Click here to return to the main site.

Audio Book Review

Book Cover

Doctor Who
The Myth Makers


Author: Donald Cotton
Read by: Stephen Thorne
BBC Audio
RRP: £17.99
ISBN: 978 1 405 68765 2
Available 07 April 2008

Long, long ago on the great plains of Asia Minor, two mighty armies face each other in mortal combat. The armies are the Greeks and the Trojans, and the prize they are fighting for is Helen, the most beautiful woman in the world. To the Greeks, it seems that the city of Troy is impregnable and only a miracle can bring them success. And then help comes to them in a most mysterious 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...

Following a number of Third and Fourth Doctor talking books, BBC audio has decided to go for an earlier story - or a later one, depending on your point of view. Though the original Myth Makers serial was transmitted in 1965, Donald Cotton’s novelisation of his own scripts did not appear until two decades later, in 1985.

It was worth the wait. One of the more unusual novelisations, the tale is conveyed as though narrated by the poet Homer (but using modern-day language). It is the first novelisation to be written as a first-person narrative since the very first one, Doctor Who and the Daleks. This literary device allows the reader (and now the listener) to take with a pinch of salt any aspects of the story that stretch credulity too far, in terms of either Greek history or Who mythology. For example, the Doctor gets well and truly caught up in historical events, which isn’t his usual style or that of the series.

Perhaps by way of tipping the wink about this being an unreliable narrative (or perhaps it’s simply a mistake), Cotton mixes up the character backgrounds of Steven and Vicki with those of earlier and later Hartnell companions, Ian, Barbara, Ben and Polly. Homer claims that the Doctor is trying to get Steven and Vicki to 1960s Earth, a place where they might settle down. Steven, like Ben Jackson, is anxious to return to his (space) fleet, though he displayed no such yearning on TV.

Humorous turns of phrase abound, such as when, for example, Homer accurately predicts that someone (i.e. Shakespeare) will one day rip off his work. Witty chapter titles include “Temple Fugit”, “Small Prophet, Quick Return” (which was originally the title of the serial’s second episode) and “Doctor in the Horse” (which is based upon an episode title vetoed by the BBC back in 1965, “Is There a Doctor in the Horse?”).

Though the reader, Stephen Thorne, has no direct connection with the original serial, having played none of the characters therein, his boisterous tones are perfect for relating this tale of overblown legendary heroes and villains. This is, after all, the man who portrayed the mighty Azal in The Dæmons, the egotistical Time Lord pioneer Omega in The Three Doctors (“A hero? I should have been a God!”) and the similarly shouty Eldrad in The Hand of Fear.

The Myth Makers is well worth taking Homer - er, I mean, home.


Richard McGinlay

Buy this item online

We compare prices online so you get the cheapest deal
Click on the logo of the desired store below to purchase this item.

£10.79 (
£10.49 (
£17.99 (
£13.49 (
£12.99 (
£17.09 (

All prices correct at time of going to press.