Tuesday 17 May 2011

176 The Abominable Snowmen: Episode Three

EPISODE: The Abominable Snowmen: Episode Three
TRANSMITTED: 14 October 1967
WRITER: Mervyn Haisman & Henry Lincoln
DIRECTOR: Gerald Blake
PRODUCER: Innes Lloyd
FORMAT: CD: Doctor Who: Abominable Snowmen
TELESNAPS: The Abominable Snowmen: Episode Three

The Doctor works out that the Yeti's control unit was dislodged in the fight but Khrisong won't let him go outside to find it, nor will he let Travers leave to search for the Yeti. Victoria, seeing the shape of the chest cavity, wonders if the sphere they found in the caves was a control sphere too, sparking a search for the missing sphere. Ralpachan hasn't seen it but he did let Travers out of the Monastery after he said Khrisong had given him permission. Sapan has constructed a "spirit trap" round the immobilised Yeti, which Abbot Songsten congratulates him on while Khrisong and Rinchen argue as to whether the Yeti should have been brought inside. Khrisong is furious when the Doctor arrives and tells him Travers has left. The Abbot falls into a trance and is summoned by Padmasambhava, and this sparks Victoria's curiosity when she finds out that none of the monks have ever seen the elderly master who dwells in the monastery. In the sanctum Padmasambhava moves a Yeti model on a map to join two more. Outside Travers sees two Yeti joined by a third. Padmasambhava believes the Doctor may endanger their plan: he moves two Yeti models to the Monastery, mirrored buy two Yeti who come down off the mountain. Khrisong is searching for the Control Sphere outside the gates and find it buried in the mud but the two Yeti arrive, attacking him and retrieving the sphere. The Doctor humorously comments
They came to get their ball back!
while in his sanctum Padmasambhava observes that
It would seem that the Yeti have caused some little upset at the gate
before dispatching the Abbot to go to meet the Yeti. He gives him a glass pyramid
Take it to the caves. Then the Great Intelligence will focus upon this planet. Soon it will begin to grow and at last take on physical form. At last its wanderings in space will be at an end. My work will then be done
Khrisong says the sphere emitted a sound and the Doctor realises they can track the signal. Khrisong gives the Doctor & Jamie leave to fetch the equipment from the Tardis. They leave without telling Victoria who searches for them. She makes her way to the inner sanctum as the missing sphere edges towards the captured Yeti. Songsten hypnotising Ralpachan and so passes through the gate unobserved. Padmasambhava sends uses his hypnotic tone to send Victoria away. She returns to the room with the Yeti in just as the sphere reaches it activates the robotic beast.

Episode 2 looked good, but 3 sounds even better. I'd love t see this one! We now have a clearer idea what's going on: The Yeti are robots controlled by Padmasambhava who using the Abbot. Padmasambhava serves the great intelligence who wants to come to Earth and gain corporal form. But the Doctor, Travers and the Monks know none of this and suspicion passes from the Doctor to Travers to elsewhere as the Doctor tries to gain the monk's trust. Sapan's description of the robot Yeti as "a devil with his armour on the inside" is a fantastic one, and the concept of the game board map with miniature figurines controlling the Yeti is a striking image and one that will be recycled later in the show's history.

Amongst the cast we have to start with a famous name who's *NOT* in the story Ralpachan is played by David Baron. "David Baron" is the stage name of playwright Harold Pinter. These are not one and the same: Pinter abandoned the use of the Baron name to perform under in 1959. Norman Jones is perhaps the most familiar face to Who fans in the credited cast returning as Major Baker in Doctor Who and the Silurians and Hieronymous in The Masque of Mandragora, while Abbot Songsten is played by Charles Morgan and returns as the Gold Usher in director Gerard Blake's other Doctor Who story The Invasion of Time.

However amongst the extras in this story we've got Pat Gorman. He's already been in Doctor Who as an Alien Delegate in Mission to the Unknown and a soldier in The War Machines and I failed to mention him in either appearance! He's an uncredited walk on here, so presumably one of the monks. His future credits include a Cyberman in The Invasion, a Military Policeman in The War Games, the Silurian Scientist in Doctor Who and the Silurians, a Primord in Inferno, the Auton Leader in Terror of the Autons, a Primitive, the Voice, Long, and a Colonist in Colony in Space, a Sea Devil in The Sea Devils, a UNIT soldier in The Three Doctors, a UNIT Corporal in Invasion of the Dinosaurs, a UNIT soldier at the start of the bizarre episode long chase in part 2 of The Planet of the Spiders, a Thal Soldier in Genesis of the Daleks, a Soldier in The Masque of Mandragora, a Medic in The Invisible Enemy, a Pilot in The Armageddon Factor, and as uncredited as Grogan in Enlightenment. He may well have been in more episodes: spotting Pat Gorman is a popular game amongst fans and DVD commentary participants!

Four of the Cybermen in the previous tale, Tomb of the Cybermen, are back as a different monster in this story: John Hogan, Richard Kerley, Tony Harwood & Reg Whitehead are the four actors who play Yeti in The Abominable Snowmen. Interestingly none of them return as Yeti in their second appearance, The Web of Fear, but another former Cyberman from the Moonbase, John Levene, is inside a Yeti there!

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