The Myth Makers – 1965 – S3 – E3/10

image Number : Season 3, episode 3 of 9.

Which One : Trojan War.

Cast : The Doctor : William Hartnell
Vicki : Maureen O’ Brien
Steven Taylor : Peter Purves
King Priam : Max Adrian
Achillies : Cavan Kendall
Hector : Alan Haywood
Paris : Barrie Ingham
Cassandra : Frances White
Troilus : James Lynn
Agamemnon : Francis de Wolff
Menelaus : Jack Melford
Cyclops : Tutte Lemkow
Odysseus : Ivor Salter
Messenger : Jon Luxton
Katarina : Aidrienne Hill

Written By : Donald Cotton

Produced By :

First UK Broadcast : 16 October – 6 November 1965.

Length : 4 x 25 minute parts.

Parts :
1) “Temple Of Secrets”
2) “Small prophet, quick return”
3) “Death Of A Spy”
4) “Horse Of Destruction”

Plot : The Tardis materialises, in the middle of the Greek siege of Troy; where the Doctor is mistaken for the Greek god Zeus.

Whats good : Who take on Greek/Troy siege. Humourous. Doctor tongue-in-cheek [majorly] influences Earth history. Strong performances from the supporting cast. Companion changeover.

Whats bad : Another Beeb wiped episode. The Doctor was responsible for the sacking of Troy?

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Review With Spoilers : The Myth Makers is the 3rd episode of season 3 and marks the departure of companion Vicki and the (brief) joining of new companion; Katarina.

The Tardis materialises just outside the city of Troy, during the Greek siege. Nearby Achillies and Hector are doing battle and Hector is killed, having been distracted by the Tardis’ appearance.

The Doctor steps out and is mistaken for the Greek god Zeus and is taken to the Greek camp, for an audience with Odysseus and King Agamemnon.

Meanwhile, the Tardis is captured by a Trojan patrol and taken into the City Of Troy; where Vicki is accused of being a Greek Spy. Steven; in the disguise of a Greek prisoner-of-war, attempts to rescue her.

The Myth Makers is another lavish Who period drama. This time, recounting events from the siege of Troy – by Greek invaders.

As period Who’s so often do, this tale recounts the Doctor’s (sometimes accidental) meddling in events of history. Including, coming up with the idea for the wooden horse, to bargain his life.

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“Have you ever thought of a… a horse, hmm? It should be a huge horse, about forty feet high.
We build it hollow, and we fill it with soldiers, and leave it on the sandy plain for the Trojans to capture it. Hmm?” Doctor
“And… and it’s just possible that the Trojans will come out and take the horse back into the city!” Odysseus

So, with the Doctor being personally responsible for damning the Trojans. You might think that such a charge, might sit uncomfortably on the Doctor’s shoulders/conscience.

After all, it was only 3 episodes ago that the Doctor lectured the Meddling Monk in The Time Meddler about changing the course of Earth history by obliterating a viking fleet. Here is the Doctor, himself – undertaking the same actions by breaking the siege; in favour of the Greeks.

The Doctor’s actions leaves a bad taste in the mouth, especially as they are to placate his Greek captors. Shouldn’t the Doctor have just escaped after giving them the flying plane ruse?

It is also at odds with the previous establishment – that the Doctor is entirely against the principle of meddling in the history – especially when it needlessly puts lives at risk. At least not, when it results in the genocide of an entire race.

Aside from this heavy aspect, though – The Myth Makers is actually well played in a tongue-in-cheek regard. It has some good performances and alot of (sometimes black) humour present in it.

From Trojan Hector’s untimely demise, at the hands of Achilles – on the battlefield,); having been distracted by the arriving Tardis. To Barry Ingham’s humourously dithering take – on Prince Paris. Especially when Steven persuades him to take him prisoner, so that he recount how brave Paris was.

Odysseus is well played as a ruthless pirate and plunderer. His line, that he will make the Doctor volunteer first to undertake the Doctor’s (buying time) suggestion of catapulting Greek troops over the Trojan city wall – is not lost.

The Myth Makers also marks a companion change-over with the departure of Vicki, who falls in love with a Trojan prince – named Trollius. Replacing her briefly, is Trojan slave girl; Katarina – who helps the injured Steven escape to the Tardis.

The Myth Makers is another lost BBC episode, due to the 60s and 70s money-saving practice of wiping and reusing the Master tapes.

Although the The Myth Makers contains some pretty heavy ramifications on the Doctor, for his actions. On the whole, it is played with humour and it’s tongue-in-cheek take on the Trojan siege; make this one of the better Who period dramas.

🔵🔵🔵🔘⚪ (3.5/5)

Old Doctor Who