OVERALL EPISODE NUMBER: 174
STORY NUMBER: 038
TRANSMITTED: Saturday 30 September 1967
WRITER: Mervyn Haisman & Henry Lincoln
DIRECTOR: Gerald Blake
SCRIPT EDITOR: Peter Bryant
PRODUCER: Innes Lloyd
RATINGS: 6.3 million viewers
FORMAT: CD: Doctor Who: The Lost TV Episodes Volume Four(1967)
TELESNAPS: The Abominable Snowmen: Episode One
"The Yeti were so rarely seen. Timid. Then, suddenly, they become savage. Did we not wonder why? Did we not wonder what or whom had brought this change? "
High on a Himalayan mountain the explorer Edwards Travers sleeps in his tent. He is awoken by screams, and calls for his fellow explorer John. Emerging from the tent he is confronted by a furry creature that twists his rifle and throws it away as Travers flees. The Tardis has landed in the Himalayas: The Doctor is pleased to be back in Tibet and looks for The Ghanta, a holy bell left with him many years ago. The Doctor steps outside in a huge fir coat. Jamie finds a scimitar in a chest which he's taken with before mistaking the Doctor for a hairy beast when he sees him on the monitor. Victoria finds the Ghanta, but the Doctor is concerned by a huge footprint he finds outside the Tardis. The Doctor leaves Jamie & Victoria in the Tardis as he takes the ghanta to the Det Sen monastery. The Doctor is observed on his journey by a giant hairy beast. Jamie & Victoria get bored and go outside to explore. The Doctor finds the remains of Travers' camp-site and John's body. Jamie & Victoria find the huge footprints and follow them. The Doctor arrives at the Monastery, now carrying Travers rucksack, and finds it seemingly deserted. He enters, standing before a Buddha statue where he's ambushed by a group of warrior Monks. Travers is with them and, seeing his rucksack, is convinced the Doctor murdered his friend causing the Monks to seize him. Their leader Khrisong imprisons him. Victoria & Jamie have followed the tracks to a cave. While inside something rolls a boulder across the exit sealing them in. Travers comes to see the Doctor accusing him of wanting to steal his discovery: He believes he is near to finding the Yeti. The Doctor suggests that Yeti attacked Travers but he says they are shy, timid creatures. The Doctor points out he hasn't the strength to do the damage Travers attacker did. Krisong, Rinchen and Sapan discuss if the Doctor is responsible for the deaths of John and 4 of their brothers when they had previously thought the Yeti responsible. Khrisong decides to put the Doctor to the test. Jamie & Victoria enter a chamber which has a pyramid of silver spheres in it but they are cornered by the creature that has returned: It is a Yeti which snaps Jamie's sword in two.
Every so often Doctor Who wanders off and successfully raids older sources for ideas. Having done "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" and "Curse of the Pharaohs" in recent stories we now get onto The Abominable Snowman. That instantly implies the Himalayas giving us the setting, and when you throw a British explorer in then you've virtually got the first episode written for you. This episode sounds OK without being anything special but better is to come and fortunately we can get a decent idea of what it looks like as there are telesnaps and the next episode, featuring many of the settings in this one, exist and is out on DVD!
There's a marvellous little scene between the Tardis crew to start the episode:
DOCTOR: I don't believe it. Marvellous. After all this time.Nope, I've not got a clue what the item he's found is either!
JAMIE: Oh, what's so marvellous about that?
DOCTOR: Well, don't you see, Jamie? It's the Himalayas. And I do believe we're in exactly the right. Now, wait a minute.
JAMIE: The Hima - what?
DOCTOR: Shush. Shush.
VICTORIA: The Himalayas, Jamie. They're mountains.
JAMIE: Aye, I can see that. Hey, is it the Earth, Doctor? I don't fancy another tangle down the Cybermen's tomb.
DOCTOR: Shush, Jamie, shush. Yes, of course it's the Earth. Yes, yes, I think I'm right. Yes.
JAMIE: Where are these mountains?
VICTORIA: Don't you know where the Himalayas are? They're in India. Well, at least I think so.
DOCTOR: Yes, that's it! I knew it, I knew it. It's incredible. Right. Oh no. No, not India. This is Tibet. That's where we are, Tibet. Now, there's no time to be lost. Come along, Jamie, we must find the ghanta.
JAMIE: The what?
DOCTOR: The ghanta, the ghanta. I put it here somewhere. Come along, Jamie, help me.
JAMIE: Hey, what am I supposed to be looking for?
DOCTOR: I told you it's. Good Lord, I haven't seen that for years.
JAMIE: Oh, that's the ghanta then?
DOCTOR: No, no, no, no. It's a. Well, whatever it is, it's nice to see it again.
The telesnaps don't preserve the Ghanta in the missing episode one but fortunately we see it clearly in episode two:
As was becoming quite common for Doctor Who a large set was constructed for the story and here it appears to be the main courtyard in the monastery. The telesnaps afford us a clear view right the way across it from the main doors on the left to the statue of Buddha on the right.
This is Doctor Who's first onscreen association with Buddhists and Buddhism, although the story makes it clear that the Doctor has visited Det Sen monastery before. Buddhist themes will become more common in the Third Doctor's era when Barry Letts, a practising Buddhist, produces the program.
Our brief view of the Tardis gives us a look at a couple of the power station panels that seem to have appeared inside it:
The one on the left is completely new, I can't find another picture of that anywhere. There's one in the middle which is impossible to see because it's obscured by the monitor. The one on the right I'm pretty sure is one of the ones which appeared in The Faceless Ones in the Chameleon Tours Hanger.
Cast as the explorer Edward Travers is actor Jack Watling whose daughter Debbie was already working on Doctor Who playing The Doctor's companion Victoria Waterfield. Watling has an an extensive acting CV but Doctor Who is the only thing I can really remember him in. Casting my eye down his list of roles I know I've seen Hancock: The Lift where he plays The Producer, and I will almost certainly have see him in Bergerac, created by Doctor Who author Robert Banks Stewart where he plays Frank in four episodes in the early 1990s. I know I have every episode of Jeeves and Wooster on DVD so I must have his appearance as Lord Wickhammersley in The Purity of the Turf
Extensive location filming is undertaken for this story at Nant Ffrancon Pass in Snowdonia, North Wales.
The area had previously served as the location for Carry on up the Khyber, also fictionally set within the Himalayas.
While on location first time Doctor Who director Gerald Blake took some colour cine film of the location and the cast.
This location film can be found as a special feature on the Doctor Who - Lost In Time DVD which also features the existing part 2 of this story!
The audio of a trailer for this missing Episode also exists: it can be found on The Tomb of the Cybermen DVD, part of Doctor Who Revisitations 3 where it plays over the selection screen for the episodes.