This is another enjoyable release in the range of audiobook versions of the Target range of DOCTOR WHO novelisations first released in the 1970s and 1980s. THE MYTH MAKERS was one of the later entries in the range and is a rather loose adaptation, by the original author, of his own television episodes, but they are adapted in such a way that I think he in many ways manages to improve upon them. Whilst it is undoubtedly the early Target novelisations that were amongst the strongest in the entire range, this release certainly gives them a run for their money.
Basically, the story is told from the point of view of the aged and blind poet Homer, reworking parts of his works late in his life. In earlier versions of his tales, he realises that he completely failed to mention the part the occupants of a certain Blue Police Box played in the fall of Troy, and now he wants to set the record straight. Or maybe he's just decided to "reimagine" his early works to maximise his profits...? Whatever the reason, when The Doctor (in white-haired old man mode), Steven and Vicki emerge from one of Zeus's portable temples at a crucial moment in the battle between Hector and Achilles, events start to unfold at a rapid pace and (after the dismissal of other notable plans) a certain legendary horse tends to reluctantly become a racing certainty of playing a pivotal role in history.
You might have been led to believe that the early years of DOCTOR WHO are a little slow and humourless, but this version is far from either, as it positively rattles along over its 4 CD running time and Donald Cotton has fashioned an amusing and witty take on his original that in many ways surpasses it. At times this is just very, very funny, and any student of the classics would find a lot to enjoy in this jolly spin on the usual myths and legends with its knowing nods and winks towards other literary works and some of the most excruciating puns you're ever likely to come across.
Stephen Thorne narrates in a jaunty and avuncular manner and his various characterisations - with the occasional Somerset (?) burr - employed throughout are great fun. Actually it is his performance that really makes this release. His Doctor Who performances (Azal in "The Daemons; Omega in "The Three Doctors") tended towards the "booming evil villain" end of his range, so his approach here is a rather pleasing revelation.
By the way, if you do want to experience the original version of this story, the television version is probably lost forever, but the audio soundtrack CDs of the original episodes have been released by BBC Audio. However, that release also is rather unfortunately titled "Doctor Who - The Myth Makers", so you'd better be sure which version you're after when you order.