Mortimus was a renegade Time Lord who had been a friend of the Doctor's on Gallifrey until he fled to meddle in history under the alias of "the Monk". (TV: The Time Meddler) According to one account, it was mostly the Doctor who addressed him as such, (AUDIO: The Secret History) although Mortimus once said that most people called him "The Monk". (AUDIO: The Blame Game)
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, Mortimus was driven mad by what he saw in the Schism. (PROSE: A Brief History of Time Lords)
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)
As a renegade
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 left Gallifrey, the Monk escaped in a Mark IV TARDIS and decided to become a renegade as well, meddling with history for amusement. (TV: The Time Meddler) After he left Gallifrey, Irving Braxiatel heard that Mortimus had headed in the direction of Earth. (PROSE: The Empire of Glass)
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.
The Monk was in 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. 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 seemed stranded in one time and place. (TV: The Time Meddler)
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 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. (COMIC: Follow That TARDIS!)
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, last seen leaving the Monk on an ice planet. (TV: The Daleks' Master Plan)
Several regenerations after he left the Monk on the ice planet, the Fifth Doctor had a nightmare that, as students in the Time Lord Academy, Mortimus and the Doctor were both part of the Deca. 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)
Now using his real name, the Monk made himself a champion to the Eternal Death. Capturing the Chronovore Artemis, (PROSE: No Future) Mortimus used her to give Morka the power to kill the Third Doctor, (PROSE: Blood Heat) resurrect the Garvond, (PROSE: The Dimension Riders) empower Huitzilin, (PROSE: The Left-Handed Hummingbird) and restore the Land of Fiction. (PROSE: Conundrum)
Mortimus then aided the Vardans' scheme to avenge themselves on the Doctor and the Sontarans by conquering Earth, a planet 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. (PROSE: No Future)
Mortimus took Antonio Salieri back in time 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 Seventh Doctor and the Tramp. Mozart escaped unharmed. (PROSE: The Tramp's Story)
Travels with Lucie Miller
After regenerating, the Monk placed a wanted ad for a willing fellow traveller and chose Lucie Miller as his new companion. Together they met Caligula and the Sensorites, and watched a final of Thordon's Got Talent, before crash-landing in medieval Ireland due to the Monk's malfunctioning "directional whatsit". The pair sought shelter in the Abbey of Kells until the Monk could finish repairs. (AUDIO: The Resurrection of Mars)
In 1006 Ireland, the Monk sought an artefact known as the Book of Kells, hoping to use it as a replacement part for his TARDIS. During this time, he once again encountered the Eighth Doctor after grounding his TARDIS with a Time Scoop. (AUDIO: The Book of Kells)
After escaping Kells, Lucie and the Monk went to the planet Questus, where the Monk had travelled back in time to kill the parents of a dictator in an avalanche to prevent the dictator's birth. At this point, after being dragged out of the avalanche, she tired of the Monk's meddling and began to consider his actions amoral, to the point of calling him a murderer. After this, the Monk "dumped" her on Deimos Moonbase in the 23rd century, deliberately placing her there in an attempt to grab the Doctor's attention.
Reawakening the Ice Warriors centuries before they were meant to in order to give them the opportunity to terraform Mars back to how it was prior to their hibernation, the Monk planned to allow them to kill thousands of human colonists in the 23rd century, rather than billions on Halcyon a thousand years later. The Monk used Lucie to stop the Doctor from exploding a bomb that would have defeated the Ice Warriors. Realising he had been unsuccessful in distracting the Doctor, the Monk created an artificial gravity eddy to forcibly bring the Doctor back to Deimos. The Monk took the Doctor's companion, Tamsin Drew, to the aftermath of the Ice Warriors' attack on Halcyon around the 33rd century, convincing her that the Doctor was responsible for the billions of deaths there, and subsequently showing her him apparently collaborating with the Ice Warriors in killing 600 people on a passenger rocket.
Following the conclusion of the crisis, Tamsin told the Doctor that she had "had enough" of what she considered only looking out for his friends and the Web of Time, and was unable to forgive him for condemning the people of Halcyon to their fate, choosing to leave with the Monk. The duo set off to find "some old friends who also [had] a score to settle with the Doctor" to "combine their talents". (AUDIO: The Resurrection of Mars)
Helping the Daleks
The Monk helped the Daleks invade Earth as they had in the 22nd century. In exchange for reviving the Dalek Time Controller when the Daleks realised they needed someone with superior temporal engineering knowledge than what they had to repair it, the Daleks promised him anything he desired. He used a Dalek virus from the far future and infected the Earth. He ejected the virus into Earth's atmosphere and moved forwards in time 3 years, and gave Tamsin the job of stealing human artefacts from museums for his personal collection. He lied to Tamsin, telling her that he was saving the artefacts for when the human race got back on its feet, but he knew the whole time the Daleks would wipe all humans out as part of the Dalek Time Controller's plan to turn the Earth into a plague planet which would be used to infect all of the planets whose inhabitants would threaten the Daleks in the future. (AUDIO: Lucie Miller)
After the Daleks destroyed the collection in an attempt to kill the Doctor, and then coldly exterminated Tamsin, the Monk was devastated that he had allowed someone he had feelings for to die. Wishing not to cause any more death, he decided to help the Doctor. He saved Susan Campbell and him from the bomb that destroyed the Daleks. Under duress from the Doctor, who finally deduced who had helped the Dalek Time Controller, the Monk revealed it had been he who had released the plague on Earth. He was then ordered to leave the Doctor's sight after the Doctor found out that he had deployed the virus on Earth. He also revealed he had picked up the Doctor's TARDIS approaching the 22nd century, and prevented his arrival in time to stop the invasion from truly getting underway. (AUDIO: To the Death)
Revenge on the Doctor
The Monk was deeply affected by the death of Tamsin Drew. In his despair, he formulated a plan to remove the Doctor from history so that Tamsin's death would never come to pass, convincing himself that the Doctor alone was responsible. He located Sophia, a time-sensitive Human/Hetrodon hybrid in ancient Greece and used her abilities to create a hole in space-time, which the Monk planned to use to take the Doctor's place in history. (AUDIO: The Secret History)
His early experiments resulted in the Seventh Doctor taking the place of the Third Doctor on Delphin Isle, (AUDIO: The Defectors) and the Sixth Doctor taking the place of the Second Doctor in a Cyber-Tomb in the Kuiper Belt. (AUDIO: Last of the Cybermen) However, with the aid of their companions, the displaced Doctors were able to realise how their past selves would have dealt with the crisis and act accordingly, before the Monk's influence was undone and the original Doctors returned. (AUDIO: The Defectors, Last of the Cybermen)
Finally, the Monk lured the Fifth Doctor to Constantinople in the year 540 in the place of the First Doctor, where he successfully replaced the Doctor's timeline with his own after putting the Doctor in a position where he would have to let alien healers take action on Earth or preserve history and let innocent people die. However, Sophia was able to sense the distortion to history as the Monk's casual interference made things worse, and used her abilities to bring the Doctor back into existence. The Doctor brought a group of Antoene warriors to Earth in order to blackmail the Monk into restoring the Doctor's timeline, the Monk faced with being killed by the Antoene for the Doctor's actions and the Doctor only willing to share his plan to stop them if the Monk restored his timeline. Lost for any better options, the Monk obliged before fleeing once again, informing the Doctor that he would return again, although the Doctor dismissed that plan as unimportant. (AUDIO: The Secret History)
In a new body with a large moustache, the Monk allied himself with the Seeth and planned to use the Second Doctor's TARDIS to free them from a black hole. He shot a Time Lord Chapter 9 constable called Pavo and used her perception-altering ring to pretend to be her new regeneration. He convinced the Second Doctor, Jamie McCrimmon, and Victoria Waterfield that he was the real Pavo and took control of the Doctor's TARDIS with a Stattenheim remote control. He successfully freed the Seeth, but the Doctor stopped him and sent the Seeth back to their prison. (AUDIO: The Black Hole)
The Monk heard about the Second Doctor's trial and exile on Earth and decided to visit the Doctor to see his new regeneration and get revenge for being trapped in the 11th century. He convinced the Doctor that he would take him to the 51st century where the Doctor could get a Vortex manipulator. The Monk did the exact opposite and took the Doctor far into the past during the formation of Earth. He trapped the Doctor on a Delphon ship which was on Earth as it formed. Liz Shaw convinced the Monk to return to the Doctor and save him. The Monk did just that and brought the Doctor back to his exile in the 1970s. While the Monk wasn't looking, Liz stole several important components from the Monk's TARDIS. The Doctor theorised that this would eventually cause the Monk's TARDIS to break. (AUDIO: The Blame Game)
The Monk, now hiding in 1970s New York under the pseudonym "Reverend Mortimer", forged an alliance with Cardinal Ollistra to infiltrate the business industry of the city and construct Gallifreyan structures that would protect them from the destruction of the universe. They also teamed up with the Weeping Angels to power up these structures with time energy in exchange for human prey when they activate the said structures. However, when the Eleven came to him, the Monk helped him to corner Liv and Helen in the museum. Ultimately, the Monk was betrayed by the Weeping Angels who, hungry for potential energy, sent him back in time several centuries. (AUDIO: The Side of the Angels)
After the Time War
Mortimus survived the Last Great Time War and returned to meddling with time after Gallifrey returned from its pocket dimension. He had regenerated into a new body that the Doctor didn't recognise by this time.
On one occasion, the Monk discovered an abandoned ship manned by robots and full of time scoop technology. He took the ship to Loch Ness in 1979 with plans to use the time scoop to depopulate the planet and sell it to an alien race. Before doing that, he used the scoop to bring a plesiosaurus to the loch, increasing the amount of Loch Ness Monster sightings and attracting attention to the loch. The Twelfth Doctor and Clive Finch came to the loch to see the monster and discovered the Monk's plan. The Doctor used his sonic screwdriver to take control of the ship and had its robots restrain the Monk. The Doctor then erased Mortimus' knowledge of the plan with a memory worm and sent him away in his TARDIS. (PROSE: The Persistence of Memory)
In an alternative timeline, 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.
The 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 wrist watch and an atomic cannon on a cliff where anyone could find it. (PROSE: The Time Meddler)
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. (TV: The Time Meddler)
Lucie Miller called the Monk a "murdering lunatic" and a "homicidal bloomin' maniac", while the Eighth Doctor unfavourably compared him to his seventh incarnation's habit of being "a man with the master plan" working for the "greater good" under the belief of the ends justifying the means. (AUDIO: The Resurrection of Mars)
Throughout his appearances, the Monk has generally come across as a wannabe rather than a true villain or hero, with his greater plans and objectives fundamentally undermined by his own inability to recognise his limitations, such as participating in an alliance with the Daleks to conquer Earth because he believed that the Daleks would be defeated eventually (AUDIO: To the Death) or setting himself up to take the Doctor's place in the belief that he could be better than the Doctor, only for his former ally to see the future he would create and recognise that the Monk's actions were making things worse than they would have been if the Doctor had been allowed to continue existing. (AUDIO: The Secret History)
Behind the scenes
- The Monk has the distinction of being the first member of the Doctor's then unnamed race, besides the Doctor himself and Susan, to appear in the series. The name Time Lord would not be used until The War Games.
- The Monk is also the first recurring villain other than the Daleks, and the first individual foe to return.
- For some time, there was speculation that the Monk was an earlier incarnation of the Master and the War Chief. This is stated as fact with the former in The Doctor Who Role Playing Game. However, this theory has since been contradicted by the Monk's appearances in the expanded universe.
- The Monk was almost never actually referred to as "the Time Meddler" or "the Meddling Monk" by himself or others, both of these "names" being taken from the titles of the overall serial and the second episode. However, the Doctor comes close to giving the character these names within the serial, calling him "a time meddler" and "that meddling monk", and later referring to "the Meddling Monk" in the novelisation of Shada, but more as a general epithet than a name. In 4-Dimensional Vistas, the Fifth Doctor refers to the character as "The Time Meddler". The title "the Monk" derives more from Steven and Vicki's attempt to call him something, at least within the confines of The Time Meddler. By the events of the audio story The Book of Kells, the Monk is shown to have appropriated the title, using the name "Abbot Thelonius" as a sly reference to jazz great Thelonius Monk through wordplay reminiscent of the Master's. However, in The Secret History, the Monk remarks that the Doctor is the only person who ever calls him "the Monk".