Doctor Who: The Myth Makers

Doctor Who: The Myth Makers November 10, 2011

The Doctor Who episode The Myth Makers witnesses the TARDIS and its occupants arriving near ancient Troy, which had been at war with Greece for ten long years. Achilles and Hector are fighting and after Hector insults the gods of Greece including Zeus, and so when the Doctor suddenly emerges from the TARDIS, he is mistaken for Zeus by both of them!

This is an episode from which all parts are missing, but the audio has survived and can be listened to in audiobook form, with added narration to help the listener follow the action. The scripts are also available online.

The Doctor ends up among the Greeks, while the TARDIS, with Vicki inside, ends up in Troy. The Doctor is forced to come up with a way for the Greeks to finally take the city, and initially the Doctor suggests creating gliders to fly Greek soldiers over the walls. But he soon realizes this will not work, and so – even though he had earlier dismissed the story of the Trojan Horse as something most likely made up by Homer – he suggests the making of a giant wooden horse, in which Greek soldiers may hide.

The episode is on the whole comically entertaining.

It is interesting to note that this episode of Doctor Who aired before the Star Trek episode “Who Mourns for Adonais?” which likewise suggested that the Greek gods could have been aliens mistaken for deities.

Later episodes such as “The Daemons” from the Jon Pertwee era would explore further the idea that classic human gods were aliens.

Does anyone know what the first science fiction story was that suggested something along these lines?

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  • GakuseiDon

    From the transcript, I thought this was interesting:

    ACHILLES: If you had appeared to me in your true form, I would have been
    truly blinded by your radiance. It is well known that when you come amongst us
    you adopt many different forms.

    (The DOCTOR is beginning to like this.)

    DOCTOR: Oh, do I? (chuckles)

    On gods actually being aliens or something similar: There is a collection of stories called “Anton York, Immortal”, by Eando Binder, written about 1939, where the protagonist finds out that the Greek gods were actually immortal scientists from Atlantis.

    There is also CS Lewis’ “Silent Planet” trilogy, where the planet controllers were both gods and actual aliens!

  • Just Sayin’

    Of course, Star Trek stole the Cybermen from Doctor Who and made them into the Borg . . .

  • And they got away with it because resistance was futile…

    • Just Sayin’

      And note how Patrick Stewart pronounces “futile” (i.e. properly!).

  • The theme of course goes back at least to Acts 14:8-20, but then that’s not science fiction, indeed not fiction at all. I have also heard of modern examples of this really happening, at least if “alien” is taken in the sense of “foreigner” rather than of “extraterrestrial”.

    • You can go much farther back with the Nephilim in Genesis 6:4. Of course, Zeus has been disguising himself among humans for thousands of years …

  • The Morning of the Magicians, by Louis Pauwels and Jacques Bergier in 1960, had “ancient astronaut” ideas (the ancient Gods were space aliens) that predated and inspired those of Erich von Däniken (Chariots of the Gods) and Robert Charroux (One Hundred Thousand Years of Man’s Unknown History).

    Unfortunately, these men were touting pseudo-science rather than science fiction.

    • No need to reawaken this post, Jim. I was bouncing around your site and just realized I commented on a post that was over a year old!

      • Well, why shouldn’t you comment on a post that is over a year old? One great thing about internet discussions is that they don’t need to take place according to any particular time frame!