Doctor Who (Patrick Troughton) – The Abominable Snowmen


Robot Yeti!?! And the first appearance of the Great Intelligence are featured in this 6 part story that was written by Mervyn Haisman and Henry Lincoln. It ran from 30 September to 4 November, 1967.

The Doctor (Troughton), Jamie (Frazer Hines) and Victoria (Deborah Watling) find themselves in Tibet (that looks more like the Highlands) in the year 1935. The Doctor is delighted to be back there and sets about digging through trunks and closets to locate a bell, which he apparently removed the last time he was there in the 1600s. This features a fun moment, when Jamie finds a set of bagpipes amongst the clutter, and says he can fix them, to which the Doctor replies, he was afraid of that. There are a number of these types of fun moments in the this episode, including one where the Doctor guides Victoria away from Jamie, when the young Scot reveals he has a plan.

While the Doctor heads off to the monastery to check in on the monks, and return the bell, Jamie and Victoria, against the Doctor’s wishes, of course, have a bit of a look around, and find themselves menaced by a yeti, which to me, looked like a furry, no-eyed version of Grimace. The Doctor is imprisoned after an explorer, Travers (Jack Watling), seeking evidence of the abominable snowmen, believes the Doctor murdered members of his expedition. After he encounters Jamie and Victoria, he realizes the error of his ways, and the foursome, sometimes aided, and sometimes thwarted by the warrior monks in the temple, seek to capture a yeti (learning its mechanical) and figure out what is really going on here.


The Doctor learns that the master of the temple, whom he last encountered centuries ago, is still there, a frail and ancient form named Padmasambhava (Wolfe Morris) who reveals that he encountered an entity on an astral plane, and allowed it to conduct experiments… it is referred to only as the Great Intelligence.

When the Doctor learns what is really going on and who is using these robotic yeti and why, he and his companions struggle to set things right, and the aged Padmasambhava is finally allowed to die But until then, there will be trances, attacks, quick thinking and yes, even the occasional running.

There seems to be only one complete episode that has actual video, the rest were, sadly, reconstructions again, which is too bad, once again, as it would have been a delight to see the Doctor running about, especially bundled up in his big furry coat, which of course, added to him being mistaken for the killer of Traver’s team member. The beginning of this story, may in fact be my favorite of the entire series so far, because it’s just so fun, and inherently what we’ve come to expect of Doctor Who, funny, fast-paced, little asides, odd dialogue, and everyone trying to catch up to the Doctor.

Next week, for the very first time, the Doctor encounters the Ice Warriors!





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