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The Myth Makers

Although this 1965 story is completely missing, we investigate some of its many mysteries...



16 October – 6 November 1965

On 3 August 1965, William Hartnell recorded an interview for Desert Island Discs. He spoke of Verity Lambert twice. “My producer,” was how he prefaced her in the first instance. Later, he told host Roy Plomley: “They’ve pretty much given me carte blanche [on Doctor Who], and as a matter of fact, Verity has said, ‘When the time comes we will give you a bath-chair, free.’ I said, ‘I might take you up on that one day!’”

Here’s what’s odd about that. Although he was referring to Lambert’s involvement in the present tense, she’d left Doctor Who two months previously.

Maybe Hartnell was under the misapprehension she was on a secondment. Or maybe he was wheeling out a metaphorical Trojan Horse, whose deadly cargo would reveal itself three weeks later when his episode aired on the BBC Home Service, and John Wiles – his actual producer – was listening in.

If it was a covert attack intended to undermine his new boss, then, unlike the one at the siege of Troy, it didn’t mark the cessation of hostilities. Instead it was the commencement of a bitter war of attrition that raged fiercely through August and September, and the production of the four-part ‘high comedy’, The Myth Makers.

South African-born Wiles had come to Doctor Who with some reluctance. A gifted writer and script editor, he saw the role as more an administrative, rather than creative, duty. “A producer is a desk person,” he’d told DWM in 1983. In regard to this particular appointment, he sensed expectations were for him to simply maintain a going concern. However, in his career to this point, he had demonstrated a high-minded aspiration for drama.

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About Doctor Who Magazine

Contents include: John Hurt interview; the War Doctor on audio; Steven Moffat answers readers' questions; Feature – The story of Doctor Who videogames; Comic Strip – Theatre of the Mind written and illustrated by Roger Langridge; A tribute to Anthony Read; The Fact of Fiction – The King's Demons; Time Team – The Beast Below; Missing in Action – The Myth Makers; Relative Dimensions; Wotcha; Reviews and Previews; Crossword