Spoilers are precisely defined here. Rules vary by the story's medium. Info from television stories can't be added here until after the top or bottom of the hour, British time, closest to the end credits roll on BBC One. Therefore, fans in the Americas who are sensitive to spoilers should avoid Tardis on Sundays until they've seen the episode.



You may wish to consult Myth Makers (disambiguation) for other, similarly-named pages.

The Myth Makers was the third serial of season 3 of Doctor Who. It was the final regular appearance of Maureen O'Brien as Vicki Pallister and saw the introduction of new companion Katarina, played by Adrienne Hill.

Currently, all four episodes are missing from the BBC Archive.


When the TARDIS arrives on the plains of Asia Minor not far from the besieged city of Troy, the Doctor is hailed by Achilles as the mighty god Zeus and taken to the Greek camp. He meets Agamemnon and Odysseus. Forced to admit he is a mere mortal — albeit a traveller in space and time — he is given two days to devise a scheme to capture Troy.

Steven and Vicki, meanwhile, have been taken prisoner by the Trojans. Vicki, believed to possess supernatural powers, is given two days to banish the Greeks to prove she is not a spy.


Temple of Secrets (1)[]

Outside Troy, two warriors, who reveal themselves to be Achilles and Hector, are engaged in a long fight. The warriors are so engaged in their battle that they fail to notice the TARDIS materialise behind them. For a protracted length of time, the Doctor and his companions observe the fight between the two men. Eventually, the Doctor decides to intervene. As he emerges from the TARDIS, he distracts Hector. Achilles uses this opportunity to kill Hector, much to the Doctor's anger. Achilles immediately assumes the Doctor is Zeus, citing his sudden appearance coupled with the fact that his presence seemingly aided him in killing his foe as proof positive. The Doctor plays along with this assumption to make Achilles feel guilty about slaying Hector. The Doctor tries to return to the TARDIS, which he refers to as his "temple", but Achilles pleads for the Doctor to stay in order to help them seek victory over the Trojans. While they are having this discussion, the Doctor and Achilles are interrupted by Odysseus. Achilles tells Odysseus that he killed Hector, but Odysseus is disbelieving. Achilles tells Odysseus to ask Zeus if he doesn't believe him. Odysseus pours scorn on Achilles' claim that the Doctor is Zeus and marches the Doctor back to camp, claiming that he is a Trojan spy.

Meanwhile, in the TARDIS, Vicki and Steven have watched the Doctor being led away. Vicki's ankle is still injured, so Steven ventures out alone to help the Doctor.

At the Grecian camp, Agamemnon and Menelaus are arguing about the cause of the war. Agamemnon states that if Menelaus had kept control of his wife or fought Paris, none of this would have happened. This discussion is interrupted by Achilles, who has beaten Odysseus to the camp and informs Agamemnon of his story. Agamemnon is doubtful. Soon, Odysseus arrives with the Doctor. Odysseus mocks the Doctor openly in front of all the men and claims that he is a spy. The Doctor tries to prove that he has omnipotent powers by using his knowledge of history. He tells Agamemnon that his wife is unfaithful to him, but Odysseus claims that everyone in the camp knows this. Agamemnon is unsure what to do. He cannot kill him if he is Zeus, but he cannot let him walk free if he is a spy. He decides to imprison the Doctor until such a time as a better decision can be made.

Outside the camp, Steven is in the undergrowth, sneaking past guards to try to track the Doctor down. Little does he know he is being followed by a one-eyed man. This one-eyed man, Cyclops, is in the pay of Odysseus and runs to his master to inform him of Steven's presence. Odysseus tracks Steven down and captures him. Steven claims he is a traveller, but Odysseus suspects he has something to do with the Doctor and plans on using him as a way of forcing the Doctor to reveal his true identity. Once inside the tent, Odysseus claims that Steven is a spy and asks the Doctor if he has ever seen him before. The Doctor says that he hasn't but knows, using his godly powers, that Steven is a traveller headed to visit his father. Agamemnon is not sure who to believe, but one thing is certain: no spy can be allowed to live. He asks the Doctor's advice. The Doctor says that Steven should be killed but only by the hands of Zeus tomorrow at his temple. A complication arises when Odysseus reveals that "Zeus' temple" has disappeared.

Small Prophet, Quick Return (2)[]

The next morning, the Doctor and Steven go to the plains with the Greeks to find out what happened. The TARDIS has indeed disappeared, but tracks lead off in the direction of Troy. Odysseus claims that this is the final proof that the men are spies. Menelaus calls upon the Doctor to sacrifice Steven as he had planned; the Doctor's protestations that he can only do it in his temple fall on deaf ears. Out of options, the Doctor finally confesses that he is not Zeus and that Steven and he are friends. Menelaus is furious at the Doctor's lies and leaves him to the mercy of Odysseus. Abandoning all pretence, the Doctor tells Odysseus the truth about how they arrived in Greece.

In the city of Troy, a crowd is gathering around the TARDIS which has been brought into the city centre by Paris. Priam asks his son why he is bringing back trinkets rather than seeking vengeance upon the man who killed his brother Hector. Paris tries to convince his father that his spoil of war is an important acquisition, but his case is not helped when his sister, the prophetess Cassandra, says that she has dreamed of a ploy devised by the Greeks whereby they seize Troy by hiding in a vessel which is willingly brought inside the city walls. It is decided that the TARDIS must be sacrificed to the gods by burning it. Inside the TARDIS, Vicki is watching this scene unfold and is terrified to hear that her life is in imminent danger.

By this time, the Doctor and Steven have fully explained how they arrived in Greece. Initially, Odysseus is furious, but he soon reasons that their story is too outlandish to be a lie. He puts the veracity of the story to the test by demanding that they use their knowledge of the future to help the Greeks infiltrate the city walls and seize Troy. Faced with very little choice, the Doctor and Steven consent.

Back in Troy, an altar has been placed around the TARDIS in preparation for its sacrifice. Just before the TARDIS is incinerated, Paris protests. Possessive over his find, he suggests that the gods may not want such an item sacrificed. Cassandra asks the gods to give them a sign if this is the case. Seizing this opportunity, Vicki exits the TARDIS, much to the surprise of the gathered Trojans. After questioning, Vicki states that she is from the future. The Trojans take this to mean that she is a prophet too, which annoys Cassandra. However, Vicki insists that she is literally from the future. Priam seems very fond of Vicki, whom he renames Cressida because Vicki doesn't sound like a very Trojan name. Troilus and Paris also seem fond of Vicki, but their feelings are of a more amorous nature. Paris tries to engage Vicki in conversation, but he is interrupted by Priam. Priam demands that he leave the city and fight Achilles, a task which he does not look forward to with any considerable relish. Priam and Vicki go into the palace to discuss her knowledge of the future.

Meanwhile, at the Greek camp, the Doctor and Steven are discussing ideas that they can offer to Odysseus for infiltrating the walls of Troy. Steven suggests the Trojan horse, but the Doctor rejects the idea. He claims that the horse is a ludicrous myth probably invented by Homer as a literary trope. Odysseus interrupts them to ask if they have concocted a plan yet; the Doctor replies in the negative. The Doctor presents Odysseus with some demands of his own: he will only help Odysseus if he can ensure that Vicki is safely carried away from Troy when the Greeks attack. Odysseus says that he cannot guarantee such protection due to the chaos of war. Steven suggests that he make the attempt to save Vicki himself. He proposes to disguise himself as a Greek soldier and allow himself to be seized as a prisoner of war by the Trojans. They will take him into Troy and, once inside, he will find a way to liberate Vicki. Odysseus admires Steven's bravery and gives him the uniform of Diomedes, a friend of Odysseus who had died the previous day. Steven thanks him and leaves. The Doctor asks Odysseus if he has ever considered flying machines as a means of gaining access to Troy.

Outside the city of Troy, Paris is calling for Achilles to come and fight. However, his "calls" are practically whispers as he desperately hopes that the famous warrior will not hear him; he knows he stands no chance against Achilles and dreads fighting him, but he must at least go through the motions of challenging him to maintain his honour. Much to his terror, his calls are answered by a man in a Greek uniforming claiming to be Achilles. However, Paris soon sees that the man is not Achilles and demands to know his true identity. It is actually Steven, but he tells Paris that he is Diomedes and has been sent on behalf of Achilles to fight him. Paris tries to wheedle his way out of the fight, but Steven is insistent. The two men fight until it looks like Paris is about to win. At that point, Steven yields the fight and admits that he has been thoroughly beaten by Paris. Playing up to Paris' ego, Steven says that he should have listened to everyone in the Greek camp who told him that Paris was a mighty warrior who couldn't be beaten. Paris excitedly asks if that is truly what the Greeks think of him. Steven confirms that it is, adding that he will tell anyone he sees of Paris' formidable skills from then on. Seeing an opportunity to improve his reputation in the Trojan camp as well as a way of further avoiding Achilles, Paris takes Steven into Troy.

In the palace at Troy, Vicki and Priam are enjoying a luxurious meal. Vicki inquires as to how he gets such succulent food; Priam responds that his cavalry often finds ways of bypassing the Greek siege. Vicki seems surprised that cavalries exist in ancient times. Priam states that horses are very important to the Trojans and have a religious significance. Vicki begins to talk about the Trojan horse, but they are interrupted by Paris, who is boasting of his prisoner. Priam is angered by Paris' invasion of his privacy as well as his allowance of a prisoner into the palace, but Paris insists that the prisoner must be seen. When Steven is brought in, both he and Vicki are so surprised to see each other that they say each other's names. Cassandra, who has been lurking in the background, takes the fact that Steven is dressed in the guise of a Greek soldier as proof that Vicki is a spy for the Greeks. She calls in the guards and commands them to kill Vicki and Steven instantly.

Death of a Spy (3)[]

Paris intervenes to save Steven and Vicki, stating that Steven is Diomedes and should be kept as a prisoner of war. Cassandra continues arguing with Paris. However, Priam is impressed by Paris' sudden show of strength. He sides with his son on the proviso that Vicki prove herself to be either a time traveller, as she claims, or a goddess, as some believe her to be, by changing the course of the war either through gained knowledge or through divine intervention. Vicki is given one day to prove herself or face death.

Back at the Greek camp, Odysseus is putting pressure on the Doctor to formulate a plan to infiltrate Troy. Desperate, the Doctor proposes his theory of flying machines, modelling his idea on a paper aeroplane that could be jettisoned with the help of a catapult. Odysseus is intrigued by this idea and informs the Doctor that he will be first to try this machine out. As a result, the Doctor is considerably less keen on constructing his invention. Whilst explaining the idea to Menelaus, Odysseus decides that the Doctor should join them. The Doctor is reluctant but has little choice.

In the cells of Priam's palace, Steven informs Vicki of the situation in which the Doctor has found himself at the Greek camp. Vicki becomes all too aware that she and the Doctor are now both employed by rival factions of the Trojan war; both have one day to help their respective sides succeed or face death. Their conversation is interrupted by Cyclops, who is standing at the prison bars. Cyclops is given a message for the Doctor. It asks the Doctor to delay an attack for two days so they are not killed. Their conversation is interrupted also, this time by Troilus, who has come to visit Vicki. The pair flirt. Troilus explains that he is disenchanted with the world of war and wishes to have a life of adventure rather than bloodshed. When Troilus leaves, Steven teases Vicki for flirting but encourages her to use her relationship with Troilus to their advantage later on if need be. He adds that hopefully, Cyclops will get his message to the Doctor and render such tactics unnecessary.

At the Greek camp, Odysseus has rallied his men round to create the Doctor's flying machine. Ironically, the Doctor now tries to convince him that it is not a feasible invention as he fears for his own life. Grasping for any alternative, he pitches the Trojan Horse to Odysseus, who immediately takes up the idea and orders his men to begin its construction.

On the outskirts of Troy, two guards are startled by Cyclops. One of them tries to stop him. Cyclops turns and runs, but he is struck dead by the other guard's arrow.

Meanwhile, the Doctor, Odysseus, and his men have gotten inside the Trojan horse. The Doctor is now very uncertain about his plan and tries to find an excuse to escape, but Odysseus does not relent. Soon they hear sounds from outside and see the Trojans start to congregate around the horse.

The following morning, Vicki is awakened by a jubilant Troilus. He explains that the war has come to an end and that the Greeks have sailed for home. Priam is hailing this as divine intervention on Vicki's behalf and has declared that her imprisonment is at an end. While Vicki is freed, Steven is left to languish. Not everyone believes that Vicki is the bringer of peace, however. On being received in the palace, Vicki is met by further hostility and scepticism by Cassandra. Cassandra warns Priam about Vicki, but he pays her no heed. Instead, he continues to celebrate, becoming even more joyful when Paris returns from the plains with good news: he believes that he has found the mythical Horse of Asia in the plains and he has had it brought into Troy. Everyone goes to the window to see the sight of the horse just outside Priam's palace.

Horse of Destruction (4)[]

Cassandra continues to rant and rave, saying that the horse is a sign of oncoming doom. Priam and Paris vehemently disagree, and the three begin arguing. Vicki slips away whilst they are distracted. Once they realise that she is gone, they assume she has gone down into the square to see the horse close up. Priam sends Paris out to get her. Cassandra lacks confidence in her brother's ability and sends a handmaiden by the name of Katarina to seek her out. Unbeknownst to any of the Trojans, Vicki slips down to the dungeon and releases Steven.

Inside the horse, the Doctor and Odysseus continue to argue. The Doctor is looking for any excuse possible to exit the horse early and not get involved in the melee that will ensue, but Odysseus threatens to kill him if he tries to escape. This silences the Doctor. Odysseus begins to show his ruthless side, declaring that he does not care if Menelaus and Agamemnon die as it will only mean more booty for him when Troy is sacked.

Steven and Vicki are in the main square of Troy. They are trying to avoid capture by the Trojans whilst also thinking of a way to reunite with the Doctor. Vicki sees Katarina looking for her amongst the crowd and Steven suggests they split up. Before leaving her, he warns Vicki that if she cares for Troilus, she needs to ensure that he leaves the city before nightfall. Once on her own, Vicki is soon caught by the Trojans. Cassandra accuses Vicki of releasing Steven, a charge she denies. It is decided that Katarina will escort Vicki.

Vicki and Katarina retreat to the palace where, eventually, Troilus comes to Vicki. Vicki convinces a reluctant Troilus to leave the city and search for Diomedes, protecting him from the Greek onslaught.

Night falls and the Greeks in the horse climb out. The rest of the Greek army masses outside of Troy's walls, waiting for the infiltrators to let them in.

As morning dawns, Troilus is searching for Diomedes, oblivious to his city's impending destruction. He comes across Achilles and challenges him to a fight. Achilles reluctantly engages in combat with him, and is slain.

Meanwhile, the Greeks are in the midst of sacking Troy. Cassandra reminds Priam and Paris that this is the fate she had prophesied. They are soon caught by Odysseus, who slays Priam and Paris and drags Cassandra away as a prisoner of war. The Doctor slips away during the melee.

Amidst the chaos, Vicki has convinced Katarina to take her side. She tells her to uncover Steven from his hiding place inside one of the temples. Whilst Katarina is gone, the Doctor is reunited with Vicki.

Steven is discovered in his hiding place by a Trojan warrior. The two men fight and Steven is victorious in defeating the Trojan. However, he is wounded badly. Katarina finds him and brings him back to the palace. Once reunited with the Doctor, they go into the TARDIS, but Vicki does not join them. Before the Doctor enters the TARDIS, he is confronted by Odysseus. The Doctor runs into the TARDIS which soon disappears, leaving Odysseus wondering if the Doctor really was Zeus after all.

Out on the plains, Troilus is looking upon the destruction of his native city. He wonders if Cressida has betrayed them and caused his city's doom. Whilst engaging in his dark speculations, he sees Vicki coming to join him. She perfunctorily explains that Diomedes is safe and that her friends have left her to go back to where they came from. However, she has elected to stay with Troilus. Troilus is initially disconsolate at the loss of his city, but the two soon declare their love. Moments later, Troilus' cousin Aeneas arrives with reinforcements, and Vicki says that this is how it is meant to be: they will rebuild Troy together.

Aboard the TARDIS, Steven is hallucinating and is very unwell. He is worried about Vicki. The Doctor explains that she asked to stay with Troilus in Greece. Steven loses consciousness. Katarina, however, believes that the Doctor is Zeus, the TARDIS is a state of limbo, and that they are all already dead. The Doctor assures her that this is not the case. His attention turns to Steven. The Doctor knows they need the right medication to save Steven and hopes their next landing will provide it.


This serial had a sizeable cast of background characters, extras, and stunt doubles that did not receive on-screen credit (all DWM 284).

Uncredited cast[]



  • Hector boasts about slaying Patroclus.
  • Menelaus says Agamemnon wants to take over Asia Minor, but only King Priam stands in his way.
  • Cassandra chides Vicki for claiming to practice prophecy without being a priestess.
  • Vicki and Priam eat breast of peacock.
  • Vicki is surprised that cavalry has been invented already.
  • Troy is a strategic position, their ancestors having come from central Asia.
  • Trojans worship horses, one of their gods being the Great Horse of Asia, which they think the Trojan Horse is.
  • Priam comments that Paris thinks he's Hercules.
  • While Priam and Paris are killed, Cassandra is reserved for Agamemnon, as are all highborn.
  • The Trojan War lasted for 10 years.
  • Cassandra tells Odysseus it'll be 10 years before he sees his home.

Story notes[]

  • Derek Martinus was the first choice to direct, but he was moved over to Galaxy 4 and Mission to the Unknown.[1]
  • Within the context of the DWU, the creation of Trojan Horse is an ontological paradox. The Doctor, Vicki, and Steven all know of the Horse; the Doctor specifically refers to Homer's account of the Trojan War, crediting Homer with "inventing" it for the story. Yet it is the Doctor who gives the idea to the Greeks, whose victory is then recounted by Homer, the ultimate source for the time travellers' knowledge of the Horse. In this context, the Doctor's later claim in Underworld that he didn't come up with the idea is technically accurate.
  • The working titles for this story were The Trojans, The Trojan Horse, The Trojan War and The Mythmakers. Working episode titles included "Zeus ex Machina" (episode 1) and "A Doctor in the Horse" or "Is There a Doctor in the Horse?" (episode 4), which Dennis Spooner liked because of them being puns. They were vetoed by the BBC, however, and only "Small Prophet, Quick Return" (episode 2) retained its humorous title thanks to Donald Tosh's insistence. "Death of a Spy" (episode 3) was always intended to have its more serious title, as if to imply Steven or Vicki would be killed as they were exposed for being spies in the previous episode. The title ultimately refers to Cyclops.[source needed]
  • All four episodes of this story are currently lost, but some material from them exists as 8mm home movie clips, shot by filming a television set during transmission.
    • For many years, two 8mm clips from "Death of a Spy" that depict the First Doctor stating "-wasn't part of the plan" and "-necessary, I shall only get in the way!" were mistaken as being from the scene in "Small Prophet, Quick Return" where the Doctor and Steven confess to Odysseus that they are time travellers. This mistake was finally corrected in 2017 by Twitter user and fan Mister_Rhys, years after the Lost in Time boxset and Loose Cannon reconstructions had been produced with the clips in the wrong place. It is also possible that the clip of Vicki leaving the TARDIS with a sad look on her face believed to be from "Small Prophet, Quick Return" is actually from "Horse of Destruction", depicting her departure from the Doctor and Steven during the destruction of Troy.
  • This is one of the least documented stories, with very limited film and photographic material existing. However, it is one of the easiest stories to listen to on audio — possibly due to Donald Cotton's writing background in radio.
  • William Hartnell was struck and injured by a camera during the filming of "Temple of Secrets" and sustained a bruise to the shoulder.
  • 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.[1] 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".
  • William Hartnell was unhappy making this serial. His health had begun to deteriorate, with his arteriosclerosis making it more difficult for the actor to remember his lines. Furthermore, Hartnell was unhappy by what he saw as the Doctor's diminished role in the scripts. He feared that he was being upstaged by prominent guest stars, including Francis De Wolff and especially Max Adrian.
  • Peter Purves named this as his favourite story.
  • Both Cavan Kendall and James Lynn received minor injuries filming the fight scene between Achilles and Troilus, forcing remounts of some scenes.
  • For timing reasons, there was an exchange between Vicki and Katarina in "Horse of Destruction" that was cut. The two discuss how Katarina came to serve as a handmaiden, and in the process, Katarina reveals that recent auguries have foretold her imminent death.
  • A half-page article titled Doctor Who and the Trojan War was published in Radio Times (cover dated: 16-22 October 1965) to tie-in with the start of the story.
  • The Radio Times programme listings for "Small Prophet, Quick Return" to "Horse of Destruction" credit "Max Adrian as King Priam".
  • The Radio Times programme listing for "Death of a Spy" was accompanied by a small black and white head-and-shoulders profile shot of Max Adrian (King Priam), with the accompanying caption “Max Adrian, distinguished actor and revue artist, plays King Priam of Troy in Dr. Who at 5.50”.
  • 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.
  • Francis De Wolff wore the same costume as Agamemnon as he had worn as Agrippa in Carry On Cleo. (HOMEVID: Frances White's Loose Cannon Productions introduction to The Myth Makers)
  • Donald Tosh found some humour in writing Vicki out as a Shakespearian character, as Maureen O'Brien was always complaining about the scripts and getting annoyed when he wouldn't change her dialogue. "It isn't Shakespeare, you know", she complained.
  • According to the BBC’s Audience Research Reports, viewers were dissatisfied that the Trojan Horse was only seen briefly on screen in "Horse of Destruction". The action sequences were also criticised: “it was said (once) that the descent of the Greek soldiers from the Horse was anything but speedy.”[2]
  • Colour photographs of the original Trojan Horse prop from this story exist, but they were taken years after production by David J Howe.[3]
  • William Hartnell and Peter Purves were both unhappy that Maureen O'Brien was leaving, while Donald Tosh felt that her exit could have been handled better.
  • Donald Cotton originally omitted Paris from his script.
  • Originally, Steven and Vicki were freed by Priam after the horse was brought into Troy. They used Morse code to make contact with the Doctor. When the Greeks burst out of the horse, the Doctor and Steven reclaimed the TARDIS, but Vicki returned to the palace to recover a memento given to her by Helen. There she witnessed Priam nearly defeat Achilles in battle, only to be slain by Odysseus.
  • The element of Steven being wounded was added at the request of Terry Nation, who planned to make use of the development in the first episode of The Daleks' Master Plan.



  • "Temple of Secrets" - 8.3 million viewers
  • "Small Prophet, Quick Return" - 8.1 million viewers
  • "Death of a Spy" - 8.7 million viewers
  • "Horse of Destruction" - 8.3 million viewers


  • William Hartnell refused to appear in scenes with Max Adrian as he was Jewish and gay. (It is pure coincidence that the two did not appear in any scenes together.)
  • Frances White, who played Cassandra, was not credited on-screen. (She was credited on-screen for the episodes in which she appeared, but was uncredited in Radio Times. Although it has been claimed this was at her request, White has since denied this in an interview for Loose Cannon Productions. Her omission from the programme listings was actually an oversight on the part of Radio Times.)
  • No footage from "Death of a Spy" exists. (Two brief clips from this episode in which the Doctor says the lines "That wasn't part of the plan" and "That will not be necessary, I shall only get in the way" were misidentified on the Lost in Time DVD box set as being from "Small Prophet, Quick Return".)

Filming locations[]

  • Frensham Little Pond, Surrey (Troy landscape)
  • Ham Polo Club, Middlesex (Model shot filming)

Production errors[]

If you'd like to talk about narrative problems with this story — like plot holes and things that seem to contradict other stories — please go to this episode's discontinuity discussion.

to be added


Home video and audio releases[]

External links[]