REVIEW: Doctor Who: The Myth Makers (1965)

the-myth-makers-trojan-horseI’ve decided to revisit some of the lost episodes from Doctor Who’s history which no longer exist in the archives by using the original audio recordings which have been remastered and released onto CD. It is also possible to find some very good reconstructions on the internet using animation and images taken from the production.

The Myth Makers is possibly an underrated Doctor Who story. Although the historical stories of the 1960’s were a part of the ‘educational’ purpose of the show they ultimately were phased out the following season after the completion of ‘The Highlanders’ as they were difficult to achieve on the shows budget and were not as popular with viewers as other space adventures. Using only the original audio recordings and some reconstructions posted online, I think this is actually a really good story. Although it is possibly a bit overstretched to 4 parts, it is along the same lines as the 1982 story ‘The Visitation’. On that occasion the Doctor was responsible for the Great Fire of London, on this occasion he gives the Greeks the idea for the Trojan horse, shaping history as we know it. I really like adventures like this where the Doctor is shown to be the one responsible for the famous historical events, that’s the fun with an adventure series with a time traveller. Although not maximised to its full potential we also get the Doctor debating wether or not to give the Greeks the idea of the Trojan horse, it may have been a fanciful story created by Homer. This is far more different to the “You cannot change history, not one line” stance of ‘The Aztecs’ (1964). Instead, the Doctor is actually shaping history, no wonder the Time Lords put him on trial for not adhering to the rule of non-interference.

There is also a reasonable amount of action in the story, the TARDIS appears during a fight between Achilles and Hector for a start, and who doesn’t enjoy a good sword fight? I think that if we had the visuals of these combat scenes and if the Trojan horse was successfully achieved on-screen then this story would be more highly regarded.

What I also didn’t realise is that Francis de Wolff who plays Agamemnon had also been Agrippa in Carry On Cleo, which also featured a turn from future Doctor Jon Pertwee. Small world and all that.

The story is also momentous because it sees the departure of companion Vicki. This is a strange one, although not so high on the ludicrous scale as Leela’s departure in ‘The Invasion of Time’ (1978), Vicki does have plenty of scenes with Troilus who she subsequently leaves the TARDIS to find. It just seems strange given the carnage occurring inside the walls of Troy at the time but she safely manages to navigate that and also irritating because everyone calls her Cressida instead of Vicki. She is then replaced by Katarina, a handmaiden to the frankly over the top Cassandra, but she doesn’t really feature in any significant way apart from helping to carry a wounded Steven into the TARDIS. However, her confident prophecy that she is to die is straight out of the Russell T Davies era of the show. More pressing of course is that Steven is clearly in a bad way and in need of treatment, what will happen next….?

Next week “The Nightmare Begins”! (How great does that sound!? Very is the answer.)

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