THE TROJANS &
THE TROJAN WAR
'THE MYTH MAKERS' AUDIO CD (ISBN 0-563-47777-6) RELEASED IN JANUARY 2001.
Long, long ago on the great plains of Asia Minor, TWO MIGHTY ARMIES FACED EACH other in mortal combat. The armies were the Greeks and thE TROJANS AND THE PRIZE THEY WERE FIGHTING FOR WAS HELEN, THE MOST BEAUTIFUL WOMAN IN THE WORLD.
To the Greeks it seemed that the city of Troy was impregnable and only a miracle could bring them success.
And then help comes to them in a most unexpected way as a strange BLUE BOX MATERIALISES CLOSE TO their camp, BRINGING WITH IT THE DOCTOR, STEVEN AND VICKI, WHO SOON FIND THEMSELVES CAUGHT UP IN THE IRREVERSIBLE TIDE OF HISTORY AND LEGEND...
ALL FOUR EPISODES ARE MISSING.
The Myth Makers
16TH OCTOBER 1965 - 6TH NOVEMBER 1965
1. TEMPLE OF SECRETS 2. SMALL PROPHET, QUICK RETURN
3. DEATH OF A SPY 4. HORSE OF DESTRUCTION
As far as Doctor Who stories go, The Myth Makers is about as lost as any serial can possibly be. Along with The Massacre and Galaxy 4, this four-parter is one of just a few solely represented on my shelf by audio CDs – every other missing serial has at least an existing episode or some telesnaps to give me a decent feel for it.
Surprisingly though, The Myth Makers still holds its own against its peers despite its patent disadvantage. Written in the same spirit as The Romans, Donald Cotton’s take on the Trojan War dwells on ridiculous stereotypes and farcical events, almost mocking our perception of myths and legends. What The Myth Makers lacks in gritty realism, it more than makes up for in delightful, almost Carry On-style humour.
The Doctor in particular is hilariously portrayed as he desperately tries to worm his way out of the Greeks’ custody. The Greeks have mistaken the Time Lord for their God, Zeus, and the brutish Odysseus expects him to design the weapon that will finally allow them to take Troy. I love how the Doctor scoffs at the notion of the Trojan Horse when it’s first suggested to him, and instead struggles against all the odds to built the Greeks a catapult. But history always wins, and quite disturbingly the Doctor becomes inadvertently responsible for a massacre – an ending that seems spectacularly at odds with the rest of the serial’s tone.
The Myth Makers is also a good, solid outing for the Doctor’s companions. Vicki, whom the Trojans christen ‘Cressida’ (ah…), falls in love with Prince Troilus and is married off in the final episode. Not the most original mode of departure for a companion, I’ll grant you, but Maureen O’Brien seems to make the most of it nonetheless, giving probably her finest performance in the series. Steven is also surprisingly effective here; Peter Purves’s comic timing is wonderful, especially in his scenes posing as Diomede and sparring with Paris.
However, Katarina’s introduction in the final episode, “Horse of Destruction”, is treated as an afterthought. I’m not sure whether it had been decided that she would be red-shirted from the word go, but in this story there’s no development for her whatsoever. Her death in the subsequent serial would have been far more powerful had we actually cared about her. If I hadn’t known she was destined to leave in the TARDIS at the end of the story, I would’ve thought her just a bothersome supporting turn.
On balance though, I’d definitely recommend The Myth Makers’ soundtrack. It’s nothing groundbreaking or monumental, but it is a lovely little slice of 1960s Who that still has the power to entertain today, even when the competition is Brad Pitt and Orlando Bloom.
Copyright © E.G. Wolverson 2006
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