed on the edge of the universe, he summoned the Chronovore Artemis and captured her with Vain's blood, which she thought was human.
In his explorations of the universe, he found Varda and broke the time loop with Artemis's power, freeing the Vardans. Forming an alliance, he began to interfere in the Seventh Doctor's past, (PROSE: No Future) allowing Morka to kill the Third Doctor without regenerating during their encounter, (PROSE: Blood Heat) though he admitted he should've realised this would only create an unstable mini-universe. After reading about it in the Red Book of Gallifrey, (PROSE: No Future) he resurrected the Garvond, (PROSE: The Dimension Riders) and then empower Huitzilin, (PROSE: The Left-Handed Hummingbird) feeling a sort of empathy with the creature. Finally, since he considered it such an interesting place and "couldn't leave it to fizzle out," (PROSE: No Future) Mortimus restored the Land of Fiction, (PROSE: Conundrum) removing the Master of the Land from his timestream and giving him infinite power, in order to gain more time and remove any future notes and escape clauses the Doctor left for himself.
Mortimus then aided the Vardans' scheme to avenge themselves on the Doctor and the Sontarans by conquering Earth in 1976, since it was of continued strategic value to the Sontarans and of importance to the Doctor. His plan was undone thanks to the Doctor's companion Ace, who pretended to side with him until she could free Artemis. The vengeful Artemis subsequently took Mortimus away to make him pay for her imprisonment.
While the Doctor believed that Artemis' revenge meant the Monk was permanently gone, (PROSE: No Future) one account describes an unseen encounter between the Seventh Doctor and a Monk calling himself Mortimus and acting as he did as Death's Champion. Mortimus took Antonio Salieri back in time to Salzburg to kill Mozart when he was still a child, intending to cause damage to the Web of Time. Mortimus left before the murder took place and Salieri was stopped by the Doctor and a tramp. Mozart escaped unharmed. (PROSE: The Tramp's Story)
According to the Celestial Intervention Agency's files, the Monk was found by the Daleks soon after allying with them and exterminated for his failure to aid them in their master-plan. (PROSE: CIA File Extracts) Another account portrayed an apparent death of Mortimus as he was trapped in his TARDIS with a furious Artemis, with the Seventh Doctor assuming as much upon hearing Mortimus' agonized scream amid the TARDIS dematerialization. (PROSE: No Future)
The aforementioned CIA files indicated that this Time Lord's subsequent (and overall seventh) incarnation abandoned the name and habit of the "Monk" and began calling himself the Master, staying in synch with the Doctor's chronology until they met each other again as the Twelfth Master and Third Doctor. (PROSE: CIA File Extracts) However, many other accounts showed the Monk and the Master to be separate individuals. (PROSE: No Future, Divided Loyalties, AUDIO: Too Many Masters)
Another account indicated the Monk's next incarnation was an older man who faced the Eighth Doctor, the two meeting each other for the first time since the Daleks' master-plan. (AUDIO: The Book of Kells, The Resurrection of Mars, et al.)
A third possibility of the Monk's next incarnation was a mustachioed trickster whom some sources indicated to exist in sync with the Doctor's early timeline following the Dalek's master-plan. (AUDIO: The Black Hole, The Blame Game, How to Win Planets and Influence People) However, other sources showed that Monk to exist later in the Monk's overall timeline. (AUDIO: The Rise of the New Humans, Divorced, Beheaded, Regenerated, et al.) The Nun, a female incarnation of the Monk, was uncertain of how many regenerations she had gone through, as her chronology was complicated by her meddling with her own past, erasing parts of her history. (AUDIO: The Wrong Woman)
In a parallel universe made by the Quantum Archangel, the Monk cooperated alongside the Master, the Rani and Drax to try to destroy the world using a DNA recombinator, turning the human race into a gestalt consciousness which could be used as a weapon to conquer the universe.
In another Archangel universe, Mortimus was accepted back into Gallifreyan society during a War in Heaven fought against Daleks and worked as an elite executive for the CIA. He conducted an undercover mission behind Enemy lines, discovering the horrible secret of Skaro's timeline. (PROSE: The Quantum Archangel)
The First Monk was amoral and enjoyed meddling actively with history to his own selfish ends. He was also incredibly careless when it came to time travel. Unlike other Time Lords, the Monk didn't seem to care about the potential damage to fixed points or to the Web of Time. He also showed the habit of leaving behind anachronisms like a quartz wristwatch and an atomic cannon on a cliff where anyone could find it. (PROSE: The Time Meddler)
Despite his experience as a Time Lord, the Monk's attitude typically demonstrated a very short-term view when making his plans, intending to alter the outcome of the Battle of Hastings with only vague ideas of how things would work out later. The Monk also showed a childish and petulant side to his nature, although he did have a temper, and he could get annoyed and exasperated easily, usually when he was disturbed during his plans like he frequently was in 1066 when his disguise as a monk led to him being forced to tend to injured Saxons even if the role was necessary since the Saxons were a part of his plans. (TV: The Time Meddler)
The First Monk had a boastful side, and he sought praise and liked to think of himself as clever. (PROSE: The Time Meddler) He would boast about his plans and he oft enjoyed mocking the Doctor during their meetings. This bragging would extend to his TARDIS, lauding its superiority when compared to the Doctor's TARDIS. (TV: The Time Meddler)
Appearance and clothing
The First Monk wore the robes of a 1066 Northumberland monk, initially as part of a disguise. He was a middle-aged, chubby, white-skinned man with a lined, clean-shaven face, a gap in his top front teeth and dark hair cut into a bowl cut. (TV: The Time Meddler)
Behind the scenes
- The title "the Monk" derives more from Steven and Vicki's attempt to call him something within the confines of The Time Meddler. In 4-Dimensional Vistas, the Fifth Doctor refers to this incarnation as "the Time Meddler."
- Peter Butterworth's unnamed time traveller in TV: The Time Meddler had the distinction of being the first compatriot of the Doctor and Susan to appear on television. There is some difficulty, however, in assigning to him the quality of "first Time Lord other than the Doctor and Susan" to appear in the series, as the name of "Time Lord" had yet to make its debut in the series at the time; indeed, it was far from established that the Doctor was a humanoid alien rather than a human from an advanced future civilisation.
- Absent the context of later continuity, The Time Meddler seems to set itself firmly in the latter tradition, with both the Doctor and the Monk equating "history" and "human history" in dialogue, treating Earth's history as if it were their own; the trinkets and keepsakes collected by the Monk notably all come from various periods of Earth's history, to the exclusion of any other planet.
- John Dorney and David Richardson initially wanted the Monk to appear in the storyline which eventually became Daughter of the Gods. They issued David K Barnes a list of characters from the early years of Doctor Who and tasked him with writing a story around them as if emulating a "five-year anniversary special" from 1968. However, while most of the characters on the list made it into the final work, the Monk was ultimately dropped once the main story began to take shape. (VOR 128)