The abominable snowmen (1967)
About this serial
This was a six-part serial, first broadcast between 30th September 1967 - 4th November 1967. The serial was written by Mervyn Haisman and Henry Lincoln, produced by Innes Lloyd and directed by Gerald Blake. The script editor was Peter Bryant.
What I've seen:
Episode two. The other five episodes are lost.
Accompanied by Jamie and Victoria, the Doctor visits a Tibetan monastery in order to return a sacred bell that had been given to him for safekeeping during an earlier visit. The Tardis crew don't receive the warm welcome that they expect. The abominable snowmen of the title - the yetis that have always lived peacefully in the mountains surrounding the monastery - have turned into killers, and evil lurks in the monastery's inner sanctum...
The good news:
- It's a good, unusual story.
- Episode two works surprisingly well as a stand-alone episode. It's not too difficult to get at least some idea of what's gone before - the Doctor has been locked up by the monks, who've grown distrustful of strangers, and Jamie and Victoria were separated from the Doctor and have just escaped being killed by a yeti - and in episode two we get a great deal of plot development. We see the Doctor return the sacred bell and learn about his earlier visits, we learn about the yetis' changed behaviour and discover a possible explanation, and we find out that the abbot is under the influence of something that lurks in the monastery's inner sanctum. Although with four more episodes to go there's no plot resolution, the episode does end with a nice cliff-hanger.
- The sets, costumes and location work are excellent.
- There are good performances by both regulars and guests.
The somewhat less good news:
- The yetis are too cute to be believable foes. Then again, so are grizzly bears.
- There's the usual 'Asian characters being played by white actors' thing that was common in the 1960s, though in this case there's no glaringly obvious yellow-face makeup.
The bottom line
Another singleton that's worth seeing.