The Doctor and the Captain

By Phil Plait | October 6, 2008 10:31 pm

Doctor Who SPOILERS. Srsly.

Rumors have been flying for a couple of weeks that Patrick Stewart might get a role on Doctor Who.

I know. I’ll give you a moment to squee.

OK, so now the rumors appear to be true. Stewart (according to the article, allegedly, etc. etc.) has been offered the role of the Mad Meddling Monk, a renegade Time Lord last seen in 1966, long before I watched the show (being a toddler at the time). Negotiations are ongoing.

So why didn’t the Doctor know the Monk was still alive when all Time Lords are dead? Well, the Master was human, so they can’t use that again. My prediction: the Mad Meddling Monk was trapped at the event horizon of a black hole. Time dilation would make it impossible for the Doctor to sense him (it better be a supermassive black hole, or else the tides would shred him).

We’ll see. But this promises to be a scenery chewer to end them all.

Tip o’ the tricorder to none other than Wil. I’ve known about this for weeks, but he was the first to point to a source that made it out to be more than a rumor, so he wins.


Comments (45)

  1. Larry

    Hey Phil, Did you see the Dr. Who clip that PZ has on his blog today?
    “What are you doing here?”

  2. Wayne

    Shouldn’t that be the Meddling Monk? I didn’t follow the link initially, but went to try to find out about this Dr. Who character I hadn’t heard of. After much wading through pages of links about Rasputin, I finally figured out the problem. For the rest of you, I’ll save you the trouble:

  3. Rachel Walmsley

    That is very exciting if it’s true. Though I’m not going to believe it just yet. The Sun is not a newspaper known for its accuracy.

  4. Viewer 3

    Captain Picard > Dr Who

    Patrick Stewart > God

  5. Much as I’d love, love, LOVE for this to be true, I retain some skepticism. The Sun has reported some rumors as fact that haven’t turned out to be true – such as the alleged return of the Rani two seasons back.

    I really, really want this to be true, though. :)

  6. Julian

    Yeah BBC, make it so.

  7. Ragutis

    The Sun’s idea of Doctor Who journalism seems to be surfing fan forums and printing some of the more popular rumors and speculation.

    That said, the rumor has been around awhile and there does appear to be some level of confirmation on

    I think I clarified the situation between the two parts of the Sun’s spoiler, it’s not that either are wrong, it’s just that they don’t go together. Patrick Stewart has been approached to play the Monk in the last specials, not the two part Dalek opener. It just is. I am absolutely positive about that. What may happen though, if Patrick isn’t available for the filming of the Specials, the Monk will be held over to series 5, but NOT the series opener. If though he still isn’t available, the use of the Meddling Monk will be dropped.

    The series opener is wanted by the BBC to be a Dalek two parter. I hear Edwardian in nature too. However, Steven doesn’t want to use the Daleks, and is trying to persuade the Powers That Be to let him use a brand new monster. If he can’t then it is a case of him “getting them out the way”. There is no correlation between Daleks and the Monk, as far as I know. [/blockquote]

    Then again, later in the same post, the person said:

    [blockquote] Also, please let me reiterate, these are provisional plans, this might all end up as a load of toasty bollocks. [/blockquote]

    Anyway, it sounds cool, but appears very tentative as of now.

  8. Ragutis

    Moderation? I don’t need no stinking moderation!


    Although, if you could fix my blockquotes, I’d be grateful. I always forget which forums use [] and which .

  9. Martin Watts

    The Mad Monk? I remember him from the first time around. One of my favourite stories from that time.

  10. Firstly, *SQUEE* That was a great story. I think I’ll have to rewatch it. Oh, he was in another story, The Daleks’ Master Plan, too.

    Secondly, I wonder if at some point they might bring back the War Chief from Patrick Troughton’s Doctor’s final story. Yeah, he was in custody of the Time Lords, but why not, hey? They’ve killed the Master … a LOT. I expect he’ll be back, too.

  11. When it comes to Doctor Who information, don’t trust The Sun. Only trust the BBC. If they confirm this, then fine and dandy, but until then I maintain a healthy dose of skepticism.

  12. Alex

    I seem to recall the “Mad Monk” was played by character actor Peter Butterworth in the ‘olden days’. If true Stewart will need to get used to a hairy, scratchy old serge cassock..

  13. Daniel

    <—HUGE Patrick Stewart fan…This would be good news, No critical thinking about it ūüėČ

  14. Mike Hall

    Probably just the Sun reporting fan rumour as fact, unfortunately. They have a habit of reading the forums at OG and reporting what fans gossip about as if it were a BBC press release.

    They don’t name their source, for one thing. They’ve been reporting the return of the Ice Warriors since season two finished. The “Dalek two-parter” story sounds unlikely, as next year we’re getting intermittant 60 minute specials not regular episodes. If you’re doing a two part story then episode one will be on at Easter and episode two in August!

    I’d venture they’re only suggesting Stewart as the Monk because he is bald — and Monks do the whole tonsure thing.

  15. This is not the first time that rumours surfaced of Patrick Stewart was slated to appear in Doctor Who. Most recently it was said he was going to play another returning classic character, the Dalek creator, Davros. Thus far, it hasn’t happened.

    Most would be delighted to see Stewart on the series in any role. But articles in The Sun and The Daily Star does not “make it so.”

    Until there is some official announcement, we all need to consider the source. If it turns out to be true, we will be celebrating just like everyone else and we will most likely even release a special show announcing it.

    Also please note that character in question here was known as the “Meddling Monk,” not “Mad Monk.”

    Louis Trapani

    Host and Producer, Doctor Who: Podshock

  16. Funkopolis

    Wow, he’s obviously gone downhill. In the 60s he was merely a Meddling Monk

  17. Hal's Dave

    This is cool, hope it is true. If I remember rightly, Patrick Stewart was considered for playing “The Doctor” back in the 70’s or 80’s.

    I have a theory, that not all the Time Lords are dead, a few(less than a dozen maybe) of them survived like the Doctor. Because there are so few of them and since Gallifrey is no longer around, they dont register on the Doc’s brain till he is in close proximity to them.

    Just a theory… Ducks…..

  18. guy

    Don’t get excited the sun is nothing but lies, lies and boobs.

  19. Jase

    The problem with this story for me is that it says he’ll star in a two-parter next year, but there is no series (or season, for you American folks) planned for next year. Next year we’re getting a small number of one-off specials instead.

    So either he’s not going to be in it for a couple of years, or he’s being cast in one of the specials.

  20. guy, the only reason the Sun is still around is the last item you listed. Not that there is anything wrong with that. :) (.Y.)

  21. If I recall the Mad Monk was never actually CALLED a Time Lord. At that point in Dr Who lore even the Doctor wasn’t being called a Time Lord yet. The way I remember correctly they didn’t even give him a back story or explain why they kept switching actors until the third Doctor.

  22. Chris J


    (note some spoiles, if you haven’t watched the last 2 seasons of Doctor who)

    They only problem I see with you’re black hole theory is from The Satan Pit. When the Doctor pulls the ship away from the black hole he scoffs at it saying this race invited them.

    I think a more plausible answer would be from Journey’s End. Davros was back from the Last Great Time war, who says others didn’t come back too.

    Personally, I still want to know who took the master’s ring.

  23. That’s MEDDLING Monk, Phil.

    Let’s not be sloppy in our fandom research, now! :-) :-)

  24. Wildride

    Maybe the Doctor will remember he has a time machine.

  25. Chris J

    @Hal’s Dave:

    I don’t know, I’m starting to wonder if he still has that ability at all. Thinking back to the season with the master, they had the Elect the Saxon posters, and he was obliviously around long enough to create and launch the arch-angel network.

  26. The Doctor had disabled The Mad Monk’s time machine and left him stranded in Viking era Earth.

    I was under the impression that The Master’s wife/girlfriend/SO took the ring.

  27. PhilB

    This is awesome. I’ve been saying they need to bring back the Meddling Monk since season 2. Rani would be cool too, but never really liked her as much.

    Ibid: That sounds right, but I seem to remember the final line of the Monk complaining that “now I’m as lost as he is.” So he wasn’t stuck in Viking earth as much as just doomed to wander space & time.

  28. !AstralProjectile

    And while were at it, shouldn’t the Doctor’s daughter actually be his sister? Apologies if this has been pointed out.

  29. Dr Buttocks
  30. Shoeshine Boy

    I don’t follow Dr Who, but, just this weekend, saw Patrick Stewart as Captain Ahab in the remake of Moby Dick. He is a better actor than I would have guessed from his STTNG stint.

  31. Davidlpf

    Hopefully the the episode will be engaging and writers will not be too impulsive to add a lot of in jokes that would torpedo the series. Mayba a few Trek fans will phase over and cling on for the rest of the series.

  32. Gary Ansorge

    Patrick Stewart as a time lord.


    GAry 7

  33. Badger3k

    So far, all we seem to have is the assertion that the Doctor could sense time lords anywhere in the universe. The only recent thing I can get is that of the master putting static up that prevented the Doctor from sensing him. However, I didn’t notice anything special when the Doctor was racing back after the Master reintegrated, nor can I recall any of the numerous times that the Doctor and the Master have been on the same planet and did not notice each other. It would seem that this ability to sense other Time Lords is recent, and since “all” are dead, how does the Doctor know he can sense them with any reliability?

  34. Ugh! Can’t believe I wrote “Mad” instead of “Meddling”. I was thinking of Rasputin, I guess. :)

  35. Haven’t watched DH in twenty-odd years – So Gallifrey’s dust, then? That means they offed Leela, dammit!

  36. My-Name-is-Kenneth

    Maybe William Shatner can play another Time Lord too!

    The ham level will increase significantly, but it might still be fun.

  37. Fizzle

    The Sun are just squishing a bunch of spoilers from the spoiler thread if you read the thread it is clear he’s going to be in the last of the specials. As for how the Monk can come back? I in the Daleks Master Plan the Doctor put him in a Time Loop and marooned him on a abandoned planet so he can just escape the time loop and bang! Back to meddling.

  38. Louis Trapani said to a group of 5 year olds: “There is no Father Christmas until the BBC says so.”

    Q_Q Nothing about this “confirmation” on yet. I think he may be right. :( Wishing doesn’t make it true.

  39. I’ve been fond of the idea that the Dr can’t sense timelords as well as he used to, becasue the longer he goes without being in close proximity to another timelord the harder they are to sense. The old use it or lose it axiom

  40. Utakata

    He better have his Earl Grey hot for this one.

  41. Wildride

    Unrelated Dr. Who thing:

    A kid on Coronation Street wearing a human/dalek hybrid mask.

  42. quasidog

    I got excited … then I saw someone mention Dalek’s and I became less excited. I wish they would give the Dalek’s a rest.

  43. My-Name-is-Kenneth

    Are they overusing the Daleks like Star Trek did with the Borg?

    In “reality”, the Borg should have assimilated the whole galaxy by now/then.

    One lone ship full of humans kicking back the Borg – yeah, right, and tribbles might fly out of my butt (ouch).

  44. klcthebookworm

    While I believe the Great Time War against the Daleks was so bad to rally the Time Lords out of their hands-off policy and hence their motiviation to grabbing the Master to help them (yeah, my father gave me one of those looks when I yelled at the TV “just how bad was that war if you went and got the homicidal maniac out of time!”), I can equally believe other time traveling characters like the Rani and the Meddling Monk saying “good luck with that” and running for the hills of the universe. And if that happened, I would put some technical doohickey up to make sure whoever won didn’t find me.

    I don’t remember if the Rani was outed or not, but the Meddling Monk was never confirmed as a Time Lord.

    Course, if they wanted to be less messy about it and not involve the whole Time War, the Doctor and his companion could just go back to the Vikings Age and unleash him again. I vote for that one on the grounds of least likely to involve Deleks.

  45. Calli Arcale

    If I recall the Mad Monk was never actually CALLED a Time Lord. At that point in Dr Who lore even the Doctor wasn’t being called a Time Lord yet. The way I remember correctly they didn’t even give him a back story or explain why they kept switching actors until the third Doctor.

    They explained the regeneration thing at the end of “The Tenth Planet”, actually, when William Hartnell turned into Patrick Troughton. ūüėČ But they were vague about why the Doctor could do this, implying that it had a lot to do with the TARDIS rather than his species.

    The term “Time Lord” wasn’t introduced until the end of the Patrick Troughton era, in “The War Games”, when the TARDIS was recalled to Gallifrey (which didn’t get a name even then — IIRC, the planet finally got a name in “The Three Doctors”). Later on, it was revealed that not all Gallifreyans are Time Lords — it’s not actually a term for a species but a title earned by some members of that species. (In “The Invasion of Time”, a Tom Baker serial, the Gallifreyan technician Rodan referred to the Time Lords as if she was not one, and referred to the guards as if they were yet another category. It seems, therefore, that Time Lords are the elite of Gallifrey, the ruling class.)

    Nevertheless, the Meddling Monk was established as being the same sort of person as the Doctor, though what exactly that meant was not made clear, as the first Doctor was not at all eager to discuss his past. Fans have widely considered the Monk to have been a Time Lord, and it seems reasonable that Stephen Moffat will follow that convention. Otherwise, one would have to explain how the Monk came to have a TARDIS and learned how to pilot it accurately.

    The Doctor had disabled The Mad Monk’s time machine and left him stranded in Viking era Earth.

    Not to worry; that problem was solved in the 1960s. The Monk reappeared, allied with the Daleks, later on. I don’t know whether or not they bothered to explain how he got away from eleventh-century England; the serial is one of the “lost” serials, and only a few clips survive.


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