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The Lie of the Land

They’re never cruel or cowardly. They never give up and never give in. They’re the Monks – and they’ve been here since before you were born…

WARNING: Spoilers!

And who are you, reading this and choosing to retweet it? Are you real? Would you even know if you weren’t? Are you a program created to think like a person? Am I? Is this how it is now? Forever? Fake news all the way down.’ – Stewart Lee (The Guardian), 30 April 2017

Here at DWM, we love the Monks. And so do you. “Praise be to the Monks,” you cheer every time you see their sexy, corpse-like faces and big, strong hands. Sure, they’re battling the Doctor right now – and winning, last time we checked – but the Monks are great people. Believe me. Tremendous people. And they’ve been around for as long as you or I can remember. No word of a lie.

“Sometimes,” says Toby Whithouse, who wrote The Lie of the Land, “creating the monster is a fantastic opportunity and really exciting. Other times it can be quite daunting, because it is such a completely blank slate – so it didn’t bother me that this time the monster was already there. It saved me a bit of time. It meant that I could concentrate on the story. And the Monks are great.”

They are great. Great and good. In point of fact, the Monks have always been here – shepherding us, defending us, wheedling their way into our art and culture. Heroes for a whole generation. For every generation. Of course, they first appeared in Doctor Who in 1964 six-parter The Keys of Marinus, where they successfully defended Ian Chesterton during his murder trial. Since then, among their other resounding victories, the clever old Monks sabotaged Professor Whitaker’s Time Scoop, won it for Lord Cranleigh (“Perfectly ripping performance, that Monk! Much better player than Smutty”), rescued Jackie Tyler from a Slickeen attack (“Pickled eggs!”), and pushed the Half-Faced Man out of a hot air balloon. He had it coming. The Monks knew that. The Monks know everything. Hand me a ballot paper and let me vote Monk!

The magnificent Monks’ latest madcap adventure kicked off two weeks ago in Episode 6, Extremis, written by Doctor Who showrunner –and real-life Monk – Steven Moffat (he’s been shaping our destiny forever, and he likes to mess about with established history). The story continued in Episode 7, The Pyramid at the End of the World, scripted by Peter Harness and Steven, which saw the almighty Monks take control of planet Earth, thanks in part to a sleepy scientist, an experimental crop-dusting chemical, and a misplaced decimal point. We know what you’re thinking: how lucky Earth is to have an ally as powerful and tender as the Monks, that asks nothing in return for their benevolence but obedience. Yeah, us too.

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About Doctor Who Magazine

Contents include: • Exclusive previews of the next four episodes of the 2017 series of Doctor Who – The Lie of the Land, Empress of Mars, The Eaters of Light, and World Enough and Time. Plus, interviews writers Steven Moffat, Mark Gatiss, Toby Whithouse and Rona Munro. • Showrunner Steven Moffat answers reader's questions. • A look into how one of the original Ice Warrior helmets from the1960s has survived to the present day. • An in-depth interview with Jamie Mathieson, who reveals the secrets behind the writing of episode 5, Oxygen. • Part Two of the new comic strip adventure featuring the Doctor and Bill: The Soul Garden, by Scott Gray, with art by Martin Geraghty. • Reviews of the latest episodes, Knock Knock, Oxygen, Extremis and The Pyramid at the End of the World. • The Fact of Fiction delves into the 1967 story The Macra Terror. • Previews, book and audio reviews, news, the Watcher's column, prize-winning competitions and much, much more!