Number : Season 5, serial 2 of 7
Which One : The Yeti.
Cast : The Doctor : Patrick Troughton
Jamie : Frazer Hines
Victoria : Deborah Watling
Professor Travers : Jack Watling
Padmasambhava : Wolfe Morris
Songsten : Charles Morgan
Khrisong : Norman Jones
Rinchen : David Grey
Thonmi : David Spenser
Sapan : Raymond Llewellyn
Ralpachan : David Baron
Written By : Mervyn Haisman & Henry Lincoln
Produced By : Innes Lloyd
First UK Broadcast : 30 September – 4 November 1967.
Length : 6 x 25 minute episodes.
Plot : The Doctor visits a Tibetan Monestary, in 1930. A place he had visited before – and he finds the monks there; under siege by giant Yeti; controlled by a malevolent alien intelligence.
Whats good : The Yeti. The creepy first appearance of the possessed Padmasambhva. Travers. The UK location – cleverly doubles for the Tibetan foothills.
Whats bad : It is at least 2 episodes – too long.
Review With Spoilers : The Abominable Snowmen is the second serial of season 5 – and features the first classic turn by the Yeti – in the first of two bridged stories (this and “The Web Of Fear“).
The Tardis materialises, in 1930’s Tibet; Where the Doctor discovers a monastery he has visited before. The monks are scared and under-siege by huge Yeti. The Doctor senses a malevolent presence, controlling them; and the Yetis turn out to be super-strong robots.
The Abominable Snowmen, marks the first appearance of the cult monster; the Yeti. Surprising that they are so fondly remembered after only 3.5 appearances – in this, The Web Of Fear, The War Games(cameo) and The Five Doctors.
They are at their most effective, stomping about on the (UK stand-in) Tibetan foothills – in the dark and murdering people, in their camps; as they sleep. Or harrassing the monks, at the local monastery.
“They’re here! Somewhere on these mountains.The Yeti! The Abominable Snowmen!” Travers
Most of the effectiveness of The Abominable Snowmen, resides in episodes 1,2,3 & 6. Whilst the overall adventure, feels a little too stretched out – for a 6-part story. It would benefit from a few cuts – to make it a sprightly 4-parter, instead.
There is a great deal of expositional dialogue, which takes place in the Monastery. At times it doesn’t feel like The Abominable Snowmen balances the more slower paced talky expositional scenes, with the action – very well.
Apart from the Yeti, the Yeti’s ‘controller’; ‘The Great Intelligence’ – is masquerading as the Monastery leader; Padmasambhava. Is a chillingly effective moment, presented as an individual – with a weird contorted face. This makes for a chilling cliffhanger, at the end of episode 4.
Victoria/Deborah Watling’s (actual) real-life actor father; Jack – makes an appearance here – as Professor Travers. Travers is on a scientific expedition, to hunt down a real Yeti – and mistakes the Doctor’s party for a rival Yeti hunting outfit. Travers cleverly features again – as an the same older character in The Web Of Fear
So despite a by-the-numbers story, which maudles – a bit too long on excessive dialogue. The real stars here are the Yeti. Such a simply designed but effective monster. Ready to take their (rightfully earned) place – in the “Monster Era” of Patrick Troughton’s reign.
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