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Irreverant History

By:David Layton, Los Angeles, United States
Date:Thursday 22 June 2006
Rating:   7

The first of Donald Cotton's irreverant takes on history is much better than the lamentable "The Gunfighters." Here, since not much is known about the actual Trojan War, Cotton can play with events, using realism to undercut the epic. Character reactions are very much like readers' reactions to The Iliad. Cassandra is annoying and everyone but her thinks so. Good stuff, that. On the other hand, there is also a severe problem in the plotline involving Vicki. First, of course, we have the love at first sight bit, which is rarely convincing, and less so given the thousands of years of knowledge separating Vicki from Troilus. Second, there is what we know happens to the Trojan women after the fall - most are sold into slavery and prostitution. Having the couple escape with Aeneas's party just is not convincing. Third, the various stories involving Troilus and Cressida make it clear that Cressida is older than Troilus, a widow, and ultimately betrays him to save herself the fate that befalls the other Trojan women. Probably, it would have been better to have Vicki leave in the midst of The Daleks' Masterplan, and save the weird Katarina interlude.

Another story that suffers...

By:Matthew David Rabjohns, Bridgend, United Kingdom
Date:Sunday 3 October 2010
Rating:   7

What worries me here is the Doctor seems to be on the wrong side. The camp of troy is the one under seige, and yet here the Doc is, giving the greeks the idea of attack! And this then leads to the slaughter of the Trojans. Most remiss of Donald Cotton. The Doctor doesnt usually help the idiots!!! This is a very major failing in this story for me. The only hint we ever get of the true loathing of evil by the good Doc is his timid lambasting of the leader of the raid on Troy.

Yes, again this is a story that has one major fault that lets it down, for in all other ways this story is engaging and memorable. Maureen O Brien seems to give her swansong all the gusto within her. It is her here who takes on the mantle of the real moralist, as the Doc seems to be having a bad off day. And the introduction of Katarina at the end is a surprise and not a mistake. It would have been so much nicer if she had lasted longer than just two stories. She was played to perfection by Adrienne Hill. She was compassionate, brave and trustworthy, all the best ingredients of a companion. What were the BBC thinking in only keeping her on for so short a time?

And the cast is of a very high order indeed. The characters are all well characterised and believable, all except the Doctor, even if he is mistaken for a God.

And again Peter Purves shines, given more to do as with the Massacre. And I imagine the wooden horse was actually quite a great design for the BBC at the time. But its still the Doctor's oh so different stance within this tale that is the most tainiting and damaging thing about it...Sad again.

Mostly enjoyable

By:Sofia Fox, Hale, United States
Date:Tuesday 21 May 2019
Rating:   8

but loses its value without the visuals.

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