Friday, 6 November 2015

090 The Myth Makers Part 4: Horse of Destruction

EPISODE: The Myth Makers Part 4: Horse of Destruction
TRANSMITTED: 06 November 1965
WRITER: Donald Cotton
DIRECTOR: Michael Leeston
PRODUCER: John Wiles
FORMAT: CD: Doctor Who: The Lost TV Episodes Collection: No. 1 (1964-1965)

"It's the Greeks! They were inside the horse and our gates are open to the enemy!"

Vicki rescues Steven from the dungeon but they are both found by Katarina, one of Cassandra's hand maidens who has been sent to find Vicki by her Mistress. They hide Steven while Vicki find Troilus and dupes him to leave the city to hunt for Steven. However Troilus finds Achilles and the Greek warriors and is injured. The Greeks in the horse emerge, open the gates to their brethren and proceed to sack Troy. Odysseus slays Priam and Paris, but the captive Cassandra curses him to spend ten years, the length of the Trojan war, wandering before he can return home. Steven is injured while fighting a Trojan who is taken to the Tardis by Katarina while Vicki slips away. Odysseus finds the Doctor trying to slip away and argues with him: he is amazed as the Tardis dematerialises and wonders if the Doctor was Zeus after all. Vicki finds Troilus who is distraught at his city's destruction. They are in turn found by his cousin Aeneas with reinforcements who helps spirit them away. Inside the Tardis Steven's wound is causing his condition to worsen. Katarina is amazed at her surroundings. She believes she has died and is journeying to the afterlife.

The conclusion to the story gets a lot more serious with the inevitable sack of Troy (I had an English teacher who'd not heard of the verb sack in relation to a city!) so this episode gets a trifle confusing without the pictures. It doesn't help that Steven's shoulder injury is sustained offscreen and Vicki's parting from the Doctor is also unseen. With no telesnaps we have little idea of what this episode looks like save for a brief few moments of 8mm offscreen footage depicting the Doctor's reaction to Vicki's departure:

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DOCTOR: And remember Katarina, you must call me Doctor.
KATARINA: Oh, as you wish Doc.
DOCTOR: I'm not a Doc. I am not a god. Oh, my dear Vicki, I hope you'll be all right. I shall miss you child.
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All the 8mm clips from this story can be found on Doctor Who - Lost In Time.

Maureen O'Brien, who played Vicki, had fallen out with Producer John Wiles during the production of Galaxy 4, the final full story in the second recording block. Her departure upset Hartnell and didn't help his relationship with Wiles. Her acting career since was a little sporadic with her most major role being Elizabeth Straker in Casualty.

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Her replacement was hand maiden Katarina, played by Adrienne Hill. Like Troilus she's introduced into the story late in the day which makes you wonder how late in the day the decision to introduce her, and thus write out Vicki, was. The concept of a companion from the past is a good one however, later visited to good effect during Patrick Troughton's years as Doctor Who. Here however the Production Team decided against it almost as soon as she appeared on screen and thus she had to go.

For many years we had no episode featuring Katarina: she doesn't even appear onscreen in the brief clip above and the only footage of her we had was a brief clip from her final episode, The Dalek Masterplan 4: The Traitors. However in 2004 one of the episodes between this one and those was recovered.

Given the amount of action in this episode it's no surprise to see Derek Ware on the uncredited Extras list as a Trojan Soldier and Fight Arranger. The crowd scenes require a few new extras among which we have Ralph Carrigan who is another to return in The Ark appearing credited as Monoid Two in episode 3: The Return, in The Macra Terror: Episode 4 as a Cheerleader, The Mind Robber episodes 1, 4 & 5 as a Robot and The Invasion: Episodes 6, 7 & 8 as a Cyberman (as Ralph Carrigon). Roy Douglas is also in The Ark appearing in the first two episodes, The Steel Sky & The Plague as a Guardian.

In fact the same stories keep popping up on the CVs of extras in this serial: The Massacre, The Ark, The War Machines, The Invasion and The Silurians. Here's a list of the extras from this story, who they played here and which episodes of the other stories they appeared in:

Actor Role Myth Makers The Massacre The Ark The War Machines The Invasion The Silurians
Derek Chafer Greek Soldier 1, 3 & 4 4     6 3
John Freeman Greek Soldier 1, 3 2, 4        
Pat Gorman Greek Soldier 1, 3 & 4 2   3 4, 6, 7 & 8 2-7
Peter Roy Greek Soldier 1, 3       1 6
Eric Blackburn Extra 2   1-4      
David Greneau Extra 2   1      
Walter Henry Extra 2         6
Michael Osborne Extra 2   3, 4      
Darroll Richards Extra 2 1        
Jack Rowlands Extra 2     1    
Cara Stevens Trojan Woman 2         1, 2
Doreen Ubels Trojan Woman 2     4    
Peter Day Trojan Soldier 3 1   3, 4    
Steve Pokol Trojan Soldier 3     3, 4    
Mike Reid Greek Soldier 3   4 3, 4    
Donald Symons Trojan Soldier 3     3    
Norton Clarke Greek Soldier 3 & 4   3     1
Ralph Carrigan Extra 4   3   6-8  
Roy Douglas Extra 4 1, 2        

Actually mentioning where I went to school has reminded me that this episode is a real contender for the "Episode shot closest to where I did my Secondary Education" award (Greycourt School, Ham Street, Ham, TW10 7HN). Model shots involving the wooden horse were filmed at the Polo Club in Petersham about half a mile from the school. Unfortunately no footage of the horse remains for us to go "I recognise that" with. Fortunately I say contender for the award because another story films about half a mile away in the opposite direction! If you're interested in finding what Doctor Who story was filmed near you then visit and enter your postcode there. Now you see why I gave the school's full address! For a lot more locations round where I used to live see Invasion of the Dinosaurs.

A line of the Doctor's in this episode jumped out at me. While inside the horse he's talking to Odysseus:

DOCTOR: How you can sit there so peacefully defeats me. Have you no feelings, no emotions?
I wonder if Kit Pedler & Gerry Davis were watching?

I've enjoyed The Myth Makers whenever I've listened to it but somehow it never really clicks for me like Reign of Terror and The Smugglers do. Probably mid table in my ranking of the historical stories.

Having done Greek Mythology for real here, Doctor Who then applies the Malcolm Hulke rule ("All you need to work in Television is a good idea. It doesn't necessarily have to be *YOUR* good idea") and "lovingly homages" the stories in many future tales doing The Minotaur in The Time Monster, Odysseus in Underworld and the Minotaur again in Horns of the Nimon (which is great and I will not have a word said against it). 2 Entertain, not wanting to miss any opportunity for a boxset, have released these three together on DVD as Doctor Who - Myths And Legends which is still hovering near retail price due to being a recent release.

The Myth Makers, novelised by it's original author Donald Cotton, is thought to be one of the most original and best of the Target Doctor Who Novels when it was released in 1985. Cotton uses Homer, the writer of the Iliad & Odyssey, as the narrator for the story who was present at the events even though he's not in the televised version. Incredibly, as book release number 97, it was the first story released from Hartnell's third season! It was placed very highly in a survey run by Doctor Who Magazine for the show's 40th anniversary and is now available as an audiobook. The episodes soundtrack, none of the episodes existing any more on film, was first released by itself as Doctor Who: The Myth Makers and has been re-released as the final story in Doctor Who: The Lost TV Episodes Collection: No. 1 (1964-1965).

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