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The Myth Makers (TV story)

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The Myth Makers
Mythmakers title
Novelised as: The Myth Makers
Doctor: First Doctor
Companion(s): Vicki, Steven, Katarina
Main enemy: Cassandra
Main setting: Troy, circa 1200 BC
Key crew
Writer: Donald Cotton
Director: Michael Leeston-Smith
Producer: John Wiles
Release details
Story number: 20
Number of episodes: 4
Season/series: Season 3
Premiere broadcast: 16 October - 6 November 1965
Premiere network: BBC1
Format: 4x25-minute episodes
Production code: U
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You may wish to consult Myth Makers (disambiguation) for other, similarly-named pages.

The Myth Makers was the third story of Season 3 of Doctor Who. This story saw the last appearance of Maureen O'Brien as companion Vicki and the introduction of new companion Katarina, played by Adrienne Hill.

Synopsis

When the TARDIS arrives on the plains of Asia Minor not far from the besieged city of Troy, the Doctor is hailed by Achilles as the mighty god Zeus and taken to the Greek camp. He meets Agamemnon and Odysseus. Forced to admit he is a mere mortal — albeit a traveller in space and time — he is given two days to devise a scheme to capture Troy.

Steven and Vicki, meanwhile, have been taken prisoner by the Trojans. Vicki, believed to possess supernatural powers, is given two days to banish the Greeks to prove she is not a spy.

Plot

Temple of Secrets (1)

Outside Troy, two warriors, who reveal themselves to be Achilles and Hector, are engaged in a long fight. The warriors are so engaged in their battle that they fail to notice the TARDIS materialise behind them. For a protracted length of time the Doctor and his companions observe the fight between the two men. Eventually the Doctor decides to go and intervene. As he emerges from the TARDIS he distracts Hector, and Achilles uses this opportunity to kill Hector, much to the Doctor's anger. Achilles immediately assumes the Doctor is Zeus, citing his sudden appearance, coupled with the fact that his presence, seemingly, aided him in killing his foe as proof positive. The Doctor plays along with this assumption so as to make Achilles feel guilty about slaying Hector. The Doctor tries to return to the TARDIS, which he refers to as his "temple", but Achilles pleads for the Doctor to stay in order to help them seek victory over the Trojans. While they are having this discussion the Doctor and Achilles are interrupted by Odysseus. Achilles tells Odysseus that he killed Hector but Odysseus is disbelieving. Achilles tells Odysseus to ask Zeus if he doesn't believe him. Odysseus pours scorn on Achilles' claim that the Doctor is Zeus and marches the Doctor back to camp claiming that he is a spy.

Meanwhile in the TARDIS Vicki and Steven have watched the Doctor being led away. Vicki's ankle is still injured, so Steven ventures out alone to help the Doctor.

At the Grecian camp Agamemnon and Menelaus are arguing about the cause of war. Agamemnon states that if Menelaus had kept control of his wife or fought Paris none of this would have happened. This discussion is interrupted by Achilles, who has beaten Odysseus to the camp and informs Agamemnon of his story. Agamemnon is unsure. Soon enough Odysseus arrives with the Doctor. Odysseus mocks the Doctor openly in front of all the men and claims that he is a spy. The Doctor tried to prove that he has omnipotent powers by using his knowledge of history. He tells Agamemnon that his wife is unfaithful to him, but Odysseus claims that everyone in the camp knows this. Agamemnon is unsure what to do. If he is Zeus he cannot kill him but if he is a spy he cannot let him walk free. He decides to imprison the Doctor until such a time as a better decision can be made.

Outside the camp Steven is in the undergrowth sneaking past guards to try to track the Doctor down, but little does he know he is being followed by a one-eyed man. This one-eyed man, Cyclops, is in the pay of Odysseus and runs to his master to inform him of Steven's presence. Odysseus tracks Steven down and captures him. Steven claims he is a traveller, but Odysseus suspects he has something to do with the Doctor and plans on using him as a way of allowing the Doctor to reveal his true identity. Once inside the tent Odysseus claims that Steven is a spy and asks the Doctor if he has ever seen him before. The Doctor says that he hasn't but knows, using his godly powers, that he is a traveller headed to visit his father. Agamemnon says that he is unsure and that if he is a spy they cannot send him away and that he should be killed. He asks the Doctor's advice. The Doctor says that he should be killed but that he should be killed by the hands of Zeus tomorrow at his temple. Odysseus informs the Doctor that since he left his "temple" it has disappeared.

Small Prophet, Quick Return (2)

The next morning, the Doctor and Steven go to the plains with the Greeks to find the TARDIS has disappeared but tracks lead off in the direction of Troy. Odysseus claims that this is the final proof that the men are spies. Menelaus calls on the Doctor to sacrifice Steven as he planned, but the Doctor's protestations that he can only do it in his temple fall on deaf ears. Exasperated as to what to do next the Doctor confesses that he is not Zeus, and Steven and he are friends. Menelaus is furious at the Doctor's lies and leaves him to the mercy of Odysseus. The Doctor, unsure of what to do, tells Odysseus the truth about how they arrived in Greece.

In the city of Troy a crowd is gathering around the TARDIS which has been brought into the city centre by Paris. Priam asks his son why he is bringing back trinkets rather than seeking the man who killed his brother Hector and slaying him. Paris tries to convince his father that his spoil of war is an important acquisition in the war, but his case is not helped when his sister, Cassandra, who is a prophet, says that she has dreamed of a ploy devised by the Greeks whereby they seize Troy by hiding in a vessel which is willingly brought into the city walls. It is decided that the TARDIS must be sacrificed to the gods by burning it. Inside the TARDIS Vicki is watching this scene unfold and is terrified to hear that her life is in imminent danger.

By this time the Doctor and Steven have fully explained how they arrived in Greece. Initially Odysseus seems furious but soon reasons that their story is so outlandish they wouldn't dare make it up. He puts the veracity of the story to the test by demanding that they should use their knowledge of the future to help them infiltrate the city walls and seize Troy. Faced with very little choice, the Doctor and Steven consent.

Back in Troy a sacrificial altar has been placed around the TARDIS in preparation for its sacrifice. Just before the TARDIS is incinerated Paris, possessive over his find, suggests that the gods may not want such an item sacrificed. Cassandra asks the gods to give them a sign if this is the case. Seizing this opportunity, Vicki exits the TARDIS, much to the surprise of the gathered Trojans. After questioning, Vicki states that she is from the future, the Trojans take this to mean that she is a prophet too, which annoys Cassandra, but she insists that she is literally from the future. Priam seems very fond of Vicki, whom he renames Cressida due to the fact Vicki doesn't sound like a very Trojan name. Troilus and Paris also seem fond of Vicki, but in a more amorous context. Paris tries to engage Vicki in conversation but Priam sends him out to fight Achilles, a task which he does not look forward to with any considerable relish. Priam and Vicki go into the palace to discuss her knowledge of the future.

Back at the Greek camp the Doctor and Steven are discussing ideas that they can offer to Odysseus for infiltrating the walls of Troy. Steven suggests the Trojan horse but the Doctor rejects the idea saying that it is a ludicrous myth probably invented by Homer as a literary trope. Odysseus interrupts them to ask if they have concocted a plan yet to which the Doctor replies in the negative. The Doctor engages Odysseus in some demands of their own and states that he will only help Odysseus if he can ensure that Vicki is safely carried away from Troy when the Greeks attack. Odysseus says that he cannot guarantee such protection due to the chaos of war. Steven asks if he can go and save Vicki himself, stating that he will dress up as a Greek soldier and be seized as a prisoner of war, taken into Troy, and will liberate Vicki from inside. Odysseus admires Steven's bravery and says that he has a friend by the name of Diomedes who died the previous day and that Steven can have his uniform. Steven thanks him and leaves. The Doctor asks Odysseus if he has ever considered flying machines as a means of gaining access to Troy.

Outside the city of Troy, Paris is calling for Achilles to come and fight, but worried he may be heard he is practically whispering. Much to his terror he is greeted by a Greek in full uniform who claims to be Achilles. Paris sees that the man is not Achilles and calls him on it. Steven, who is really the warrior who has presented himself to Paris, says that he is Diomedes sent on behalf of Achilles to fight Paris. Paris tries to wheedle his way out of the fight but Steven is insistent. The two men fight until it looks like Paris is about to win, when Steven yields the fight and says that he is thoroughly beaten by Paris. Playing up to Paris' arrogance Steven says that he should have listened to everyone in the Greek camp who told him that Paris was a mighty warrior who couldn't be beaten. Paris asks if that is truly what they think of him. Steven says it is and he will tell anyone that from now on. Seeing an opportunity to spread his reputation in the Trojan camp, as well as a way of avoiding Achilles further, Paris takes Steven into Troy.

In the palace at Troy Vicki and Priam are enjoying a luxurious meal. Vicki inquires as to how he gets such succulent food, to which Priam responds by saying his cavalry often finds ways of bypassing the Greek siege. Vicki seems surprised that cavalries existed in these times. Priam states that horses are seen as very important to the Trojans and have a religious significance. Vicki begins to talk about the Trojan horse when they are interrupted by Paris boasting of his prisoner. Priam is angered by Paris' invasion of his privacy as well as allowing a prisoner into the palace, but Paris insists that the prisoner must be seen. When Steven is brought in, both he and Vicki are so surprised to see each other that they say each other's names in surprise. Cassandra, who has been lurking in the background, takes the fact that Steven is dressed in the guise of a Greek soldier as proof that Vicki is a spy for the Greeks. She calls guards into kill her and Steven instantly.

Death of a Spy (3)

Paris intervenes to save Steven and Vicki, stating that Steven is Diomedes and should be kept as a prisoner of war. Cassandra goes on to argue with Paris, but Priam, impressed by Paris' sudden show of strength, sides with his son on the proviso that Vicki prove herself to be either a time traveller, as she claims, or a goddess, as some believe her to be, by changing the course of the war either through gained knowledge or through divine intervention. Vicki is given one day to prove herself or face death.

Back at the Greek camp Odysseus is putting pressure on the Doctor to formulate a plan to infiltrate Troy. The Doctor, driven to desperation, proposes his theory of flying machines, modelling his idea on a paper aeroplane that could be jettisoned with the help of a catapult. Odysseus is intrigued by this idea and informs the Doctor that he will be first to try this machine out. With this knowledge the Doctor is less keen on constructing his invention. Whilst explaining the idea to Menelaus, Odysseus decides that the Doctor should join them. The Doctor is reluctant but has little choice.

In the cells of Priam's palace, Steven informs Vicki of the situation the Doctor has found himself in at the Greek camp. Vicki becomes all too aware that she and the Doctor are now both employed by rival factions of the Trojan war and both have one day to help their respective sides to succeed or face death. Their conversation is interrupted by Cyclops at the prison bars. Cyclops is given a message for the Doctor, asking him to delay an attack for two days so they are not killed. This conversation is interrupted also, this time by Troilus, who has come to visit Vicki. The pair flirt. Troilus explains that he is disenchanted with the world of war and wishes to have a life of adventure rather than bloodshed. When Troilus leaves, Steven teases Vicki for their flirting and encourages her to use her relationship with Troilus to their advantage later on — adding that he hopes that won't happen as long as Cyclops gets his message to the Doctor.

At the Greek camp Odysseus has rallied his men round to create the Doctor's flying machine, but the Doctor has to now convince him that it is not a feasible invention as he fears for his own life. In desperation he pitches the idea of the Trojan horse to Odysseus who immediately takes up the idea and orders his men to begin its construction.

On the outskirts of Troy, two guards are startled by Cyclops. One of them tries to stop Cyclops. Cyclops turns and runs. The other guard fires an arrow at Cyclops, striking him dead.

The Doctor, Odysseus and his men are in the Trojan horse. The Doctor is now very uncertain about his plan and tries to find an excuse to escape, but Odysseus does not relent. Soon they hear sounds from outside and see the Trojans start to congregate around the horse.

The following morning Vicki is woken by a jubilant Troilus. He explains that the war has come to an end and that the Greeks have sailed for home. Priam is hailing this as intervention on Vicki's behalf and is allowing her to be free. Vicki is freed from her prison, leaving Steven to languish. On being received in the palace Vicki is met by further hostility and scepticism by Cassandra, but Priam shuns these warnings. The joyful scenes are added to when Paris returns from the plains and informs Priam that he has found the mythical Horse of Asia in the plains and that it is being brought into Troy. Everyone goes to the window to see the sight of the horse just outside Priam's palace.

Horse of Destruction (4)

Cassandra continues to rant and rave saying that the horse is a sign of oncoming doom, but Priam and Paris overrule her. Whilst the two men argue with Cassandra, Vicki slips away. By the time they realise that she is gone, they assume she has gone down into the square to see the horse close up. Priam sends Paris out to get her; Cassandra lacks confidence in her brother's ability and sends a hand maiden by the name of Katarina to seek her out. Unbeknownst to any of the Trojans, Vicki slips down to the dungeon and releases Steven.

Inside the horse the Doctor and Odysseus continue to argue. The Doctor is looking for any excuse possible to exit the horse early and not get involved in the melee that will ensure, but Odysseus threatens to kill him if he tries to escape. This curbs the Doctor's plot. Odysseus begins to show his bloodthirsty side to the Doctor, explaining that if Menelaus and Agamemnon die he does not care as it will only mean more booty for him come the sacking of Troy.

Steven and Vicki are in the main square of Troy trying to avoid capture by the Trojans whilst also thinking of a way of reuniting themselves with the Doctor. Vicki sees Katarina looking for her amongst the crowd and Steven suggests they split up, but he informs Vicki that if she cares for Troilus she needs to ensure that she makes him leave the city before nightfall. Vicki does not last long before she is caught up with by the Trojans. Cassandra accuses Vicki of releasing Steven, a charge she denies. It is decided that Katarina will escort Vicki from now on.

Vicki and Katarina retreat to the palace where, eventually, Troilus comes to Vicki. Vicki says that Diomedes is her friend and that if she means anything to him she will go out into the plains to stop him from being killed by the Greeks. Troilus is unsure but eventually relents.

Night falls and the Greeks return whilst the Greeks in the horse climb out.

Come morning, unaware of the devastation about to ensue in his city, Troilus is searching for Diomedes, but he comes across Achilles. When Troilus realises who Achilles is they fight, much to the reluctance of Achilles. Eventually Achilles is slain.

Whilst the Greeks sack Troy, Cassandra informs Priam and Paris that this is the fate that she prophesied. They are soon caught by Odysseus, who slays Priam and Paris and drags Cassandra away as a prisoner of war. In the kerfuffle the Doctor slips away.

Amidst the chaos Vicki has co-opted Katarina on to her side and she tells her to go and uncover Steven from his hiding place inside one of the temples. While she is gone the Doctor is reunited with Vicki seemingly by chance.

Steven is discovered in his hiding place by a Trojan warrior. The two men fight and Steven is victorious. However, he is wounded badly. Katarina finds him and brings him back to the palace. Once reunited with the Doctor they go into the TARDIS, but Vicki does not join them. Before the Doctor enters the TARDIS he is confronted by Odysseus. The Doctor runs into the TARDIS which soon disappears, leaving Odysseus wondering if the Doctor was Zeus after all.

Out on the plains Troilus is looking upon the destruction of his hometown. He wonders to himself if this is the doing of Cressida who has betrayed them. As he wonders this he sees Vicki coming to join him. She perfunctorily explains that Diomedes is safe and that her friends have left her to go back to where they came from but she elected to stay with Troilus. Troilus is initially disconsolate at the loss of his hometown but the two soon declare their love. Moments later, Troilus' cousin Aeneas arrives with reinforcements and Vicki says that this is how it is meant to be and that they will rebuild Troy together.

Aboard the TARDIS, Steven is hallucinating and very unwell. He is worried about Vicki, and the Doctor explains that she asked to stay with Troilus in Greece. Steven loses consciousness. Katarina, however, believes that the TARDIS is a state of limbo and that they are all already dead and that the Doctor is Zeus. He dissuades her from this idea. The Doctor knows they need the right medication to save Steven and hopes their next landing will provide it.

Cast

This serial had a sizeable cast of background characters, extras, and stunt doubles that did not receive on-screen credit.

Crew

References

  • Vicki implies in this story that she is, at most, sixteen years old.[1]
  • The TARDIS is light enough to be carried by Paris and his men.

Story notes

  • This is the final story featuring Vicki.
  • This is the first story featuring Katarina.
  • The working titles for this story were The Trojans, The Trojan Horse, The Trojan War and The Mythmakers. Working episode titles included "Zeus ex Machina" (episode 1), and "A Doctor in the Horse" or "Is There a Doctor in the Horse?" (episode 3).
  • All four episodes of this story are lost, but some material from episodes 1, 2 and 4 exist as 8mm home movie clips, shot by filming a television set during the original transmission.
  • This is one of the least documented stories, with very limited material (film/photographic) existing. However, it is one of the easiest stories to listen to on audio — possibly due to Donald Cotton's writing background in radio.
  • William Hartnell was struck and injured by a camera during the filming of the first episode and sustained a bruise to the shoulder.
  • 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.
  • A half-page article titled Doctor Who and the Trojan War was published in Radio Times (cover dated: 16-22 October 1965) to tie-in with the start of the story.
  • The Radio Times programme listings for "Small Prophet, Quick Return" to "Horse of Destruction" credit 'Max Adrian as King Priam'.
  • The Radio Times programme listing for "Death of a Spy" was accompanied by a small black and white head-and-shoulders profile shot of Max Adrian (King Priam), with the accompanying caption “Max Adrian, distinguished actor and revue artist, plays King Priam of Troy in Dr. Who at 5.50”.
  • 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.
  • Francis De Wolff wore the same costume as Agamemnon as he had worn as Agrippa in Carry On Cleo. (HOMEVID: Frances White's Loose Cannon introduction to The Myth Makers)


Influences

Ratings

  • "Temple of Secrets" - 8.3 million viewers
  • "Small Prophet, Quick Return" - 8.1 million viewers
  • "Death of a Spy" - 8.7 million viewers
  • "Horse of Destruction" - 8.3 million viewers

Myths

  • William Hartnell refused to appear in scenes with Max Adrian as he was Jewish and gay. (It is pure coincidence that the two do not appear in any scenes together.)
  • Frances White, who played Cassandra, was not credited on-screen. (She appeared in the credits for her episodes but was not listed in Radio Times. Although it has been claimed this was at her request, White has since denied this in an interview for Loose Cannon Productions. Her omission from the programme listings was actually an oversight on the part of Radio Times.)

Filming locations

Production errors

If you'd like to talk about narrative problems with this story — like plot holes and things that seem to contradict other stories — please go to this episode's discontinuity discussion.

to be added

Continuity

Home video and audio releases

  • Only eleven short clips from episodes 1, 2 and 4 are known to exist. They are from a reel of 8mm film shot off a TV screen.
  • The original audio of this story exists and was released as The Myth Makers on 2 CDs, with linking material provided by Peter Purves in January 2001.

External links




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