The Abominable Snowmen

REAL TIBETANS

Authors Henry Lincoln and Mervyn Haisman named some of the Tibetan characters in the story after real Tibetans from history. One such real character was Padmasambhava who lived in the eighth century and founded Buddhism in Tibet.

ENTER THE YETI

This story marks the first appearances of the Yeti and their controlling, formless master, the Great Intelligence. Both would return only a few stories later in The Web of Fear. A single Yeti would also make a guest appearance in the celebratory story, The Five Doctors in 1983 and a cameo appearance in the final episode of The War Games. More recently, the Doctor fought the Great Intelligence in the 2012 Christmas Special, The Snowmen.

MUSIC OF THE SPHERES

The Abominable Snowmen is the first Doctor Who story not to feature any traditional incidental music. Instead, we hear quite a lot of monastic chanting, setting the scene for the Detsen monastery.

NO PLACE LIKE FOAM

When the Great Intelligence begins to take on its physical form, it appears to be in the shape of a large quantity of white foam. In fact this is the first of several occasions in which the Second Doctor would come up against foam in one form or another. This was due to the fact that the BBC special effects department had acquired a wonderful foam making machine and were clearly keen to use it as much as possible. Most notably, foam crops up in The Web of Fear, Fury from the Deep and The Seeds of Death.

UNTOLD TALES

The Doctor reveals that he previously visited the Detsen monastery in the 17th century when he was given the holy ghanta bell to take care of when the monastery was raided. On this first visit, he also met Padmasambhava, prior to his domination by the Great Intelligence.

REAL YETI

Although the Yeti in this adventure are revealed to be robots constructed to do the bidding of the Great Intelligence, Professor Travers does apparently catch site of a real Yeti at the close of the story.

CARRY ON YETI

The location filming for The Abominable Snowmen took place in Wales where, unfortunately, there was very little actual snow. Two weeks prior to the arrival of the Doctor Who production team, the film Carry On Up the Khyber had been filmed at the same location.

IN THE FAMILY

Professor Travers was played by prolific actor, Jack Watling, the father of Deborah Watling who played companion, Victoria.

DVD AND AUDIO RELEASE

Only the second episode of The Abominable Snowmen survives in the BBC’s archives along with a few short clips from other episodes. Both the episodes and the clips were released on DVD as part of the Lost in Time box set in 2004. The full audio soundtrack, with accompanying linking narration by Frazer Hines, has been released on CD and for MP3 download by BBC Audio.

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