Doctor Who: The Abominable Snowmen (S05E038)

; Date: 2008-10-24 20:46

Tags: Doctor Who

Back to Tibet we go except it was probably really the Scottish Highlands in disguise. We have here a most interesting adventure about myth. The Doctor, Jamie and Victoria land in Tibet and its too cold even for Jamie's bravery and he ends up wearing a jacket despite his Highlander blood. The wimp. The adventure involves an anthropologist / explorer hunting the elusive Yeti, a monastery full of Tibetan Monks, and space aliens bent on destruction. Oh, and the Doctor gets to return a holy relic, a Ghanta, to this monastery which he had visited 300+ years before. The Monks have been hoping their Ghanta would return all these years and they're somewhat happy to have it back but for the attacks from the Yeti.

There's a whole lotta mistaken identity here with most of the story having the Doctor and friends being accused of various things such as killing the anthropologists friend. It does get cleared up but not before the Doctor spends awhile cooling his heels in their equivalent of the hoosegow. I mean, how many times is the Doctor going to be arrested anyway? Seems that every third story he's being arrested over something or other.

The space aliens are not revealed until late in the story. What we first encounter are Yeti, then we encounter metal spheres, and then we learn the spheres are some kind of activation units that turn on the Yeti, and that the Yeti are in actuality robotic. Hurm.. these aren't the real Yeti but some kind of fake. There is obviously someone controlling the Yeti Robots, right? We eventually learn that the spiritual master of the monastery, said to be Padmasambhava (but can't be the real Padmasambhava), had encountered this entity while on the Astral planes and that this entity was using Padmasambhava's body to conduct an "experiment". But the experiment with these robotic Yeti has gone awry.

The Great Intelligence is this entity, and it is able to hypnotically control people.

In a great battle the Doctor and some helpers are able to destroy pyramids of spheres and other control equipment that were used to control the Yeti. Unfortunately the monastery is also destroyed in the battle and the monks are told to flee.

One of the story's conceits is that the Doctor had previously visited its location, in an earlier untelevised adventure. Although a few earlier stories contain passing references to the Doctor's unseen exploits (for example, The Celestial Toymaker), this is the first story where the Doctor's previous (unseen) knowledge of the setting and its characters are crucial to the story's development.

The North Wales mountain pass at Nant Ffrancon doubled as Tibet for the filming of this serial.... okay, it wasn't in the Highlands.

About the Author(s)

David Herron : David Herron is a writer and software engineer focusing on the wise use of technology. He is especially interested in clean energy technologies like solar power, wind power, and electric cars. David worked for nearly 30 years in Silicon Valley on software ranging from electronic mail systems, to video streaming, to the Java programming language, and has published several books on Node.js programming and electric vehicles.