The Meddling Monk, also known simply as the Monk, is a recurring antagonist in the Doctor Who series and associated spinoffs. He was the second recurring antagonist in the series after the Daleks, the first individual recurring antagonist and the only individual recurring antagonist encountered by the First Doctor, arguably making him his arch-enemy. He was also the first Time Lord antagonist in the series.
In the television series, he was portrayed by the late Peter Butterworth. In Big Finish audios, he was voiced by Graeme Garden and Rufus Hound.
The Monk was introduced in "The Time Meddler", in which he had taken up residence in an abandoned monastery in England in 1066, using recordings of monks chanting to convince the locals the monastery was fully occupied. He had several modern trappings to make his time comfortable. He had already interfered in Earth's history, giving ideas to Leonardo da Vinci and using anti-gravs to help build Stonehenge. He now intended to help Harold Godwinson win the Battle of Hastings, by wiping out the Viking fleet scheduled to invade beforehand so Harold would have fresh troops, and then guide England along a more technological path, free of wars with France. His plans were derailed by the arrival of the Doctor and also by a Viking raid, which led to a series of misunderstandings in which the Monk was believed to be a Viking spy. Despite treating a wounded villager, the Monk calmly set the Vikings up to be killed by the Saxon villagers in order to cover his escape. However, the Doctor removed the dimensional control from his TARDIS, stranding him.
The Monk quickly repaired his TARDIS and reappeared in "The Daleks' Master Plan" where he encountered the Doctor again on the planet Tigus. He tried and failed to strand the Doctor there, then followed him to Ancient Egypt only to end up caught between the Doctor and the Daleks. He agreed to help the Daleks and, more by accident than anything else, helped them capture the Doctor's friends Steven and Sara. He managed to flee the scene while the Doctor was handing over the Taranium Core of the Daleks' Time Destructor in exchange for his friends and escaped in his TARDIS, only to find the Doctor had removed the Directional Unit, leaving him wandering aimlessly.
The Monk was not seen again on screen but reappeared in several other media. The Doctor Who Magazine comic strips saw him battling the Fifth Doctor alongside the Ice Warriors and being pursued by the Seventh Doctor and his allies the Sleaze Brothers. In the New Adventures novels, he was the main villain of the Alternate History arc, where he aided a Vardan invasion and used a captive Chronovore to make several changes to history. He was foiled when Ace freed the Chronovore, which dragged him away to punish him. It was during this arc, in the novel No Future, that his real name, Mortimus, was established. The Past Doctor novel Divided Loyalties featured a flashback to Gallifrey, showing the Monk as part of a group that included the Doctor, the Master and the Rani.
In the Big Finish audios, a new incarnation of the Monk recruited the Eighth Doctor's old companion Lucie Miller but she turned against him on realising how little he cared about the deaths that resulted from his meddling. He in turn caused the Doctor's companion Tamsin to turn on him by showing her the deaths that came from the Doctor keeping history on track and allowing the Ice Warriors to wipe out a human colony. He aided the Daleks in invading 22nd century Earth, repairing the Dalek Time Controller. When the Daleks exterminated Tamsin, he joined with the Doctor to defeat them but his culpability meant their alliance was short-lived. He later made another attempt to get revenge on the Eighth Doctor which ended with him being sent back in time by the Weeping Angels.
Another incarnation of the Monk tried to retroactively get revenge on the Second and Third Doctors. It was revealed in The Missy Chronicles that he survived the Time War by using a Chameleon Arch to make himself human, deliberately crippling his own TARDIS and hiding out on 16th century Earth. He encountered Missy, who ended up abandoning him to his alien allies.
- A popular fan theory for a time was that the Monk and fellow 60s Time Lord villain the War Chief were both earlier incarnations of the Master. This was even stated as fact in a role playing game handbook, but several spin-offs since then have portrayed them as separate characters.