The Myth Makers

020 The Myth Makers
Doctor Who serial

The Trojan Horse in the outskirts of Troy, with the Doctor and several hundred Greeks inside.
Directed by Michael Leeston-Smith
Written by Donald Cotton
Script editor Donald Tosh
Produced by John Wiles
Executive producer(s) None
Incidental music composer Humphrey Searle
Production code U
Series Season 3
Length 4 episodes, 25 minutes each
Episode(s) missing All episodes
Date started 16 October 1965
Date ended 6 November 1965
← Preceded by Followed by →
"Mission to the Unknown" The Daleks' Master Plan

The Myth Makers is the completely missing second serial of the third season in the British science fiction television series Doctor Who, which was first broadcast in four weekly parts from 16 October to 6 November 1965. The story is set in ancient Troy, and is based on the Iliad by Homer. This serial sees the last appearance of Maureen O'Brien as Vicki and the introduction of Adrienne Hill as the Doctor's newest companion, Katarina. Although audio recordings and clips of the story exist, no episodes of this serial are known to have survived.


The Greek army has besieged the city of Troy for ten years. On the plains just outside the city the Greek warrior Achilles slays the Trojan Hector, a son of King Priam, when the materialisation of the TARDIS disturbs Hector's concentration. When the Doctor emerges from within the TARDIS, Achilles believes him to be the god Zeus disguised as an old beggar, and insists he accompany him to the Greek encampment. En route they encounter the warrior Odysseus who goes with them to the Greek camp. When they arrive, Agamemnon insists the Doctor help him against the Trojans, and will not let him go until he does. Odysseus believes the Doctor is a Trojan spy.

The Doctor's companions Vicki and Steven have watched him being led away. Vicki still has an injured ankle from a previous adventure in Galaxy 4, so Steven goes out alone to try to help the Doctor. He is spotted heading for the Trojan camp by Cyclops, a servant of Odysseus, who reports this to his master. Odysseus catches Steven and takes him to the Greek camp as well. The Doctor eventually persuades the Greeks to spare Steven until the next morning, when he will strike down "the spy" with a heavenly thunderbolt. Moments later Cyclops returns to the Greek camp, and through sign language communicates that Zeus' temple (the TARDIS) has disappeared from the plains of Troy.

The TARDIS has been taken within the walled city of Troy as a prize and is presented to King Priam by his son Paris. The blue police box is denounced by Priam's daughter, the prophetess Cassandra, as dangerous – she has dreamt that the Greeks will leave a gift on the plain which will contain soldiers to attack the Trojans. She demands that the TARDIS be burnt and a pyre is constructed around it, but before it can be set alight, Vicki emerges from within the TARDIS and this is taken as a sign from the gods. The King and Paris are enchanted by her, dressed as she is in a wonderful gown, and the King renames her Cressida and makes her a favourite at court. This enrages Cassandra, who believes Vicki to be a rival prophet, although Katarina, one of her handmaidens, tries to stand up for Vicki.

Priam sends Paris out on to the plains once more to avenge Hector. Paris calls for his rival Achilles to present himself, and Steven manages to persuade the Greeks to send him in Greek armour instead, hoping he can get himself injured and then taken prisoner to Troy to search for Vicki. Adopting the name Diomede, Steven engages Paris in battle and his ruse works. When he arrives, Vicki greets him with his real name and this is taken by Cassandra as a sign they are both spies. Steven and Vicki are taken to cells. Priam's son, Troilus, who has formed a romantic attachment to "Cressida," visits Vicki. She seems successful in persuading him to try to get them released, and Steven realizes she's falling in love with Troilus.

The Doctor proposes the use of a wooden horse to Odysseus. The construction will be left on the plains outside Troy and filled with Greeks, who hope the horse will be taken within the city. Agamemnon approves the plan, but it is also decided that the Doctor will be among those inside the horse. When day breaks, it is spotted by the Trojans. They respond to the seeming disappearance of the Greek army by rejoicing, and Priam has Vicki released in thanks for her supposed good work. As Priam speaks with her, Paris arrives and tells of the great horse, which he is bringing into the city. Vicki slips away and frees Steven, who urges her, if she loves Troilus, to convince him to leave Troy. She does this, under the ruse of telling Troilus that Diomede has escaped and is on the plain but unarmed. Troilus leaves the city and unexpectedly meets Achilles, killing him through single combat in revenge for Hector's death.

Meanwhile the Trojans and the Doctor have left the horse under cover of night, and opened the city gates to the Greeks. The Doctor escapes Odysseus and finds Vicki in the carnage while Katarina, who has been trailing Vicki, helps them look for Steven. She finds him fighting a Trojan soldier and he is badly wounded, but she helps him return to the Doctor's "blue temple." Odysseus arrives and threatens the Doctor, who takes the opportunity to dematerialise the TARDIS with Steven and Katarina on board. Vicki, however, has slipped away with his blessing. She walks to the plains where she finds Troilus and they declare their love. Moments later Troilus' cousin Aeneas arrives with reinforcements and helps them escape. Back on board the TARDIS, Steven is delirious because of his wound and Katarina believes she has died and the Doctor is taking her on the journey after death. Distraught, the Doctor feels he has to land somewhere to attend to Steven's injuries.


Serial details by episode
EpisodeBroadcast dateRun timeViewers
(in millions)
"Temple of Secrets" 16 October 1965 (1965-10-16) 24:45 8.3 Only stills and/or fragments exist
"Small Prophet, Quick Return" 23 October 1965 (1965-10-23) 24:43 8.1 Only stills and/or fragments exist
"Death of a Spy" 30 October 1965 (1965-10-30) 25:39 8.7 Only stills and/or fragments exist
"Horse of Destruction" 6 November 1965 (1965-11-06) 24:25 8.3 Only stills and/or fragments exist

This was the first story produced by new series producer John Wiles, replacing the original producer, Verity Lambert, in the role. Originally, the titles of all the episodes were intended by Dennis Spooner to be puns (as was that of Episode 2), including: "Zeus Ex Machina" and "Is There A Doctor In The Horse?". These titles were vetoed by the BBC, but the title of Episode 2 was allowed to remain only at script editor Donald Tosh's insistence. A number of chapters in the novelisation have titles based around these puns.[4]

Donald Cotton pulled material for his scripts from his extensive knowledge of classical and medieval literature, including the epics of Homer, the plays of Aeschylus and Euripides, Virgil's Aeneid, and Geoffrey Chaucer's Troilus and Criseyde.

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. This led to him becoming difficult during production, refusing to speak to actors Max Adrian or Francis de Wolff and declaring director Michael Leeston-Smith a "fool".[5]

Cast notes

Barrie Ingham also played Alydon in the film Dr. Who and the Daleks.[6] Francis de Wolff had previously played Vasor in The Keys of Marinus. Tutte Lemkow had previously played Kuiju in Marco Polo and Ibrahim in The Crusade. Ivor Salter had previously played the Morok Commander in The Space Museum and would appear again as Sergeant Markham in Black Orchid.

Commercial releases

In print

The Myth Makers
Author Donald Cotton
Cover artist Andrew Skilleter
Series Doctor Who book:
Target novelisations
Release number
Publisher Target Books
Publication date
12 September 1985
ISBN 0-426-20170-1

A novelisation of this serial, written by Donald Cotton, was published by Target Books in April 1985. There are significant differences between the novel and the televised story; the novel is narrated by Homer, who also plays the part of the mute servant Cyclops from the episode. The cliffhanger ending of Steven being wounded is also gone. An unabridged reading of the novelisation by actor Stephen Thorne was released on CD in April 2008 by BBC Audiobooks.[7]

Home media

The soundtracks to these episodes exist and have been released on CD with linking narration provided by Peter Purves. The only extant clips – eleven short 8mm film recordings made by fans off-air – were made available on the Lost in Time DVD boxset release. A full reconstruction has been created with the film recordings, production stills and the complete soundtrack.

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.


  1. Shaun Lyon; et al. (31 March 2007). "The Myth Makers". Outpost Gallifrey. Archived from the original on 31 March 2008. Retrieved 30 August 2008.
  2. "The Myth Makers". Doctor Who Reference Guide. Retrieved 30 August 2008.
  3. Sullivan, Shannon (18 May 2008). "The Myth Makers". A Brief History of Time Travel. Retrieved 30 August 2008.
  4. Cotton, Donald (1985). The Myth Makers. London: Target Books. ISBN 978-0426201700.
  5. Purves, Peter (February 2015). Doctor Who Magazine (Interview) (482). p. . Missing or empty |title= (help)
  6. "The Fourth Dimension: The Myth Makers". BBC. Retrieved 22 November 2012.
  7. "Doctor Who: The Myth Makers (Classic Novel)". AudioGo. Retrieved 20 October 2013.
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Target novelisation

Audio Adaptation

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