The troupe arrives in Troy, where there’s no Helen, Vicki falls in love, and the Doc leaves but one Trojan left alive.
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The Doctor, Vicki and Steven materialise just outside of Troy, and then get Hector killed, and themselves split up and captured.
The siege of Troy has raged on for 10 long years, and when Doc is suddenly mistaken for the God Zeus, the Greeks want him to win the war for them. Meanwhile, Vicki is stuck in the city and the Trojans want her to win the war for them. And Steven, oh, let’s not even go there…
A few more tidbits about this Doctor Who serial:
This marvellous four-episode epic, sadly, is almost entirely lost. All we have left is the audio (well recon’d by Loose Cannon Productions, as always), a couple of grainy 8mm clips and some stills here and there. What a shame.
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Before I begin with my review of the Myth Makers: Something I’d implied with my Galaxy Four review but realized I hadn’t made explicit: I’m experiencing the lost episodes purely through the audio books. So I’m working purely off audio rather than the recons Who Back When has been using.
As for the serial itself: This is the one with the Trojan War where we never actually meet Helen of Troy.
One of the first things that struck me about “The Myth Makers” is how it almost seems like the Greek characters would rather be doing Shakespeare than Doctor Who. For instance the interaction between Achilles and Hector at the serial’s start would not be out of place on a theater stage. The Doctor even accuses them of “flynning” and doing more talking than fighting. This felt out of place for me and not what I would expect out of characters in an ancient setting like the Trojan War. I haven’t watched many of the previous historicals like “The Romans” so maybe I’m just noticing something that’s actually common in those episodes.
The second thing that struck me was how the various mythological characters were portrayed. Achilles and Paris get no respect, Odysseus is a massive asshole, and is it any wonder no one wants to listen to anything Cassandra says when her default reaction to nearly everything is hysterics? One thing I liked in particular about the ancient characters’ portrayal is that, other than Achilles, no one immediately assumed or believed that the Troupe was divine. Everyone else is too cynical to entertain the idea more than half-seriously.
This serial felt padded in the third episode. Cyclops had no real purpose in the story other than to fail delivering a message. Steven had his pointless prison break. At least the Doctor’s constantly trying to change plans on Odysseus in the name of survival felt like he was deliberately stalling. Otherwise the third episode felt like it was trying to use up time so it would end on the cliffhanger of the Trojan Horse.
An otherwise light serial takes a dark turn once the Trojan Horse opens up and the Greeks proceed to rape, pillage, and burn Troy. In the chaos, Vicki gives the Doctor as much of a goodbye as she can before hurrying off to join the boy she fell in love with, leaving the Doctor with a wounded Steven and another hijacked companion in the form of Katarina.
I’ve said before I had no special dislike for Vicki. I felt her leaving with Troilus was a bittersweet ending. She’s stayed behind in an uncertain time but has done so in the name of love and there’s a sense of hope with her and Troilus.
Rating wise, I have to mark it down for the padding in episode 3 and, while hammy acting is hardly unknown in Doctor Who, I feel that in some of the scenes like the intro with Hector and Achilles it did more harm than good. Given how my review of Galaxy 4 was so much higher than anyone else’s, I feel I should probably rate this one higher than I did G4. So with that I’ll rate The Myth Makers an even 4.0.
The Myth Makers
The Doctor manages to invent the Trojan Horse and there are a lot of characters which had this been a year earlier would be running around attempting to rape Barabara… A companion leaves by falling in love with a bit part in the episode (a la Susan Foreman, Martha Jones, Leela, Jo Grant) and a new companion arrives to make sure that the TARDIS team isn’t all alpha males.
New Companion Katarina is a complete divergence for the show, and despite the moronic production crew thinking she could go nowhere, she is a breath of fresh air. Just wish she’d have had a BIT more build up.
It is not taking itself seriously, it’s very “Romans”-esque in it’s humour which is a good thing, which has been missing this season so far.
This is meant to be a historical – but the story of “Troilus and Cressida” is actually Chaucer, Boccaccio and Shakespeare’s interpretation of history – so actually this entire thing is not really “history” at all…
The “working titles” for two of the episodes would have been significantly better instead of “Temple of Secrets” it was originally planned to be “Zeus Ex Machina” and “Death of a Spy” was originally planned to be called “Is There a Doctor in the Horse”
The Pointless One
First of all after all my mocking of Vicki… this is my favourite one of her episodes.
Vicki was literally the second worst Black and White companion but the WAY she leaves in this episode makes me wonder if had she lasted one or two more episodes she would have been able to have a much more memorable exit in Daleks Master Plan.. How much more interesting would it have been that instead of bringing on Katarina that Vicki had lasted until episode 4 of the Daleks Master Plan… Spoilers….
On a side note – Maureen O’Brien while unhappy with Vicki recently, wanted to continue on the show and it was the producer who wrote her out when he saw how she nitpicked her dialogue (which to be fair makes me actually like her a lot more)
I’m going to be nice to this story – it’s probably the best Vicki episode (which to be fair is an incredibly low baseline), it would be nice to watch it on TV, the horse itself must have been incredible to see as a child on Saturday night on a small screen. 3.5/5
This is my new favorite historical episode for sure. I have always loved Greek History, especially the myths. Coincidentally, this serial is called the Myth Makers, and I knew it had high hopes before I even started watching it. It is such a shame that the episodes were all missing, I would love to see the fight scenes in action.
Anyways, the story begins with two soldiers fighting: Hector and Achilles. Achilles kills Hector as the Doctor steps out of his TARDIS. Achilles thinks that the Doctor is Zeus and is worshipping him and everything, until Odysseus shows up. Odysseus turns out to be a huge jerk, and he captures the Doctor without fear of divine punishment. However, at the Greek camp everyone agrees the Doctor is Zeus, except for Odysseus. Soon enough, the Doctor’s “temple” is captured. What does this mean? That’s right, the Davis Principle. Not to toot my own horn or anything. Anyways, the Doctor admits to not being Zeus (why?) and Odysseus forces the Doctor to create a way to destroy the Trojans in the war. Meanwhile, the king of Troy is telling Vicki how she has the greatest personality ever. Yeah, right. Steven shows up at Troy and ruins everything for Vicki and she is forced to make the Trojans win. The Doctor tries it invent flying machines, but switches to the Trojan horse so that he doe! sn’t have to test his idea out. The model of the horse looks amazing and really makes me wish we had more footage.
Finally, we have reached episode four, which has the greatest title in Doctor Who history: The Horse of Destruction. You’ll never guess what happens. The Greeks jump out of the horse and kill everybody. We also all get a new favorite character: Troilus. Vicki stays behind with him and we are rid of her forever. We also get a new companion: Katarina.
Let me reiterate, this episode is amazing. It would be even better if we actually saw the fight scenes. Also, it was a little slow in some areas. Overall, I would have to give this serial a 4.8.
Myth Makers mini-review.
Of all the missing serials of Doctor Who, this is the one that pains me the most to have been lost. I can live without Space Pirates and Galaxy Fours; there are others I wish would be found , the legendary episode 4 of the Tenth Planet and it’s resolution in The Power of the Daleks, alongside others such as The Massacre and the Daleks’ Master Plan; but The Myth Makers pains me as it’s the purest Hartnell story of his entire tenure on the show.
The historical as a format belongs to Hartnell. 9 (arguably, 10) of his serials are historicals. Compare this to Troughton and Davison, who have only one pure historical a-piece. No other Doctor has any pure historicals to their name. [Side-note: when I say ‘pure’ historical, I mean a serial/story that has no alien intervention at all.]
With this in mind, I can safely say that this is the best of the bunch. The Myth Makers outshines Marco Polo, The Romans, The Smugglers, it even trumps ‘The Aztecs’, just barely. There are many reasons I can safely say this, but the main one is this: The Doctor doesn’t have control. In this story, more than any other, he’s on the back foot. He dashes about Troy trying to gain any grasp over his situation, pretending to be a God when he is clearly so un-God-like here. Within the first episode he loses both Vicki and Steven, Steven himself is later captured and re-captured and The Doctor doesn’t effect these events in any way. The only ‘plan’ the Doctor has is to fall back on established history. To gain back control of the TARDIS he must suggest the idea of the Trojan Horse. Obviously here we enter a paradox where The Doctor’s idea to ape history is what creates iconic history in the first place, but let’s leave that dicussion to the Mofffat-era reviews! But here the Doctor g! oes against his own words from ‘The Aztecs’: “You can’t rewrite history! Not one line!”, he does away with his God-like understanding of the correctness of history and time becoming a cog in the machine, a part of history as he is forced to board the horse by Agamemnon, entering Troy with no further plan beyond finding the TARDIS. So in the chaos of war (which would be thrilling to see footage of) The Doctor stumbles upon his companions, who’ve made their own way with no help from him, and eventually escape. Hartnell plays the Doctor as close as he can to his usual self, aloof, irritable, and more than anything, in control. But in the face of prophecies and generals, he is powerless.
Vicki is responsible for departing from the TARDIS, her lover Trolius is a man who does have control, killing Achilles and securing the safety of Vicki. The Doctor as a father-figure has failed her, and now the man in her life has changed. So to does she change into a Trojan woman, with barely a farewell to the adventuring in the TARDIS, as she moves on to bigger, brighter things. Katerina becomes companion only due to her caring of Steven, carelessly ending up on the TARDIS and whisked away to (short-lived) adventure.
There’s so much in this story to love. I’ve barely covered any intricate detail of the side-characters, the setting, the actual plotting of the story, or how serious it all is, lacking any of the comedy of ‘The Romans’.
This story works so very well as a pre-cursor to the Daleks’ Master Plan, the death and destruction of that serial ties into the loss and pessimism felt here.
The Myth Makers, to me, is undoubtedly the best historical, alongside one of the very best First Doctor stories, and I can safely say, one of the best stories of Doctor Who. It’s a tragedy we can’t watch this serial in all it’s glory, but even without visuals (I listened to the audiobook version for reference) I can safely give the Myth Makers a 4.8.
Doctor Who Classic Series Review – Season 3 Episode 3 “The Myth Makers”
This review is not up to my usual thoroughbred brilliance, but it’s still kind of a bitchin’ ride. Strap in. You may be a bit too late to say “whoa” to this horse.
The Battle of Troy, lamented in song and story, is played out like a soggy tortilla in the sun, as Law & Order DSV fumble, conspire and generally piss all over themselves into the annals of history.
After a short vacation off-screen, The TARDIS finds itself on the sandy Plains of Asia, just in time for some sweaty, homoerotic posturing complete with swords and sandals, courtesy of Achilles and Hector.
The Doctor gets all Zeusy-Goosey with altar boy Achilles, but is eventually dominated by Big “O” Odysseus. Steven goes boy-watching in the tall grass, and Vicki joins the Psychic Hotline Alliance after the Trojans steal the TARDIS. Long story short, after much smarmy elocution by all parties, the following series of events occur:
The Doctor would escape, if he could.
Troy gets a wooden pony,
Troilus gets wood for Vicki,
Steven is wooden for most of the time.
Hector was played by Alan Haywood.
The TARDIS is a space/time box, made of wood, that can be hand carried like the fucking mail, apparently.
The Doctor is forcibly woo’d by Odysseus into the role of accomplice to mass murder. No big.
Set Design courtesy of John Wood.
Reconstructions are painful to watch, but they can be mildly amusing when the dialogue is spewed forth with articulation akin to “Carry on Shakespeare in the Park”.
The Doctor yet again gets mistaken for a God. He also, reluctantly, invents the “Horse of Ace-eya”.
For her final outing, Vicki takes a central role. With all the purring seduction of a bus stop, She also somehow manages to wrap Troilus around her finger. Also, SPOILER ALERT: She’s 16. Yeah. Just fucking let that sink in, pervs. Finally, She departs the TARDIS for good. Thank fuck for that. In trade, we get Trojan handmaiden Katarina, who is not the sharpest marble.
Steven is still a simpering, annoying git, who sounds like a five yr old who didn’t get a lollipop for being a good boy. After all, he is no Ian Fucking Chesterton. He isn’t even good enough to be Ian Fucking Chestertons’ chest hair. Dude needs to take an arrow to the knee.
Here’s a “CRESSIDAAAAAAAAA!!!” for you, in case you forgot that chewy morsel of “look at me, I’m ACTING!” dialogue.
The humour and over the top dialogue were ok, while the interplay between Hartnell and Ivor Salter’s Odysseus was somewhat interesting. As for the comedy/historical genre of Doctor Who, this one is a late finisher. Thanks to not enough surviving footage, too much Vicki-centric plot, not nearly enough Ian and Barbara, and punny writing I should only realistically give it a 1.5. But Vicki is gone, so fuck it, I’ll splurge and give it a 1.7.
The Myth makers
It is sad that visually all we had were a few pictures and a few grainy 8mm clips. So I mostly based my review as if it were a radio play.
After initially been mistaken for Zeus, the Doctor agrees to use his scientific knowledge to assist the Greeks in defeating the Trojans, or else Odysseus will kill him. After initially rejecting the horse idea as ridiculous, the Doctor finds himself short on alternatives and to save his own skin suggests it. Odysseus loves the idea and it ultimately becomes a war-winning maneuver. Meanwhile the TARDIS is taken into Troy by the cowardly Paris – son of the Trojan King Priam – with Vicki inside it. When Vicki emerges, she too admits to being a time traveler and promises to use her knowledge of history to try and help them. Priam’s daughter Cassandra doesn’t trust Vicki at all (and who would blame her), and claims that she is a witch who will bring death and destruction to all of Troy. She also accurately predicts the Horse, but nobody believes her..
The story ends with Vicki’s exit being an exact replica of Susan’s exit: for love. Vicki decides to ditch the Doctor to stay with her new Trojan boyfriend that she has just met. At least Susan got a proper goodbye from the Doc. Vicki apparently does her goodbyes off camera. I have to admit that Vapor Rub did manage to slightly improve by the end of her run, mostly with her witty repartee with Steven.
The standout for me was Cassandra who was chewing up the scenery throughout the story and proving she thoroughly enjoyed her role. Everyone else in the cast was either overly melodramatic or cookie cutter characters. I was fairly bored throughout the story with only one or two genuine chuckles.
The actor playing Trolius, a teenager, looked almost 40..
Once again the Doctor preaches about not interfering in events, yet he directly interfered in this story. Why? Because his life was in danger. So he’s happy to interfere when it suits him. Which means that he is directly responsible for the losses of countless lives. (Having Flashbacks of early 1st Doc)
I actually grew a weird soft spot for the Cyclops and was actually sad when he died. (Even though in the poem he dies by Odysseus hand).
Apparently, Vicki was written out of the show because she was unsatisfied with her role. She was supposed to leave in The Daleks Masterplan. Which to me says that she was such a bad actress that even the Doctor Who writers were ready for her to leave as much as we were.
Lastly, if they had called episode 3 ‘Is There a Doctor in the Horse’ as originally planned, it would have been the best named Doctor Who episode ever. At least in my opinion.
In the end, I rate this a 2.8 because The Myth Makers isn’t quite as strong as the early historicals. I did give it a few extra points for never having to see Vicki again. Although I will miss JD’s Vicki irritating index.
Just found out that Tutte Lemkow who played Cyclops in ‘The Myth Makers’ ALSO played Kuiju in ‘Marco Polo’. So no wonder I made that connection on the podcast! Just a theory, but perhaps, in the absence of existing MM footage, Loose Cannon used stills from MP. That certainly would explain the resemblance… Anyway: Mind = Blown
This one didn’t stand out the first time I watched it, but this time I quite enjoyed it. The better quality recon I now have made a big difference. Vicki’s character here in many ways made me want to see more. This is what she should have been all along. The relationship build in this story was a slow draw that made a lot of sense and worked well. The Dr being forced to design for most of the series was interesting, but ultimately wasted. I would have liked to see more conflict and discussion come out of him being coerced into effecting the timeline. Steven plays a great and stable character here. It’s funny as I find I have little to say about him in most eps, but that’s mainly because he’s so consistently good. He’s never written a brilliant part, but he’s never less than average either. I wish there were more personality development for him throughout. Nevertheless, this is one of the better written series for Steven and Peter Purves takes it with both hands and runs.
The supporting cast was good as well. One interesting note is that although in the recon I only see still images, and read text, and he is a mute character, but I found myself genuinely upset when Cyclops dies. How can a character emote when you don’t see or hear him?
There are many good lines here for all to be had, and the fight scenes (especially the opening) drive a ton of action. I also enjoyed the interaction with Odysseus, Agamemnon and, well, anyone and everyone else. Finally I was worried that the horse would end up being some blah crap made by a child and looking like an obvious miniature, but I was actually very pleased with the presentation.
Retrospective improvement suggestions: More intrigue and/or subversiveness across the board. Less scenes with “you better come up with something or I’ll….”. Play up the inter-personal conflicts as well. Most missed footage is unquestioningly the opening fight scene.
This story is not perfect, but it was constantly entertaining with enjoyable characters (which is more than I can say of the Brad Pitt version). 3.8
The TARDIS materialises outside the ancient city of Troy, under siege by a Greek army. The Doctor is mistaken for Zeus, though, much to his chagrin, this divine comparison comes with the caveat that he is appearing ‘in the guise of a beggar’. Meanwhile Steven is enlisted in the Greek army and Vicki is captured by the Trojans, along with the TARDIS. Hilarity ensues.
King Priam likes Vicki, but not half as much as his amorous sons Paris and Troilus. However she makes an enemy of the local priestess, Cassandra, and ends up being imprisoned as a spy. Back outside the walls, the Doctor is being forced to come up with some means of capturing the city. Eventually, he is forced back on the only idea he can think of – the mythical Trojan Horse.
This is quite a unique story in the Dr Who canon. It builds on the sense of humour established in The Romans and The Chase and then pushes it to extremes, leaving us with a story that could just as easily be entitled “Carry on Troy”. In a parody of Homer and of Shakespeare’s “Troilus and Cressida”, we have a range of legendary heroes – Achilles, Odysseus, Agamemnon, Priam, Hector, Paris, Menelaus – who all act in the most bourgeois, foppish fashion imaginable. And I love it! It’s not ‘pure Dr. Who’, but isn’t the whole magic of Dr Who that it can be anything it wants to be? (I’m still waiting for the musical episode!)
This parody style keeps the story from sinking under the weight of the events it is trying to portray. Cassandra continually shrieks about the impending doom and gloom; Paris wants a sandwich; Menelaus wishes he could just go home and forget about the over-rated Helen; Achilles is derided as a layabout, and Odysseus comes across as a thug. The characterisation is brilliant.
Sadly, as a completely missing story, The Myth Makers can not be enjoyed as much as it deserves. The sound quality on the reconstruction I watched was poor quality and some of the dialogue was sadly lost. Also, more generally, the story has a slow start: the crew take ages to even leave the TARDIS, and Vicki is still hiding inside by the end of the first episode. And I’m disappointed we never see the famous Helen, the face whose beauty launched a thousand ships!
– “I challenge Zeus to descend to Earth and save Achilles” cries Hector. Immediately, the Doctor steps out of his TARDIS. Hector turns sound in shock and Achilles stabs him in the back.
– Menelaus and Agamemnon are introduced to us as bickering housewives. – “Why can’t you behave like a King, instead of a dropsy-ridden camp follower? Remember you’re my brother!” – “One of the reasons I drink, Agamemnon, is to forget that I’m your brother!”
– The TARDIS is proudly dragged into Troy by Paris, who claims it as the spoils of war. – “What in the world is that?” grumbles Priam. – “I captured it from the Greeks!” says Paris. – “Hah!” snorts Priam, “I expect they were glad to see the back of it!”
– Paris talks to Priam, worrying about the ethics of burning the TARDIS as a sacrifice. “Shouldn’t we check with the gods, first? They might not like it!” – “Yes, have a word with them, Cassandra!”
– Priam, referring to Cassandra: “I keep her around as a kind of insurance. Then, if things do go wrong, she can turn round and say ‘I told you so’ ”.
– Menelaus: – “Don’t you think we’ve carried this whole business just a little bit too far?”
– Trying to come up with ideas to conquer Troy, the Doctor recommends putting men in catapults. He quickly backtracks when Odysseus threatens that the first jump be made by Doctor himself.
– Agamemnon has great difficulty explaining the plan to Menelaus. He tells him they need to retreat a little, to make it look as though they have gone. Menelaus: – “Do we need to come back?”
I like how different this story is from the norm. It’s been suggested that it’s not actually a ‘historical’, in the usual meaning of the world, but that it takes place within some sort of fantasy world like the ‘Land of Fiction’, populated by larger-than-life caricatures. The comedy might not be to everybody’s taste, but it tickles my fancy. Vicky gets a good send off, running off into the sunset with her new boyfriend, and I’m not especially going to miss her!