‘THE MYTH MAKERS’
Please feel free to comment on my review.
The Trojan Horse and Vicki leaves the TARDIS
“I saw the Fall of Troy!” said the Ninth Doctor to Rose in ‘The Unquiet Dead’.
This is the story where the Doctor was actually there during the events of Troy and how he witnessed the massacre of the Trojans by the Greeks. This is the story where the Doctor actually gave the Greeks the idea for the Trojan Horse and that it became an infamous ‘horse of destruction’.
I enjoyed listening to ‘The Myth Makers’ on audio. It’s one of the classic stories from the William Hartnell era of ‘Doctor Who’ and it’s such a shame that none of the four episodes of this TV story exist. There’s only the audio soundtrack on this CD with its superb linking narration by Peter Purves. The ‘Myth Makers’ CD is now available as part of ‘The Lost TV Episodes: Collection One’ CD box set.
There are also a few pieces of surviving footage from the story that can found on the ‘Lost in Time’ DVD. This is a four-part story from the third season of ‘Doctor Who’. It was a story that saw a sea-change with the show’s direction, especially with the departure of one of the Doctor’s companions.
This is an historical adventure by Donald Cotton, who has a talent for writing historical stories in ‘Doctor Who’. It’s a story that’s sandwiched between ‘Mission to the Unknown’ and ‘The Daleks’ Master Plan’, where TV audiences had to wait for the ensuing 12-part Dalek epic following this tale.
‘The Myth Makers’ is a story written in the style of a high comedy-drama for the first three episodes and it definitely does feel ‘Carry On’ like ‘The Romans’ before this. But by the fourth episode, it becomes horrible as the actual Trojan Horse incident takes place and where everyone is massacred.
This is a pretty good historical drama on a particularly well-known historical legend of Troy. I wonder whether this story will ever be found and that we’ll be able to get to see what the four TV episodes actually look like. I also wonder whether we can enjoy the comedy as well as the horror that’s in this.
The story has the TARDIS arrive on the plains of Ancient Troy in the middle of a sword fight between Achilles and Hector of Troy. The Doctor steps out and is mistaken for Zeus. Forced to help the Greeks win their long war with Troy, the Doctor gives them a way to invade the city with devastating results.
Meanwhile, Vicki finds herself in the company of King Priam and his children inside the court of Troy. When Steven gets captured and is mistaken for a Greek warrior, Vicki has to find a way to free Steven. It could mean making a choice to stay in Troy with a man she loves or to travel in the TARDIS.
With regards to the historical legend of Troy, I know the story pretty well indeed. I ashamedly knew about this historical story after watching the movie ‘Troy’ with Brad Pitt in it. So I already knew about Helen of Troy, the war between the Spartans and the Trojans and the infamous Trojan Horse.
Surprisingly, Helen of Troy does not appear in this ‘Doctor Who’ story. I’m not sure what that was all about. I found this a very interesting interpretation and depiction of the Trojan legend. It was intriguing how the Doctor was involved and somehow responsible for causing that Trojan massacre.
The flavour of this story feels very light-hearted comedy which I enjoyed listening to on audio, although it feels more character drama comedy instead of jokey moments occurring throughout. Maybe if this story was found and we watched it as a TV story, we might see those funny moments.
I enjoyed William Hartnell as the Doctor in this story. He’s clearly into the comedy spirit of the story. It’s quite amusing to find he’s mistaken for Zeus. He’s convinced Achilles and Hector, but doesn’t convince Odysseus. The Doctor’s bluff is exposed when Steven comes to find him in the first episode.
The Doctor then comes up with a way for the Greeks to invade Troy. His idea for a wooden horse pleases the Greeks. Why the Doctor comes up with the Trojan horse is unusual and disturbing, since he’s somehow condemned the Trojans to death. It sounds so inhuman, but the Doctor isn’t human!
Vicki was a joy to listen to. I like Maureen O’Brien as Vicki. This happens to be her last story and it’s such a shame about the circumstances on how Maureen left the series. Vicki gets to have a story of her own in this. She’s told to stay put by Steven in the TARDIS, when he goes to look for the Doctor.
But Vicki puts on some Greek clothes and goes out of the TARDIS to meet King Priam and his children in the city of Troy. She’s welcomed by King Priam who renames her ‘Cressida’. I did like the romance between Vicki and King Priam’s youngest son Troilus. It was sweet and the reason why she leaves.
Peter Purves as Steven, who I’ve met at conventions, gets his fair share of the story too. I liked the scenes Steven shares with Vicki. Steven gets to pose as a Greek warrior to get into the Trojan city to find Vicki. But they both soon get thrown into the dungeons after they’re accused of being Greek spies.
Steven gets ignored and fed scrapes by the Greeks whilst he’s in the dungeon. He eventually gets freed by Vicki from his cell and discovers how much Troilus means to her, before he finds himself in a battle with the Greeks and getting injured. This doesn’t get shown in the story, which is annoying.
The guest cast include figures from the Trojan legend such as Achilles; Hector; Paris; King Priam; Agamemnon and Odysseus. I remember some of these from the ‘Troy’ movie. I was disappointed that there wasn’t a Helen of Troy to reinforce why the Trojans and Greeks were fighting each other.
Some of the characters were different to how I expected them to be after watching the ‘Troy’ movie. But I did like some of the cast names in this story, which included Max Adrian as King Priam, Barrie Ingham as Paris, Francis de Wolff as Agamemnon, Ivor Salter as Odysseus and James Lynn as Troilus.
As I said before, ‘The Myth Makers’ features the shock departure of Vicki. Maureen O’Brien was equally shocked when she found out that she had been written out of the series without her consent. The producer John Wiles and script editor Donald Tosh assumed Maureen wanted to leave.
That in itself is true, since Maureen had no intention of staying in the series for a long length of time. Unfortunately the circumstances of her departure were badly handled, as Maureen wasn’t told she was leaving until the last minute and she was furious. I’m sure I know how Maureen would feel.
I think it’s a real shame about Maureen O’Brien’s exit from ‘Doctor Who’, since she’s a lovely actress and Vicki is a lovely character from the TV series. But saying this, I did find Vicki’s departure rather sweet, as she stays behind to be with her lover Troilus. Although it’s fair her departure was sudden.
There was no goodbye between Vicki and the Doctor, as it was rather quick in the ensuing chaos of Troy’s destruction. It also seems strange and out of character for Vicki to fall in love so quickly, since it is only through this four-episode story in the short space of time that Vicki falls in love with Troilus.
But back to the point! Vicki’s decision to stay with Troilus reinforces a historical fact. Vicki was given the name Cressida. Cressida in Greek myths and legends is a person who falls in love with Troilus. So Vicki ends from being a 25th century character to an historical character through the Greek myths.
This story also introduces a new companion in the form of Adrienne Hill as Katarina. Katarina is a hand maiden in the court of King Priam and appears only in the fourth episode. It seems like a brief introduction to Katarina in ‘The Myth Makers’, as we barely get to know her as a character from this.
Katarina is ordered by Cassandra to watch over Vicki when the Trojan Horse is brought into the city. But when the massacre occurs, Vicki ends up leaving and Katarina joins the Doctor and Steven in the TARDIS. She helps the Doctor to carry an injured Steven into the TARDIS when they’re escaping Troy.
The last scene of ‘The Myth Makers’ has the Doctor tending to Steven’s wounds with Katarina, before he sets the TARDIS off to find some help. This scene acted as a prologue for ‘The Daleks’ Master Plan’ CD. It was really interesting to hear this scene as the ending instead of as the beginning.
‘The Myth Makers’ has been a thoroughly enjoyable listening experience of a lost TV story. It was an interesting interpretation of the Trojan legend in ‘Doctor Who’ terms with a comedy flavour. It’s also a lovely story to feature Vicki, even though her departure was so shockingly abrupt and unexpected.
‘The Myth Makers’ rating – 9/10
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