The Abominable Snowmen

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‘Oh no, my mistake. The great hairy beastie, it’s the Doctor.’ Jamie

30th September – 4th November 1967

The Memory Cheats

The two surviving episodes from this story and The Web of Fear were either on ‘The Troughton Years’ VHS or on my BSkyB tape. I cannot remember which though neither can I remember much about watching them. I do remember how I thought the Yetis in the 1973 special looked cute and I hoped they would come back. They did not, although they did become only the third monster to reappear 12 episodes later. I have seen The Web of Fear recon but I am new to this story.

The Time Space Visualiser

Jamie has quickly lost his annoying traits from early stories such as the Moonbase and has quickly become the Jamie I remember from the existing Troughton stories. Victoria is settling in too. It seems strange that Katrina and Anne were thought of as characters that would need too many explanations to be tenable as companions, yet here we are with a Victorian lass and a Highlander.

The Yeti are quite a good concept but they are too cuddly to be scary and their little legs are adorable. The monks however are meant to be all peaceful and are actually quite aggressive. There are mysterious spheres that roll around beeping, yeti that just seem to stand there and more aggressive monks. Travers complains that they are shy and elusive creatures, yet they seem to be everywhere.

It takes a while for the tale to get going. The one saving grace in the early episodes are the scenes with Padmasambhava. His creepy voice reminds me of Geoffrey Beavers Master. He does go all a bit whispery when possessed by the Great Intelligence. The make-up is rubbish though, even allowing for the time the story was made.

The need of the Great Intelligence for the Yeti is rather puzzling. Firstly they seem to charge around rather aimlessly not really doing anything. Yet when he wants something done he just hypnotises a monk. And why did he hang around building them? Could he not have released the foam when he first got there? It would have saved him an awful lot of time and it would not have taken six episodes.

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Catchphrase Error of the Week

The Doctor in episode 3 says ‘let’s get me coat.’ Nearly right but everyone knows it’s ‘I’ll get me coat.’

He also says, ‘Bung a rock at it.’ Everyone knows it’s ‘Throw a rock.’

Notable Firsts.

An unseen hand moves pieces on a board. Hello Borusa.

The Doctor uses hypnotism. Not quite the ‘These aren’t the droids you’re looking for’ of Battlefield, nor Kokleda partha mennin klatch but it works for Victoria.

The Yeti come back almost immediately and the Great Intelligence survives to do battle again with different snowmen, though equally as abominable.

Ohm mani padme um.

Innuendo Bingo

1:30 Episode 1

Jamie: I don’t fancy another tangle down the Cybermen’s tomb.

2:21 Episode 4

Jamie: Here, you’re giving me the willies.

18:45 Episode 5

The Doctor: I don’t think I dare probe too deeply!

Unprovoked Angry Retort of the Week

Jamie says he is used to the cold and Victoria snaps back that it is the Himalayas not the Highlands. Alright Geography girl. Just a minute ago you thought you were in India!

Cliché Counter

The Doctor arrives, somethings going wrong, let us blame the Doctor. In fact, let us keep suspecting him even long after it is obvious that it is not him!

Foam is back!

Fascinating Facts

The mask worn by the actor playing Padmasambhava is, in fact, the same one used by Kevin Stoney as Mavic Chen and Michael Spice as Weng-Chiang. When the BBC filmed its war drama, Tenko, they were going to use it for one of the prison guards. Unfortunately it had been damaged in storage.

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 The 500 Year Diary

6th September 1935 pm

We’ve landed in Tibet where we’ll get the welcome of a lifetime from the Det-Sen monastery. Was here 300 years ago and managed to er… acquire the Holy Ghanta. Also gives me the chance to wear that lovely big brown coat. However, I get the feeling we’re being watched so go off to prepare the way. I tell Jamie and Victoria to stay put. It will be a miracle if they listen!

On the way I find the remains of a camp and a dead body. Decide to take the abandoned rucksack with me. Well that was a mistake because as soon as I arrive the monastery, this Professor Travers accuses me of murder and I get locked up! So much for the warm welcome.

Travers approaches me in the cell. He thinks I’m a sabotaging journalist trying to get a scoop on the Yeti – the Abominable Snowmen! I can’t believe the Yeti would be responsible for any violence, they’re naturally timid. So I’m stuck in this cell with a 100 foot drop beneath the window.

6th September 1935 eve

So I’m on trial. I don’t like trials. They always make me feel like something awful about to happen. Anyway, I’m found guilty by the monks and tied to the monastery doors to lure the Yeti out! However, Thomni saves me.

The Yeti do attack and are overpowered. As I thought, they’re robots, being controlled by spherical unis in the chest cavity. However, this particular Yeti’s sphere is missing!

Oh and Jamie and Victoria didn’t stay put. Probably just as well, they would have frozen to death on that mountain. Odd there’s no snow though – there was on the scanner!

7th September 1935 am

Things are improving in terms of my relationship with the monks, particularly Khrisong who was initially rather gruff.  Think he’s rather overwhelmed by the situation and now he wants my help.  Anyway, need some equipment from the TARDIS to help solve the situation.

7th September 1935 pm

When we get to the TARDIS, there is a Yeti on guard. I have a cunning plan – bung a rock at it! We have the sphere which starts to move towards the Yeti. Jamie saves us by thrusting a rock into the chest cavity. Good thinking! On the way back, we’re confronted by five Yetis so we have no choice but to give up the sphere.

Back at the monastery, the monks have decided to stay, despite the risks.

7th September 1935 eve

Padmasambhava, the Abbot, is still alive! After 300 years! This is very concerning. I go to confront my old friend. He tells me about this Great Intelligence who he encountered on the astral plane. The poor man seems to be exhausted. On the point of death.

Victoria’s acting very strongly. She keeps repeating herself that we’re in great danger and we must leave. It’s all part of the plan to get us to leave. Manage to hypnotise Victoria out of this control (and get Jamie to fall asleep at the same time!)

Travers tells me about the cave and the pyramid that’s there. Songsten was there too. He’s the link between the cave and monastery. We need to end this before they get too powerful.

7th September 1935 night

Songsten has killed Khrisong – a sad state affairs for men of peace. We manage to overpower him and I manage to convince the monks to leave for their own safety.

Under great pain, I distract Padmasambhava which means Jamie and Thomni can smash up the equipment that’s controlling the Yetis. On the destruction of the pyramids, the Great Intelligence is defeated, the Yetis become dormant and my old friend Padmasambhava dies in my arms, peace at last.

So another enemy defeated and we return to the TARDIS with Travers who rushes off when he sees a real Yeti. Jamie wants me to take us somewhere not so cold next time. Let’s see what I can do!

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The Five Word Lords

Overlong, good story, great acting.

Artwork: BBC Novel Doctor Who The Abominable Snowmen


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