The Abominable Snowmen
This story is not known to exist in its original format
(6 black-and-white 25-minute TV episodes)
in its entirety.
See below for episodes available
on DVD / video
||CD Audio - 2 discs
|(Doctor Who Story No. 38, starring Patrick Troughton)
- written by Mervyn Haisman and Henry Lincoln
- directed by Gerald Blake
- produced by Innes Lloyd
- featuring library monk chants
- 6 episodes @ 25 minutes each
Story: The Doctor has a holy relic to return
to the Detsen Monastery in the Himalayan mountains
of Tibet, but the monks are suspicious. Mysterious
attacks have become more frequent, and the European
Professor Travers suspects the Doctor of sabotaging
his expedition to find the elusive Yeti: the Abominable Snowmen.
Have the Yeti shed their timid reputation? Is the monk
leadership unwittingly playing into the attackers' hands?
And what kind of creature have Jamie and Victoria run into
in a mysterious mountainside cave?
In-Depth Analysis Review
by Martin Izsak
WARNING: This review contains "SPOILERS", and is intended for
those who have already seen the program.
To avoid the spoilers, read the
Buyers' Guide version instead.
More monsters, more monsters..... The Doctor Who production team
came up with another set of winners in the Yeti, and many of the
best moments of this story involve the Doctor and friends discovering
exactly how they work, with respect to their control spheres,
their Voodoo-like miniatures, and the disembodied Intelligence
that is slowly taking control of the members of the Monastery.
While the script treats the TARDIS fairly and introduces
the series' characters and concepts adequately, the police box does
not seem to get fair treatment coming or going, visually or audibly,
landing with the sound still in the wrong direction and at half-speed
for no apparently good reason. Thankfully, the TARDIS is not ignored
during the rest of the story, as the treasure-trove of gadgets in
its interior make a return journey to it one of the essential
elements keeping the plot moving. A pity that no interior scenes
appear on the TV version in the middle episodes, as the Doctor and
Jamie's breakfast scene in Terrance Dicks' novelization always
seemed to be such a nice, elegant touch for the series.
The plot elements are firmly based on a strong formula, but
they get stretched a little too thinly for a six-parter, which
results in a pace much slower than the ideal. Although we still
get a good interesting story, most season five tales can out-strip
"The Abominable Snowmen" in this area.
There is a near total absence of any music in the story, apart
from some recordings of Tibetan Monk chants (officially termed
source music instead of incidental music) or Brian Hodgson's control
sphere bleeping (officially termed sound effects even though it makes
the atmospheric contribution that incidental music should). Many
other scenes are begging for a little music to audibly magnify the
suspense expertly conveyed in the visuals, but are left bone bare,
like unfinished pieces of footage.
Add up the slow pace, the stretched-thin plot, the lack of
musical atmosphere, and the hypnotic qualities of both versions
of the Padmasambhava's voice and the voices of his dutiful monk
followers, and the effect is truly hypnotic and sleep-inducing.
Lullaby time! At least the Yeti are capable of waking one up
with a bit of crash and bang now and then, and the story is full
of many interesting elements. Appreciation of this story requires
more effort on the viewer's part to take and maintain an active
interest in the goings on, but those who do this will largely
have their efforts rewarded with a satisfactory tale.
Professor Travers is not a very likeable character in the
early episodes, but he comes around later on. Despite having
a chance to work with his daughter Deborah, Jack Watling's
performance does not appear to be altogether inspired in this
story. It does improve as the story progresses and Watling
becomes more familiar with his character.
Victoria gets to do some of her very best in this story,
as she has many scenes of dealing with the Monks all on her
own, proving she has as much initiative, ingenuity, and knack
for getting in and out of trouble as any good Doctor Who companion.
The Doctor and Jamie fit their hero and sidekick roles in their
usual exemplary fashion, adding a bit of humour to the works.
A typical outing for the pair of them.
In the monk world, Khrisong is about the only one who
stands out. Although the character's antagonism is motivated
a little too thinly to last as long as it does, Norman Jones
turns in an excellent portrayal, doing what he can to keep the
drama fresh. By the time episode six rolls around, Khrisong
is one of the Doctor's most likeable and valuable allies, and
one can very wholeheartedly root for and care about him.
"The Abominable Snowmen" is good but slow, rating at about
the same level as last year's
"The Moonbase" (story no. 33).
Like the Cybermen, the Yeti have proven good enough for a return.....
Coverage on The Abominable Snowmen includes:
||Doctor Who: Lost in Time - Patrick Troughton
2 DVD discs
(also included in Lost in Time Boxed Sets)
More details & buying options for "Lost in Time" DVD's
- Episode 2
- (with optional commentary
by actress Deborah Watling (Victoria Waterfield),
and moderator Gary Russell)
- Yeti clips from episode 4 (silent, 11 sec.)
- behind-the-scenes location footage (colour, no sound, 3 min.)
This audio CD set features the complete audio tracks of all
6 television episodes of this story, narrated by
actor Frazer Hines (who also played Jamie McCrimmon)
to help listeners follow what used to be visual aspects
of the story.
is playable in any normal audio CD player.
Coverage on The Abominable Snowmen includes:
More details & buying options for missing episode VHS videos
||Doctor Who: The Troughton Years
introduced by Jon Pertwee
1 VHS video tape
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