Number : Season 3, Serial 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 episodes.
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 : Historical Who take on the 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 helping the greeks sack Troy to save himself? Time-Meddler?
Review With Spoilers : The Myth Makers is the third serial 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. Which is kind of black comedy.
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 (usually accidental) meddling in events of Earth history. Including, the distraction of Hector (whilst fighting Achilles) which results in Hector’s death. Or the less forgivable notion, that the Doctor is the one to come-up with the idea for the wooden horse, to bargain for his life. Which results in the rather heavy notion that the Doctor is responsible for the deaths of Trojans.
“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 three serials ago – that the Doctor was lecturing the Meddling Monk in The Time Meddler about changing the course of Earth history, for personal gain. Here is the Doctor; undertaking the same actions – by breaking the siege; in favour of the Greeks (Star Trek Prime Directive anyone?).
The Doctor’s action does leave a bad taste in the mouth, especially – as they are to placate his Greek captors – and win favour with them.
It is also at odds, with the previous establishment – that the Doctor is entirely against the principle of meddling in history – especially when it needlessly puts lives at risk. At least not, when it results in the genocide of an entire race (Trojans).
Perhaps this could have been better covered if Odysseus had gained forcible entry to the Tardis and then used the ‘bigger on the inside’ idea – as inspiration to come up with the Trojan horse. The idea of the Doctor causing deaths, is slightly more palatable – if they were accidental.
Aside from this heavy aspect, though – The Myth Makers is actually well played – in a tongue-in-cheek regard. As was a staple of the better Who period dramas. 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 can 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 money-saving practice of wiping and reusing the Master tapes; which judging by how good it was – is utterpy criminal.
Although the The Myth Makers contains some pretty heavy ramifications on the Doctor (and his behaviour). On the whole, it is played with humour and it’s tongue-in-cheek take on the Trojan siege; makes this one of the better Who period dramas.
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