The Myth Makers

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020 – The Myth Makers
Doctor Who serial
Myth Makers.jpg
King Priam and Cressida (Vicki)
Cast
Others
Production
Writer Donald Cotton
Director Michael Leeston-Smith
Script editor Donald Tosh
Producer John Wiles
Executive producer(s) None
Incidental music composer Humphrey Searle
Production code U
Series Season 3
Length 4 episodes, 25 minutes each
Episode(s) missing All episodes
Date started 16 October 1965
Date ended 6 November 1965
Chronology
← Preceded by Followed by →
"Mission to the Unknown" The Daleks' Master Plan

The Myth Makers is the completely missing second serial of the third season in the British science fiction television series Doctor Who, which was first broadcast in four weekly parts from 16 October to 6 November 1965. The story is set in Homeric Troy, based on Iliad by Homer. This serial sees the last appearance of Maureen O'Brien as Vicki and the introduction of Adrienne Hill as the Doctor's newest companion, Katarina. Although audio recordings and clips of the story exist, no episodes of this serial are known to have survived.

Plot[edit]

The Greek army has besieged the ancient walled city of Troy for 10 years. On the plains just outside Troy the Greek warrior Achilles slays the Trojan Hector, another son of King Priam, when the materialisation of the TARDIS disturbs Hector's concentration. When the Doctor emerges from within the TARDIS, Achilles believes him to be the god Zeus disguised as an old beggar, and insists he accompany him to the Greek encampment. En route they encounter the warrior Odysseus who travels with them to the Greek camp. When they arrive, Agamemnon insists the Doctor help him against the Trojans, and will not let him depart until his aid is forthcoming. Odysseus believes the Doctor is a Trojan spy.

The Doctor's companions Vicki and Steven have watched him being led away. Vicki still has an injured ankle from a previous adventure in Galaxy 4, so Steven ventures out alone to try and help the Doctor. He is spotted heading for the Trojan camp by Cyclops, a servant of Odysseus, who reports this to his master. Odysseus soon catches Steven and takes him to the Greek camp as well. The Doctor eventually persuades the Greeks to spare Steven until the next morning when he will strike down "the spy" with a heavenly thunderbolt. Moments later Cyclops returns to the Greek camp, and through sign language communicates that Zeus' temple (the TARDIS) has disappeared from the plains of Troy.

The next morning, the Doctor confesses that he and Steven are indeed friends and not gods in disguise. Odysseus threatens to kill them unless they help the Greeks destroy the Trojans. Steven suggests to the Doctor that they use the Trojan Horse of myth, but the Doctor is reluctant to do so.

The TARDIS has been taken within the walled city of Troy as a prize and is presented to King Priam by his son Paris. The blue police box is denounced by Priam's daughter, the prophetess Cassandra, as dangerous – she has dreamt that the Greeks will leave a gift on the plain which will contain soldiers to attack the Trojans. She demands that the TARDIS be burnt and a pyre is constructed around it, but before it can be set alight, Vicki emerges from within the TARDIS and this is taken as a sign from the gods. The King and Paris are enchanted by her, dressed as she is in a wonderful gown, and the King renames her Cressida and makes her a favourite at court. This enrages Cassandra, who believes Vicki to be a rival prophet.

Priam sends Paris out on to the plains once more to avenge Hector. Paris calls for his rival Achilles to present himself, and Steven manages to persuade the Greeks to send him in Greek armour instead, hoping he can get himself injured and then taken prisoner to Troy to search for Vicki. Adopting the name Diomede, Steven engages Paris in battle and his ruse works. When he arrives, Vicki greets him with his real name and this is taken by Cassandra as a sign they are both spies. Steven and Vicki are taken to cells. Priam's son, Troilus, who has formed a romantic attachment to "Cressida", visits Vicki. She seems successful in persuading him to try to get them released.

The Doctor proposes the use of a wooden horse to Odysseus. The construct will be left on the plains outside Troy and filled with Greeks, who hope the horse will be taken within the city. Agamemnon approves the plan, but it is also decided the Doctor will be among those inside the horse. When day breaks, it is spotted by the Trojans and dragged inside their city. The Trojans respond to the seeming disappearance of the Greek army by rejoicing, and Priam has Vicki released in thanks for her supposed good work. Steven, however, is kept in prison due to Troilus' jealousy.

In the revelry Vicki slips away and rescues Steven from the dungeons. They head for the square where a crowd has assembled to greet the giant wooden horse. Cassandra's handmaiden, Katarina, arrives in the square to find Vicki for her mistress. This prompts Vicki to leave Steven in hiding place while she heads off to the palace where she meets Troilus and tries to persuade him to leave the city by telling him Diomede, his rival, is on the plain. He is persuaded to venture outside.

Under the cover of darkness the Greek navy returns to the Trojan coast while the Doctor, Odysseus and the Greek soldiers exit the horse. The city is soon besieged and the populace butchered by the Greeks. Out on the plain Troilus finds Achilles and, staggered that the Greek army is back again, engages Achilles and slays him, though he is wounded in the process.

The Doctor finds Vicki in the carnage and they hide in the TARDIS while Katarina, who has been trailing Vicki, obliges the Doctor by searching for Steven. She finds him in battle with a Trojan soldier and he is badly wounded, but she helps him return to the Doctor's "blue temple". Odysseus arrives and the Doctor takes the opportunity to dematerialise the TARDIS with Steven and Katarina on board. Vicki, however, has slipped away with his blessing. She journeys on to the plains where she finds Troilus and they declare their love. Moments later Troilus' cousin Aeneas arrives with reinforcements and helps them escape the area.

Aboard the TARDIS, the Doctor is very concerned that Steven's wound is now infected and is getting worse. Katarina believes they have already died and are now en route to the afterlife. The Doctor knows they need to secure the right medication to save Steven and hopes their next landing will provide it.

Production[edit]

Serial details by episode
Episode Broadcast date Run time Viewers
(in millions)
Archive
"Temple of Secrets" 16 October 1965 (1965-10-16) 24:45 8.3 Only stills and/or fragments exist
"Small Prophet, Quick Return" 23 October 1965 (1965-10-23) 24:43 8.1 Only stills and/or fragments exist
"Death of a Spy" 30 October 1965 (1965-10-30) 25:39 8.7 Only stills and/or fragments exist
"Horse of Destruction" 6 November 1965 (1965-11-06) 24:25 8.3 Only stills and/or fragments exist
[1][2][3]

This was the first story produced by new series producer John Wiles, replacing the original producer, Verity Lambert, in the role. Originally, the titles of all the episodes were intended by Dennis Spooner to be puns (as was that of Episode 2), including: "Zeus Ex Machina" and "Is There A Doctor In The Horse?". These titles were vetoed by the BBC, but the title of Episode 2 was allowed to remain only at script editor Donald Tosh's insistence. A number of chapters in the novelisation have titles based around these puns.[4]

Donald Cotton pulled material for his scripts from his extensive knowledge of classical and medieval literature, including the epics of Homer, the plays of Aeschylus and Euripides, Virgil's Aeneid, and Geoffrey Chaucer's Troilus and Criseyde.

William Hartnell suffered a bereavement while working on the story: the death of his Aunt Bessie, who had looked after him during his troubled childhood. Unfortunately, the tight recording schedules prevented Hartnell from taking time off to attend her funeral.

Cast notes[edit]

Barrie Ingham also played Alydon in the film Dr. Who and the Daleks.[5] Francis de Wolff had previously played Vasor in The Keys of Marinus. Tutte Lemkow had previously played Kuiju in Marco Polo and Ibrahim in The Crusade. Ivor Salter had previously played the Morok Commander in The Space Museum and would appear again as Sergeant Markham in Black Orchid.

Commercial releases[edit]

In print[edit]

Doctor Who book
Book cover
The Myth Makers
Series Target novelisations
Release number 97
Writer Donald Cotton
Publisher Target Books
Cover artist Andrew Skilleter
ISBN 0-426-20170-1
Release date 12 September 1985

A novelisation of this serial, written by Donald Cotton, was published by Target Books in April 1985. There are significant differences between the novel and the televised story; the novel is narrated by Homer, who also plays the part of the mute servant Cyclops from the episode. The cliffhanger ending of Steven being wounded is also gone. An unabridged reading of the novelisation by actor Stephen Thorne was released on CD in April 2008 by BBC Audiobooks.[6]

Home media[edit]

The soundtracks to these episodes exist and have been released on CD with linking narration provided by Peter Purves. The only extant clips – eleven short 8mm film recordings made by fans off-air – were made available on the Lost in Time DVD boxset release. A full reconstruction has been created with the film recordings, production stills and the complete soundtrack.

In the 1980s, Reeltime Pictures launched a series of home video releases featuring interviews with the cast and crew of Doctor Who. This long-running series of tapes (which later included the first independently-produced Doctor Who spin-offs) was entitled Myth Makers after this story.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Shaun Lyon et al. (31 March 2007). "The Myth Makers". Outpost Gallifrey. Archived from the original on 31 March 2008. Retrieved 30 August 2008. 
  2. ^ "The Myth Makers". Doctor Who Reference Guide. Retrieved 30 August 2008. 
  3. ^ Sullivan, Shannon (18 May 2008). "The Myth Makers". A Brief History of Time Travel. Retrieved 30 August 2008. 
  4. ^ Cotton, Donald (1985). The Myth Makers. London: Target Books. ISBN 978-0426201700. 
  5. ^ "The Fourth Dimension: The Myth Makers". BBC. Retrieved 22 November 2012. 
  6. ^ "Doctor Who: The Myth Makers (Classic Novel)". AudioGo. Retrieved 20 October 2013. 

External links[edit]

Reviews[edit]

Target novelisation[edit]

Audio Adaptation[edit]