The Timelord’s latest foe are not the first characters he’s encountered with that name, here are our Top 5 Doctor Who Monks
Of course, these are not the first religious brothers that the Twelfth Doctor has encountered. ‘Robot of Sherwood’ saw him meet the real Friar Tuck, and King Hydroflax had Monk bodyguards in ‘The Husbands of River Song’.
While waiting for ‘The Lie of the Land’, after looking at religious figures last week it seems right to dedicate ourselves to a rundown of the Top 5 Doctor Who monks…
5. The Mad Monk from ‘The Bells of Saint John’
Okay, so this one is perhaps a bit of a cheat. The Doctor became known as ‘The Mad Monk’ when he retreated from the universe to contemplate the mystery of the woman twice dead – namely Clara (Oswin) Oswald. Hiding out in 13th century Cumbria, he took to skulking about in a cave wearing a cassock. It rather suited him…
4. The Monks of Det-sen Monastery from ‘The Abominable Snowman’
Visiting the Himalayas in the 1930s, the Second Doctor, Jamie and Victoria became embroiled in the fate of a Buddhist monastery as its spiritual leader, the Doctor’s old friend Padmasambhava, had been taken over by the Great Intelligence.
All but one part of the story is missing from the BBC archives, but we at least can revel in Yeti action as they maraud around the London Underground in its now mostly complete sequel, ‘The Web of Fear’.
3. The Kung Fu Monks from ‘Tooth and Claw’
This feisty band of brothers, led by Father Angelo, from the monastery in the Glen of St Catherine, were handy with their martial arts. They were also devoted to the worship of a Lupine Wavelength Haemovariform (that’s an alien werewolf to you and me) which crash-landed in the valley some three hundred years previously.
With a slightly bonkers scheme to infect Queen Victoria and take the throne, they were luckily seen off by the Doctor and Rose thanks to the foresight of Prince Albert and an ingenious use for the Koh-i-Noor diamond.
2. The Headless Monks from ‘A Good Man Goes to War’
The Doctor and his friends finally encountered the Headless Monks in earnest during the Battle of Demon’s Run. However, they were first mentioned in ‘Time of the Angels’ as he perused the Delirium Archive, which was said to be their final resting place.
More properly known as the Order of the Headless, this 52nd century sect allied themselves with the Church of the Silence to participate in the abduction of Amy Pond. That was all part of a plot to get hold of her daughter Melody and turn her into a weapon against the Doctor.
Their belief in following their hearts rather than their heads, and actually being beheaded to reflect that, meant the Headless Monks were fundamentalist in their faith. Despite their lack of mouths, there were still able to chant and create an impressive attack prayer before battle, though.
1. The Monk from ‘The Time Meddler’ & ‘The Daleks’ Master Plan’
The Monk in question, a time meddler from Gallifrey, is of course not really a Monk at all – he just chose to adopt the guise of a religious brother as he was holed up in a monastery, busy plotting to alter history by changing the outcome of the Battle of Hastings.
The first of the Doctor’s own people encountered in the show, years before the term Time Lord was coined, the Monk had his own TARDIS – a newer model with the console on a raised dais – and an uncanny ability to bedevil the Doctor. Gloriously brought to life by Carry On star Peter Butterworth, he is usually out for himself and loves to get one over on the Doctor.
Revived on audio by Big Finish, the renegade Time Lord has gone on to be played by both Grahame Garden, and more recently Rufus Hound.