020 – The Myth Makers
Doctor Who serial
Trojan Horse, Doctor Who 1965.png
The Trojan Horse in the outskirts of Troy, with the Doctor and several hundred Greeks inside (production still from episode 3)
Directed byMichael Leeston-Smith
Written byDonald Cotton
Script editorDonald Tosh
Produced byJohn Wiles
Executive producer(s)None
Incidental music composerHumphrey Searle
Production codeU
SeriesSeason 3
Running time4 episodes, 25 minutes each
Episode(s) missingAll episodes
First broadcast16 October 1965 (1965-10-16)
Last broadcast6 November 1965 (1965-11-06)
← Preceded by
"Mission to the Unknown"
Followed by →
The Daleks' Master Plan
List of Doctor Who episodes (1963–1989)

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, production stills and 8mm clips of the story exist, no episodes of this serial are known to have survived.


The Greek army has besieged the walled city of Troy for ten years. The TARDIS materialises outside the city, distracting the Trojan Hector, son of King Priam. The Greek warrior Achilles takes advantage and kills him. When the First Doctor emerges, Achilles believes him to be the God Zeus, in disguise, and brings him to the Greek encampment along with the warrior Odysseus. At the camp, the Greek leader Agamemnon insists the Doctor help them fight the Trojans, although Odysseus believes he is a Trojan spy.

Meanwhile, the Doctor's companions Vicki and Steven remain in the TARDIS. Vicki has an injured ankle from a previous adventure, so Steven goes alone to try to find the Doctor. Odysseus catches Steven and takes him to the Greek camp. Pretending to be Zeus, the Doctor persuades the Greeks to spare Steven until the next morning. They learn that the TARDIS has disappeared.

The TARDIS has been taken into Troy by another of King Priam's sons, Paris, and presented as a prize to his father. Priam's daughter, the prophet Cassandra, denounces the TARDIS 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. A pyre is constructed, but before the fire is lit, Vicki emerges from the TARDIS, which is taken as a sign from the gods. She is renamed Cressida and made a favourite at court. This enrages Cassandra, who believes Vicki to be a rival prophet, although her handmaiden Katarina defends Vicki.

Priam sends Paris out to avenge his brother Hector. Paris calls for his rival Achilles to present himself, but Steven persuades the Greeks to send him in Greek armour instead, hoping to be taken prisoner so he can search for Vicki. Adopting the identity Diomedes, Steven engages Paris in battle and his ruse works. When he arrives, however, Vicki greets him with his real name, which Cassandra sees as a sign they are both spies. Steven and Vicki are taken to cells. Priam's youngest son Troilus visits Vicki. She persuades him to try to get them released, and it is clear the two are falling in love.

The Doctor proposes to Odysseus a great ruse: the Greeks will pretend to sail away, leaving a wooden horse behind outside Troy, as a tribute and acknowledgement of defeat, hoping the Trojans will take it inside the city without realising it is actually hollow and filled with Greek soldiers. Agamemnon approves, but only provided the Doctor is among those inside the horse. The horse is spotted by the Trojans, who rejoice at the Greek army's apparent retreat. Priam has Vicki released. Paris brings the horse into the city. Vicki frees Steven, who urges her to convince Troilus to leave Troy. She tells Troilus that Diomedes has escaped. Troilus leaves Troy to search for him, but encounters Achilles, whom he kills to avenge Hector.

At nightfall, the Greeks and the Doctor leave the horse and open the city gates. The Greek army enters and so begins the downfall of Troy. As the fighting rages, the Doctor evades Odysseus and finds Vicki. Priam and Paris are slain, and Cassandra taken prisoner. Katarina finds Steven badly wounded and helps him return to the TARDIS. Vicki leaves the Doctor, anxious to find Troilus; outside the doomed city, they declare their love for each other and flee.

Odysseus threatens the Doctor, who is able to dematerialise the TARDIS with Steven and Katarina on board. Katarina believes she has died and the Doctor is taking her on the journey after death. Steven is delirious because of his wound, and the Doctor feels he must land somewhere to attend to Steven's injuries.


EpisodeTitleRun timeOriginal air dateUK viewers
(millions) [1]
Archive [2]
1"Temple of Secrets"24:4516 October 1965 (1965-10-16)8.3Only stills and/or fragments exist
2"Small Prophet, Quick Return"24:4323 October 1965 (1965-10-23)8.1Only stills and/or fragments exist
3"Death of a Spy"25:3930 October 1965 (1965-10-30)8.7Only stills and/or fragments exist
4"Horse of Destruction"24:256 November 1965 (1965-11-06)8.3Only stills and/or fragments exist

^† Episode is missing

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 episodes 1 and 4 were intended by Dennis Spooner to be puns (as was that of Episode 2), respectively: "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. Episode 3 was always intended to have the non-punning title "Death of a Spy", to add suspense to the cliffhanger of the previous episode in which Vicki and Steven are unmasked as spies, as to imply that one of them would perish in the following chapter. A number of chapters in the novelisation have titles based around these puns.[3]

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".[4]

All four episodes are missing from the BBC Archives, and no tele-snaps are known to exist. Only behind-the-scenes photographs and brief 8mm clips recorded by an unknown fan in Australia survive to represent the visuals.

Cast notes

Barrie Ingham also played Alydon in the film Dr. Who and the Daleks (1965).[5] Francis de Wolff had previously played Vasor in The Keys of Marinus (1964). Tutte Lemkow had previously played Kuiju in Marco Polo (1964) and Ibrahim in The Crusade (1965). Ivor Salter had previously played the Morok Commander in The Space Museum (1965) and would appear again as Sergeant Markham in Black Orchid (1982).

Commercial releases

In print

The Myth Makers
Doctor Who The Myth Makers.jpg
AuthorDonald Cotton
Cover artistAndrew Skilleter
SeriesDoctor Who book:
Target novelisations
Release number
PublisherTarget Books
Publication date
12 September 1985

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.[6]

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 an unknown Australian fan off-air – were made available on the Lost in Time DVD boxset release. The soundtrack for these episodes was also released on vinyl in 2021 from the BBC. [7]

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. ^ "Ratings Guide". Doctor Who News. Retrieved 28 May 2017.
  2. ^ Shaun Lyon; et al. (31 March 2007). "The Myth Makers". Outpost Gallifrey. Archived from the original on 31 March 2008. Retrieved 30 August 2008.
  3. ^ Cotton, Donald (1985). The Myth Makers. London: Target Books. ISBN 978-0426201700.
  4. ^ Purves, Peter (February 2015). "Interview". Doctor Who Magazine (Interview). No. 482. p. [page needed].
  5. ^ "The Fourth Dimension: The Myth Makers". BBC. Retrieved 22 November 2012.
  6. ^ "Doctor Who: The Myth Makers (Classic Novel)". AudioGo. Retrieved 20 October 2013.
  7. ^ "The Myth Makers comes to vinyl". BBC. Retrieved 10 November 2021.