The Doctor is continuing with his peripatetic lifestyle, and the Tardis materialises on the Northumbrian coast in 1066.
Norways King Hardrada has sent out a fleet of ships to scout out the Saxon's defences, prior to a full scale invasion.
The Doctor meanwhile encounters the Monk, one of his own race, whom has plans to alter the time line by defeating the Viking fleet, with a modern day bazooka.
Thus obviating King Harolds need to trudge all the way up North to defeat the Viking threat.
(Which he did in real life.)
The Doctor is incensed by this meddling with established history and is determined to stop him.
Another amusing gem from the prolific Dennis Spooner. This is regarded as the first of the Pseudo-Historicals, and is one of my favourite sixties stories.
I can never feel anything but sorrow for the Monk at the end of this story as he's left stranded. I know he was a rogue, as witnessed by his Tardis full of stolen art treasures, but he did help the ancient Britons build Stonehenge with the aid of his anti-gravitational lift, after all.
"Carry on" film star Peter Butterworth plays the part of the monk with amusing relish. I would have loved to have seen him as a regular recurring.....I hesitate to use the word villain, so I'll say character instead.
And by being "shades of grey" in temperament, as opposed to the "black and white" pantomine personality of another Time Lord renegade from the seventies and eighties, makes the Monk a far more interesting and entertaining character in the process.
Here's an example, when the Doctor asks him why he behaves the way he does, the Monk replies with glee,
"Doctor it's more fun my way...".
No heavy intellectual reasoning, just, it's more fun. I like that!
The Monk is the kind of character that would go back in time just for fun, and etch some contemporary comment on some ancient artifact just to give future archaeologists headaches.
Not an evil character as such, just extremely naughty.
One of the reasons that makes me laugh about the comment by non-Who fans who dismiss Doctor Who as being a kids show, is an incident that happens in this story, it's what the Vikings do to Edith, and her almost cataleptic state afterwards. (Thankfully,implied and not shown.)
A similar incident nearly occurs to Barbara in the, "The Snows of Terror" episode of, "The Keys of Marinus".
During this era the show touched upon some of the more brutal aspects of life, aspects it avoided in later years, and that made this era, for me, slightly more believable.
This was the first story to undergo a format change, as the Doctor becomes more of a central character, and the actions of the companions had a "lesser" impact on the outcome of the stories.
Don't let the fact it's in Black and White put you off.
Kids show! Bah, they don't know what they're talking about. It was made by the drama department of the BBC, NOT the Childrens department. The only reason I can see that some people mistake it for a Childrens show was in the UK it was shown at Tea-time!
Ep.1~ The Watcher.
Ep.2~ The Meddling Monk.
Ep.3~ A Battle of Wits.
Originally broadcast:~ 3/7/65-24/7/65.