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3 April 2013

Will Brooks’ 50 Year Diary - watching Doctor Who one episode a day from the very start... 

Day Ninety-Three: Temple of Secrets (The Myth Makers, Episode One)

Dear diary,

It's not a particularly original thing to say, but crikey this isn't half a tonal shift coming from Mission to the Unknown. It seems like such a culture shock to have spent an episode in an alien jungle, with Varga plants and Daleks, alongside a whole host of alien delegates… to suddenly find yourself on the plains of ancient Troy, where a couple of chaps are having at each other.

That said, it's the kind of trick I can imagine the new series pulling - two people from history engaged in battle, when one asks for a sign from the gods, and the TARDIS arrives, right in the middle of the battlefield! That's a more elaborate way of showing the events here (the narration on the soundtrack describes the pair as 'not even noticing' the blue police box. Hm, somewhat less impressive).

And then you've got the Doctor being mistaken for Zeus. It's quite fun, and I like how amused the Doctor is by this notion, especially considering the way that Barbara used a similar situation for her own ends two seasons ago. I like the way he pretends not to know Steven, but suggests that he be taken to his 'temple' (the TARDIS) for his execution, promising to show those who don't believe in him a miracle.

Otherwise, you could be forgiven for assuming that this episode was setting up a holiday for Maureen O'Brien. Having taken part in the early TARDIS scenes, Steven asks her to remain behind in the ship… and we don't hear from her again! Most unusual. I'm guessing that she'll have a bigger role to play in the next episode, though, now that the 'temple' has gone missing.

Now, I have to admit, I'm not particularly well-versed in my ancient Greek mythology, and so much of the stuff in this episode (and indeed through the rest of the story) is likely to go right over my head. I have to admit that there were parts of today's instalment that left me a little cold - longing for a Dalek, even! I dread to think how kids reacted in 1965, getting only a single week of the pepper pots before being plunged into such dense history, but I'm keeping an open mind. I've herd plenty of good stuff about this story in the past, so I'm hoping that it delivers!

Next Episode: Small Prophet, Quick Return


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