Saturday, 28 October 2017

178 The Abominable Snowmen: Episode Five

EPISODE: The Abominable Snowmen: Episode Five
TRANSMITTED: Saturday 28 October 1967
WRITER: Mervyn Haisman & Henry Lincoln
DIRECTOR: Gerald Blake
PRODUCER: Innes Lloyd
RATINGS: 7.2 million viewers
FORMAT: CD: Doctor Who: The Lost TV Episodes Volume Four(1967)
TELESNAPS: The Abominable Snowmen: Episode Five

"Doctor! There is great danger. You must take me away. Take me away. Take me away!"

Padmasambhva beckons Victoria in but she is startled when sees the Yeti gameboard. He hypnotises her, then moves four Yeti models into the area of the map showing the courtyard of the monastery. Travers regains conciousness but is still rambling about what he has seen. They hear the roar of the Yetis marauding through the monastery, as the Doctor takes a reading on his device. Rinchen is searching for Victoria when he comes across two Yeti who knock the Buddha statue down crushing him. The damage done Padmasambhva moves the Yeti back to the mountain. He takes control of Victoria and sends her out with the Ghanta to speak to the monks who he instructs to leave the monastery and for their visitors to be freed. When the Doctor is reunited with Victoria she repeatedly tells him that there is danger and they must flee. Deducing she has been hypnotically programmed he goes to see Padmasambhava, who he met on his previous visit 300- years previously when he was entrusted with the Ghanta. Padmasambhava tells him how he encountered the Great Intelligence on the astral plane before seemingly dying. However when the Doctor leaves he opens his eyes and comes back to life. The Doctor regresses Victoria hypnotically and removed the commands she's been given. Leaving her with Jamie, the Doctor and Travers journey up the mountain to take another reading. As they travel and hide from Yeti, Travers begins to feel a sense of deja vu. The Doctor realises from his reading that Padmasambhava is responsible for their flight as Travers finally remembers about the cave and the glowing substance emerging from it.

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I'm sorry if you're getting bored with me saying this every episode but I'm loving this story. It's got better for me each time I've listened to it. One of the reasons for this is the sound on the story: from the lovely echoey noise in the Monastery, the wind on the mountainside and the two different tones used by Padmasambhava it all just works nicely. Backing that up we have no music giving the story an eerie quality that no other has.The monks you'd expect to be quite similar but the main ones are easily distinguishable just from their vocal characteristics.

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It helps that there's an existing episode early on that shows most of what's in the story giving you a decent visual reference. About the only things you don't see in 2 are Padmasambhva and his sanctum: my vision of what they looked like was completely different to the reality of the telesnaps for this episode.

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The main creative forces behind this story are new to the show. Mervyn Haisman & Henry Lincoln had started writing together relatively recently and this is their first joint television credit. Lincoln has had an interesting career post Who, co writing a controversial book The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail that was the basis of the best selling novel The DaVinci code. One book I have (and let's name names: It's About Time volume 2) credited Haisman with creating the Onedin Line but the interweb says that was Cyril Abraham but Haisman served as a script editor on the show.

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Gerard Blake has a massive television directing CV which includes the now missing Out of the Unknown episode Liar, four episodes of Survivors, Genesis, Gone to the Angels, Spoil of War and Revenge and two episodes of Blake's 7 The Harvest of Kairos and Death-Watch. He would eventually return to Doctor Who over ten years later to take charge of the Invasion of Time in 1978. His gap between directorial assignments for the show is the largest in the original run of Doctor Who.

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