Saturday, 16 February 2013

The Abominable Snowmen

Who can doubt the existence of the Yeti?  Many who have encountered the animal do not realise what they have seen, hence talk of mythical creatures.  Those who have never encountered it – in other words, most people – allow themselves to drift into the realms of fantasy.  In a time when resuscitated dinosaurs prowl our televisions, it matters little if the animals on the screen really exist.
-  Reinhold Messner, My Quest for the Yeti


Me:  Shall we explain where we’ve been?

Him:  No.

Me:  Right.  So, The Abominable Snowmen.  First one of Series Five proper, because Tomb of the Cybermen was held over from Series Four.

Him:  Oh.

Me:  Here we go.

Him:  How many more Patrick Troughton’s are there?

Me:  Complete ones?

Him:  No, in general.

Me:  Not sure off the top of my head.

The Him checks.

Him:  Thirteen.  Including The Abominable Snowmen.

Me:  This is probably the trickiest series to get through.

Him:  Because not much exists?

Me:  Yeah, but when we’re through The Wheel in Space it’ll be plain sailing.  Mostly.1  Shall we?

And we’re off.

The opening doesn’t mess about.  First, there’s a fire - we’re on a mountain at night – someone screams, waking Edward Travers (although, strictly speaking we just know he’s a chap in a hat right now).  There’s a lot of shuffling and bumping – the mountain sounds particularly woody – and more screams.  It’s very effective, but wouldn’t make any sense at all without the Frazer Hines narration.

Travers stumbles off into the darkness as an UNKNOWN MASSIVE ANIMAL drops a gun, by now nothing more than a modernist sculpture, into the titles.

Me:  That was pretty good.

Meanwhile, in the TARDIS, our chums are looking at postcards of the Himalayas.  The Doctor is extremely excited about this, as you can imagine, and declares he needs to find a ghanta.  Victoria explains what a mountain is to Jamie, who makes a comment about ‘Cybermen’s tombs’ to remind viewers what’s what.

The Doctor opens a massive chest and starts pulling things out and making a right mess by the sounds of it.  A baffled Jamie joins in.

The Doctor removes something.

Man at V & A.

Jamie:  That’s the ghanta then?

The Doctor:  No, no, no.  It’s a…  Well.  It’s a-

Him:  “A Sensorite chair.”2

There’s an unexpected chilling moment as Jamie discovers some bagpipes.

Me:  Oh God.

The Doctor agrees and the bagpipes are abandoned to wander the endless corridors of the TARDIS until they either starve, or become something’s lunch.

Him:  But…  The Doctor wanted Jamie to teach him to play the bagpipes.

Me:  You sure?

Him:  I definitely remember that.

Me:  Fair play.

Him:  “I bet I could write ‘Nell Gurgle’.”

Me:  That’s obscure.  Even for us.

The Doctor reveals that the ghanta in question is in fact a type of religious bell.  This one, like a Welsh rugby player, is quite small and has a dragon on it, unlike the massive fur coat the Doctor’s just found. 

The Doctor:  Yes, it’s just the thing for this climate.

Me:  “Made of Yeti, you know.”

The Doctor:  I think I’ll go and have a scout around.

The Doctor declares that the ghanta’ll act as a kind of Tibetan Get-Into-Monasteries-Free card.  He then leaves Jamie and Victoria to frootle themselves something warm and furry.

Jamie pulls out a huge scimitar and starts waving it around.  Victoria, making quite a meal of it, steers the scanner around, trying to see where the Doctor’s got to.  Instead, she discovers something that quite puts the willies up the young Scot.

Jamie:  A great sort of hairy beastie!

Luckily, it’s the Doctor.  These moments feel in no way like padding.

Meanwhile, in Wales, the Doctor is making his way down the hilly mountain toward the monastery.  Spotting a footprint in the mud, he pauses for a closer look, unaware he’s being observed by a shadowy figure from behind a newspaper.

Back in the TARDIS, Victoria’s found the ghanta (in a ghanta bag) and the padding continues.  Jamie makes a declaration that probably caused Frazer Hines some discomfort during the location filming.

Jamie:  I’m a Highlander.  The cold doesn’t affect me.

Me:  Told you.

The Doctor returns.  He’s somewhat distracted and tells our young chums to stay in the TARDIS and not touch anything, while he pops down to the monastery we now know as Detsen.

Carrying the ghanta bag, the Doctor follows the trail of enormous muddy footprints for a short distance.  Something huge and hairy observes him from behind its copy of the North Wales Echo.  Changing his mind, the Doctor turns and continues down the hill.

Me:  This was the first time Doctor Who was filmed in Wales.

Him:  But it’s cold and icy.

Me:  You’d think.  It’s actually all a bit Welsh-mountainy.

Him:  Giant Red Kites carrying people off?

Me:  And rain.  Lots of rain.

The Doctor finds an abandoned tent, the modernist sculpture from the titles and a body.

Jamie and Victoria disobey the Doctor and leave the TARDIS.  Instantly, they come upon the footprints.  Victoria is shocked, but manages to retain her composure and not emit a sonic blast.

Me:  “Aye, Victoria.  That is a big one.”

Meanwhile, the Doctor arrives at the monastery.

The Doctor:  *knock knock*

Don’t make the gag…

The Doctor:  *knock knock*

Don’t do it…

The Doctor:  *knock knock*

Must - stay - strong…

The Doctor:  *knock knock*

Sulking a little at the fact that no-one got the joke, the Doctor opens the smaller, unoiled gate set into the monastery’s massive door.

Me:  That’s a fine sound.

The Doctor steps through and into-

Me:  And that’s a great set.

After staring at Buddha for a bit, the Doctor tries starting a conversation.  Behind him, some monks (and Travers) sneak in and position themselves carefully.  When they’re ready, one at the back pushes the unoiled gate closed.  The Doctor jumps.

Khrisong – a monk with an intriguing moustache - asks the Doctor what he’s after.

Travers interrupts the exchange by playing his bonus Mistaken-Identity plot card.  It’s an old move, but still a classic.

Me:  One of the dangers of wearing a Yeti fur-coat.  PETA better not see that.

Him:  “It’s the only explanation that fits all the facts.”

The Doctor’s coat, with our hero trapped inside, is taken away to await the findings of the CSI: Detsen team.

Victoria and Jamie have followed the tracks of the UNKNOWN MASSIVE ANIMAL to a cave mouth.  Encouragingly, it’s not littered with bones, heads and bits of adventurer but Victoria’s after the benefit of the full time-travelling explorer package and wants to go in.  Jamie notices some wood and creeps cautiously forward to get a better look.  Joists are supporting the roof of the cave – suggesting it’s not been carved-out by the tusks of some UNKNOWN MASSIVE ANIMAL after all.  So, that’s alright then.

Jamie ventures in, whilst Victoria – her earlier sightseeing enthusiasm beginning to wane – waits outside and starts warming her lungs up.  When she’s good and fretful, some UNKNOWN MASSIVE ANIMAL hoves into view.  Scurrying into the cave to protect Jamie, Victoria prepares to unleash a devastating sonic blast.  This plan is scuppered when the UNKNOWN MASSIVE ANIMAL - and his friend – roll a boulder across the cave mouth, sealing our chums in like a salad in Tupperware.

The Doctor’s making the most of his imprisonment by practising his standing jumps.

Him:  Ha!

The Doctor has moved onto acrorobics next, and tries balancing on a stool.

Him:  This reminds me of Mr Benn.

Me:  Fair enough.

Him:  The way it moves.  And the commentary.

I should explain about Mr Benn here, just in case anyone’s wandered in who doesn’t get the reference.  Oh well, life’s full of disappointments.

Travers pokes his head through a massive hole in the cell door.

Me:  That’s Deborah Watling’s dad.

Him:  Uh-huh.

Convinced that the Doctor’s a journalist, Travers indignantly introduces himself.

Travers:  Oh, yes.  You laughed at me in the press, didn’t you?  ‘Travers the Mad Anthropologist’.

Me:  That’s quite a title.

Him:  It is.

Warming to his theme of him, Travers launches into a well-prepared grumble about the gutter-press that wouldn’t have been out of place at the Leveson Inquiry.  As the declamatory spittle starts to fly, the Doctor admits he’s baffled.

The Doctor:  ‘Finding them’?  Finding what?

Him:  Jamie and Victoria managed to find the Yeti in just a few minutes.

Me:  And you’ll notice that neither of them have a camera.  Tch.

The Doctor and Travers engage in a shout-to-the-deaf about the personality traits of imaginary beasts.  Reason doesn’t enter into it.

Elsewhere, Khrisong and Rinchen – a monk who doesn’t boast quite so verdant a facial plumage – are also arguing about the way the imaginary beasts up the hill have suddenly gone rogue.  It’s like an evening at the theatre.  Speaking of which-

Me:  And none of these people are Harold Pinter.

Him:  They’re all Harold Pinter?  Who’s he?

Me:  That’s right. Everyone in this story, apart from the regulars and their immediate families, is played by Harold Pinter.

The Pinters decide to ask the Abbot if they should kill the Doctor or not, but first: prayer.

Him:  “Llamas!”

Me:  Not that sort of llama.  You’ll notice none of these have beaks for eating honey.

Him:  That’s true.  And we don’t know if they can swim.

As the monks shuffle away, Khrisong decides it’s time for a cliff-hanger.

Khrisong:  I, Khrisong, will ACT!  Bring me the prisoner.

Meanwhile, Jamie and Victoria are still trapped on the wrong side of the boulder like an UNKNOWN MASSIVE ANIMAL’s packed lunch.  Jamie spots something…

Frazer Hines:  …an unearthly pyramid of glinting silver spheres…

Me:  That was the working title for the very first story.

With less than a minute to the cliff-hanger, Victoria notices that one of the UNKNOWN MASSIVE ANIMAL is returning.  Victoria clenches her fists tight and prepares to let fly with a sonic blast – even though in a space this tight it’s more likely to turn Jamie to cranberry jelly than save him…

Not willing to risk sonic-jellification, Jamie pushes Victoria to one side and faces the UNKNOWN MASSIVE ANIMAL (Harold Pinter) that’s lurching towards him.  Gritting his teeth he prepares to hug it until one of them bursts.   

Victoria:  EEK!!!


Me:  Pretty good.


Me:  Movement!

Jamie dislodges one of the joists mentioned earlier and half-a-mountain lands on the UNKNOWN MASSIVE ANIMAL, leaving only a claw poking out of the rubble.  As the dust settles, our chums look around the cave.  Victoria’s attention is caught by the unearthly pyramid of glinting silver spheres.

Him:  Something must be laying these eggs.”

Jamie helps himself to an egg, and then notices that the tunnel isn’t completely blocked after all.  Victoria’s a trifle hesitant.

Him:  Go on, move.

The UNKNOWN MASSIVE ANIMAL obliges, startling our heroes.  They rush out of the cave and onto location.

Back in the monastery, the Doctor’s passing the time playing his recorder.  Thonmi (Harold Pinter) arrives with a massive stick, which suggests he’s getting as fed up with listening to Twinkle Twinkle Little Star as several million British infants did in compulsory music classes.

Distracting the Doctor, Thonmi helps fill in some back-story.  The monastery is under siege (hooray!).  The Yeti have been ganging up on the Monks recently – sitting on several as they were gathering berries, things like that.  The Doctor lets slip that he’s visited before.  He asks Thonmi how the 1630 attack finished – which suggests either his memory’s playing up, or he left early.  Thonmi basically confirms this – that was when the ghanta was ‘borrowed’.

Me:  Oops.

Thonmi insists on taking the Doctor to talk to Khrisong (Harold Pinter).  The Doctor drops hints that he’s got a present for the Abbot, but Thonmi – having been living on a steadily depleting diet of rationed berries – isn’t exactly the hairiest scalp in the display case, and spends so long making a confused face that Khrisong turns up, sighs, and orders a couple of Pinters to take the Doctor to the gate.  After they leave, a tiny lightbulb comes on above Thonmi’s head.  He lifts the yak-hair mattress and finds the ghanta.  Totally perplexed by this odd discovery, he dashes off to find a grown-up. 

Meanwhile, Jamie and Victoria are trying not to fall down a hill whilst a Yeti wobbles behind them.  

It doesn’t look much like this still from the tenth Whoniversary Radio Times special, which is a shame.
A procession of Pinters leading the Doctor to the gates is intercepted by Rinchen (Harold Pinter).  Rinchen still reckons it might be a good idea to have a word with Songsten the Abbot – also played by Harold Pinter.  Khrisong pooh-poohs this notion and inadvertently sparks a debate as Sapan (Harold Pinter) joins in.  Travers strides through, pauses long enough to adopt a hero-pose and be rude to the Doctor and then strikes off for North Wales and cryptozoological glory, cackling like a loon.

The monk debate has reached a conclusion of sorts.  Khrisong has pulled moustache rank, much to Rinchen’s dismay. The Doctor is to be used as Yeti-bait and that’s final.

Him:  “I like foreigners, don’t get me wrong.  I just don’t like foreigners that aren’t from around here.”

Me:  “The Monastery of the Slaughtered Lamb”.

Thonmi, clutching the ghanta, is still looking for a grown-up when a door he is passing opens.  Thonmi prostrates himself before the massive hat that emerges carrying an abbot underneath it.  Thonmi gives the Abbot the ghanta – an action which triggers a sudden voice that seems to come from nowhere and yet everywhere.  It wants to know where Thonmi found the ghanta.

Me:  Spooky…

Thonmi is somewhat alarmed, but the Abbot calms him.

Abbot:  It is the master.  Padmasambhava.

Him:  Is that a real name?

Me:  It’s certainly something I’ve not been looking forward to spelling.

There are an awful lot of slightly different spellings of ‘Padmasambhava’ – played here by Harold Pinter – so I’ve opted to go with the one that’s in the credits.  

Abbot:  Do not be afraid.  Answer him.

Thonmi explains about the Doctor and the recorder and the business with the mattress.  Hearing this, Padmasambhava’s voice changes to a guttural, rasping – in much the way it didn’t in The Snowmen.5

Padmasambhava:  The.  Doc.  Tor.  Ssssso.  He.  Hasssss.  Re.  Turned.

Me:  “Silence.  Will.  Fall.”

Him:  Who is that then?  With the creepy voice?

Me:  In the TARDIS?

Him:  Huh?  No – there in the monastery.

Me:  It’s Padmasambhava.

Thonmi is told to enter the room and bring the ghanta to Padmasambhava.  It’s marvellously creepy and turns the whole story on its head.  There’s no point pretending that Wolfe Morris (played by Harold Pinter) retains any ambiguity about the character of Padmasambhava.  Like Sutekh later, it’s so obvious that this chap is a wrong 'un from the get-go that the suspense lies in waiting for the inevitable meeting with the Doctor.  Also, it means that the true evil is not besieging the monastery from outside at all…

Talking of outside the monastery, the Doctor’s been trussed up as Yeti-grub by the Pinters.  He’s not happy, which is understandable.

Blink and you’ll miss it, but at the start of the next scene a pterodactyl can be seen swooping in the top-left of the screen.  Just thought I’d mention it.  Anyway…

Jamie and Victoria meet Travers halfway up a Welsh hill.

Me:  See?  Rain.

Jamie lets slip that that the Yeti have a cave.  Travers gets excited and demands that he be shown this lair.  Jamie strikes a bargain – he’ll show Travers the cave in return for being taken to the monastery.  Travers begins to twig that he might have been wrong about the Doctor after all.  The trio head back down the hill.

The Abbot and Thonmi are filling Padmasambhava in on what’s been going on.  Padmasambhava sends Thonmi to release the Doctor on the Abbot’s orders.  There’s obviously some mind-control taking place.  Thonmi leaves on his mission and Padmasambhava’s voice changes again.  The sooner the Doctor leaves, the better.

Dangling by the gate, the Doctor spots something coming closer.  Luckily, it’s Travers and our chums.  Travers is very apologetic and Thonmi turns up at much the same time.  It’s all change.

Me:  This is brilliant.

Inside the monastery, scheming’s still taking place.  Padmasambhava certainly enunciates, but it takes time to do evil properly.

Padmasambhava:  No.  Thing.  Musst.  Diss.  Turb.  Our.  Prrrrrep.  Arrrrr.  A.  Shunsss.

Elsewhere, the Doctor’s examining Jamie’s find.

Him:  “An egg!  A Yeti egg!”

Suddenly, there’s an unexpected cameo appearance. 
One of the Pinters rushes in, alarmed.  Three Yeti are approaching.

Me:  And…  Monastery under siege.

The Doctor wants Khrisong to capture a Yeti, if he wouldn’t mind.  The second lightbulb of this episode goes off, this one above Jamie’s head.

Jamie:  Hey, Doctor.  If you really want to capture one of these beasties, I think I have an idea that just might work.

The Doctor:  Victoria!  I think this is one of those instances where discretion is the better part of valour.  Jamie has an idea.  Come along.

Grabbing Victoria’s hand the Doctor exits sharpish.

Me:  That’s brilliant.

Padmasambhava has finally let the Abbot go.  He’s firmly in discussion with the other Pinters.

Him:  What job does he have?

Me:  The Abbot’s the boss.  Fine hat, but the Doctor doesn’t seem to want to go.

The preparations continue for the Yeti attack.  One Yeti lumbers up. 

Me:  They’re big aren’t they?

The Pinters whack the Yeti with sticks until it dies.  The couple of Yeti watching shrug and amble off. 

As Jamie and the Pinters tug the dead Yeti into the monastery we see that there’s an egg lying in the mud.

Time passes like mountain wind.  Inside the monastery, the Doctor is examining the Yeti carcass.

Me:  Notice anything there?

Him:  Notice anything what?

We have another go.

Me:  Right.  Listen carefully.

Time passes like mountain wind.  Inside the monastery, the Doctor is examining the Yeti carcass.

Him:  I don’t get it.

Me:  Although the footage survived, that line of the Doctor’s dialogue didn’t.

Him:  Really?  Is it overdubbed?

Me:  Yeah.  Mark Ayres reconstructed it from Troughton syllables up to the ‘-toria’.

It turns out the Yeti’s actually made of metal – it’s a robot!  The Doctor feels that there may well be something missing from the chest cavity.  But what?  What?

The egg that Jamie found earlier starts moving – whistling nonchalantly as it does so.


Him:  I wish they actually had just one other episode of this.

Me:  Are you enjoying it?

Him:  Uh-huh.

Me:  Cool.


Well, it’s back to sailing the recon for us.  We originally watched a commentary-free version that had seen happier days, so some of the joy was sucked out a bit.  The sound was muddy and the pictures blurry.  As a result it was like trying to watch the episode through someone else’s window.  There’s a better version out there, if you look – one with narration – otherwise I’d still be none the wiser.

We recap.  The egg’s still escaping.

Me:  The sound’s terrible.

The Doctor twigs that the Yeti control device must’ve been dislodged during its murder.  It’s probably still outside, but Khrisong won’t let anyone look and instructs our heroes to remain where they are, under the watchful eyes of some Pinters.  In response to this, Travers wanders off to have a lie-down.

Elsewhere Khrisong instructs Ralpachan (Harold Pinter) to guard the monastery exit.  Travers engages Khrisong in conversation.  He wants to just slip outside to try and find some fleshy Yeti.  Khrisong won’t let Travers leave, cryptozoology be damned.

The Doctor, Jamie, Victoria and Thonmi are chatting.  Victoria notices that the gap in the Yeti is about the same size and shape as the Yeti egg.  They rush to the Buddha, but the egg’s hiding.

The Doctor asks Ralpachan if he’s seen anything.  He hasn’t.  Well, other than Travers leaving that is.  The Doctor wonders if it’s possible that Travers has nabbed the egg. 

Sapang and Rinchen have wrapped a spirit trap around the Yeti body.  The Abbot and Khrisong arrive and there’s a lot of padding talking until the Doctor turns up.  Khrisong isn’t happy and strides out, followed by the Doctor. 

Victoria notices that the Abbot’s gone into a trance.  Thonmi explains that he does that.  Usually, it’s when the Abbot’s communicating with Padmasambhava.  The Abbot wanders off to the Holy Sanctum. Victoria wants to follow him.

Khrisong insists everyone waits until the episode’s running time is back on track, before announcing that he’ll go and look for Travers.

Somewhere else, a clawed hand moves some nicely sculpted Yeti figures around a chess board.

Limited to 250,000,000 copies worldwide, this machine-produced collector's edition is essential for the completist.  Does not contain The Underwater Menace episode two.

Me:  I don’t know what that is.

In Wales, Yeti copy the moves exactly.  This control appears to be remote.

Victoria and Thonmi continue following the Abbot, until he disappears into the Sanctum.  Victoria’s desperate to break the rules, but Thonmi’s far too frightened to let her.

The Abbot is playing the straight guy to the scariest bit of padding for ages.  Extra Yeti are added to the game. 

Me:  Yeti!  At… night?

Khrisong finds the egg, just as the Yeti arrive.  There’s a fight, which the Yeti win.  Off they lumber, almost leaving Khrisong in more parts than he was in when the day began.

The Doctor:  They came to get their ball back.

Padmasambhava hands a piece of the Key to Time to the Abbot.

Me:  What is that?

The Abbot is to take the perspex pyramid to visit the unearthly pyramid of glinting silver spheres up the hill.  This will, apparently, allow the Great Intelligence to focus on the planet properly and take on physical form.  Which, seeing as it should already be knocking about on Earth, makes The Snowmen5 even more confusing.

Him:  How many parts does this have?

Me:  Six.


Me:  This is very hard going.  I’m only getting about twelve out of every twenty words.

Elsewhere, the Doctor, Khrisong, Jamie and assorted Pinters are filling in what’s happened in the episode so far.  The Doctor wants to bring some equipment down from the TARDIS.  Khrisong says this is alright.

Victoria is still being shadowed by Thonmi, until he gets waylaid and sent to the courtyard.  Taking this opportunity, Victoria slips off – she doesn’t get far and is returned to Khrisong.

Elsewhere, the egg continues slipping through the corridors.

On the hill, Travers is following the two lumbering Yeti.

The Abbot hypnotises Ralpachan-

Him:  Is that a hand or a person?

-and then leaves the monastery.

Thonmi (who has the patience of a saint) continues to guard Victoria.  He lets slip that the boys might be off having fun.

Victoria:  Gone?  Gone where?

Thonmi blusters for a minute and then – totally forgetting everything that’s happened during the episode - offers to get Victoria some food.  As soon as he’s gone, she’s away.

In Wales, the Doctor and Jamie are hiding behind a newspaper and observing Yeti.  Carefully, they shuffle past.  After they have gone, the Abbot and his perspex pyramid arrive.  The Yeti come to life and gather round for a look before all four continue up the hill.

Thonmi finds Victoria’s gone and panics.

Victoria has made her way to the Sanctum.  Padmasambhava says hello.

Victoria:  Who’s that?

Him:  “I am called…  Max.”

Padmasambhava suggests that Victoria leaves before the Pinters find her being all sacrilegious. She scurries away to the room where the dead Yeti, and the cliffhanger, are waiting.

Thonmi calls out for Victoria.

The egg has finally found its Yeti…

Everything blurs into noises and lights and stuff.  Victoria prepares to emit a sonic blast.

Victoria:  EEK!

There are noisy noises.


Me:  What?  What happened?

Him:  I think Victoria was attacked.

Me:  Let’s try and find a different version.


After having a hunt, the only other version that I can initially find is by drwhoanimator.  Working on the basis that if the telesnaps exist we need to get as close as possible to what was actually shown, it’s better the devil you know, we tried again.

Me:  I guess we’ll have to stick with the Daily Motion one then.

And there’s no criticism of drwhoanimator intended there either.

We recap. 

Me:  Did Victoria just escape?

Him:  I’m not one hundred percent sure.

Something’s going on involving Thonmi and the Yeti.  There’s shouting.  The Pinters in the courtyard lay into the Yeti – but to no avail, and it heads out of the gate and off to Wales.

Me:  The peanut’s escaping. 

"Oh, Cyber-Jamie!"
Him:  “Handy things these Cybermats.”

The Doctor and Jamie are halfway up the hill.  Even though nothing much is happening, Jamie’s still feeling a bit out of sorts.

Jamie:  Here, you’re giving me the willies.

There’s some more Yeti lumbering as the-

Me:  Movement!

-ones accompanying the Abbot reach the cave.  Travers watches this from over the top of his newspaper.  The Abbot heads into the cave, whilst the four Yeti stand guard.

The Doctor and Jamie turn the corner to the bit of the hill where the TARDIS is parked, only to walk straight into a crash zoom on a Yeti.

Me:  Movement!

Our heroes hide behind a rock.  This will become important soon.

Padmasambhava is playing a game of solo Yeti chess and talking to himself.

Me:  Well, I guess we haven’t had something that sounds like a wax-cylinder recording of Aleister Crowley for a while.

Him:  Aleister Crowley’s Dead/Undead/Undead3

Me:  “When love is the law.”4

The Abbot has arranged the eggs in a special shape that makes them light up.  He leaves the cave and then exits with his Yeti.  When they’re out of sight Travers makes his way toward the cave mouth.  It’s been raining.

Me:  Sounds like someone’s walking through a marsh.

Elsewhere on the hill…

The Doctor:  Yes…

Jamie:  Have you thought up some clever plan, Doctor?

The Doctor:  Yes, Jamie, I believe I have.

Jamie:  What are you going to do?

The Doctor:  Bung a rock at it.

Iconic Moment #184
Us:  Yay!

The Yeti totally ignores the rock.  Tentatively, our heroes wander up to the Yeti.  It doesn’t do anything.  The Doctor starts fiddling with the Yeti and removes its egg.

Jamie wonders why this was so easy.  The Doctor admits he isn’t sure – other than that the Yeti’s built like a bear and you’d have to be pretty daft to attempt to give it a tickle – and our heroes enter the TARDIS.

Somewhere else, Travers is watching a light show.

Me:  I don’t know what that is either.

Pyramid:  Buzzzzzsquelch

Suddenly, some sort of hideous gloopy mass starts spilling out of the pyramid and all over the cave floor.  Travers, not expecting to find himself in an H. P. Lovecraft story at this juncture in the narrative, stumbles from the cave and back to Wales.

The Doctor and Jamie emerge from the TARDIS with the necessary equipment, just as the Yeti’s egg starts beeping and pulling Jamie toward the empty chest cavity.  Jamie grabs a rock and shoves it in the cavity.  The egg loses its power and drops to the ground.  The Doctor works out what happened to the egg that went missing earlier.

Him:  What’s the Illuminati?

Me:  Eh?

Him:  What’s the Illuminati?

Me:  I’ll explain later.

Back in the monastery, Victoria’s getting the blame for the Yeti wandering off.

Me:  Wow: flutter.

The Doctor and Jamie are startled as the egg starts bleeping.  It’s a call that’s answered by the Abbot’s valets.

Me:  It’s not surprising that creatures as small and quiet as this have managed to stay hidden for so long.

The Doctor plans to use all this egg action to trace the transmitter.

Thonmi’s been locked up with Victoria, but the chances are he hasn’t noticed this yet.  The two chat and Victoria starts blabbing about time travel.  Poor Thonmi accepts this totally – but he has just been eating berries for the last few months.

Me:  I’m going to have to re-read the Target novelisation. 

Him:  It’s the only way we’re going to be able to understand what’s going on.

Me:  They’ll certainly have to clean up the audio for the IMAX release.  “What.  A.  Bee.  Yew.  Tea.  Full.  Voice.”5

The Abbot returns to the monastery and slips in unnoticed.  He has a ‘quick’ chat with Padmasambhava.

The Doctor and Jamie are cornered by Yeti.  The Doctor tells Jamie to run while he hurls the egg in a different direction.  The Yeti flounce after it.

Back in the monastery - Victoria ends up on the floor after firing a sonic blast.  The first time we watched this I wasn’t sure what had happened here.  It turns out she’s been poisoned by someone.  Except she hasn’t – it’s all a ruse and she escapes.

The Abbot has called an extraordinary general meeting of the Pinters.  The time has come to abandon monastery.

Him:  The Yeti/Will get ye/No/Matter/Where/ The Yeti/Will get ye/No/Matter/Where

Me:  I used to know the story to this…

Travers returns, babbles and faints.  There’s a tumult of panic building.  The Doctor and Jamie head off to find Victoria.  Khrisong agrees to search as well, but won’t leave the monastery.

There are mad noises as Padmasambhava chats first to the Abbot (who opens the gates) and then his chess set.

Me:  Now, I’m not so sure…

Victoria enters the Sanctum and finally we get to see Padmasambhava himself.

Me:  That’s damn creepy, but I’m not sure why.

Him:  It’s Dracula.

Listen to them, the credits of the night…


As the last two episodes had been a total nightmare-  

- we went hunting again.  In the usually infertile grounds of Daily Motion we come across an unexpected oasis named recon_mission.

Me:  This one’s actually got narration.

We recap.  Suddenly it all makes sense.

Me:  Right!  So that’s what’s going on.

Victoria and Padmasambhava are finally introduced – in the distance no wolf howls.  Remembering her manners, Victoria is very polite to the aged gentleman.  Padmasambhava shows off his Yeti chess set and then, just as Victoria starts to work out what’s what and who’s who, he hypnotises her.

As Victoria stares blankly into the wall, Padmasambhava moves four of the Yeti pieces to either the courtyard or the drawing room.

In either the courtyard or the drawing room, the four full-size furry automatons come lummoxing in, look around and then bounce off to find some Pinters to sit on.

The Doctor, Jamie and Thonmi are trying to get some sense out of Travers, which seeing as he’s been up the Hills of Horror isn’t as easy as you’d hope. 

Travers:  Evil…  A feeling of evil…  Like a… shadow on my mind…  I felt as though I was going to drown…

Me:  Has there been any music?

Him:  They didn’t have much music back then.

Me:  Not like now.

Him:  “Itsa me!  Murigold!”

On this cue, the Yeti start trashing the monastery.  They drop the Buddha on top of Rinchen before heading back to Wales.

Me:  Nasty.

Him:  Ouch.

Padmasambhava keeps on with the Yeti chess for a short while.  Pleased with how the game’s going, he decides it’s time to play his Surprise Card.  Padmasambhava beckons the entranced Victoria to come closer.

The Doctor and Jamie watch Thonmi draw on a wall.  Using maths, the Doctor plots the probable point of transmission.  Travers recovers.  His head’s a bit sore, but otherwise he feels just dandy and has no memory of the things on the doorstep.

Khrisong is apologising to the Abbot when the Pinters fall to their knees.  Victoria appears, holding the ghanta and speaking with Harold Pinter’s voice.  It loses something in reconstruction, to be fair.  Padmasambhava instructs the Pinters to leave.  After some prayers.

Victoria is reunited with our friends.

Victoria:  Doctor, there is great danger!  You must take me away!  Take me away!  Take me awaaaay!

Somehow, Jamie senses that something’s not quite the ticket with Miss Waterfield.   

Victoria:  Doctor, there is great danger!  You must take me away!  Take me away!  Take me awaaaay!

Khrisong points out that Victoria might still be in a trance.  Slowly, the puzzle begins to fall into place.  When the Doctor is told that he knows Padmasambhava all the edge-pieces click together…

The Pinters leave for a quick chant, and the Doctor tells Jamie to guard Victoria while he goes to visit a very old friend.

Meanwhile, the gloop in the cave has reached the entrance.

Finally, the Doctor and Padmasambhava are reunited.  Back story is filled in…

Padmasambhava:  Intelligence…  Formless in space…  I astral travelled… 

The Doctor:  I see.  You made mental contact with this intelligence.

Padmasambhava:  (unintelligible) –controls my body…

Me:  Very Lovecraft.

As the Doctor tries to get information from Padmasambhava, his head slumps.  The Doctor listens to his chest, but the old fellow’s died.

Padmasambhava's dead
The Doctor sadly leaves the Sanctum.  And when he’s gone…

Jamie’s watching Victoria stare at a wall.  Bored, he tries to get her attention by smashing a stool behind her.

Stool:  Bang!

Me:  That was the wind-up moment from the rehearsals.  Mr Troughton and Watling Senior dropped a massive load of things from the kitchen instead.  It made a hell of a din and Debbie Watling ended up lodged in the ceiling.

Him:  That’d be really frightening.

Me:  I’ll say.

The Doctor returns, which reactivates Victoria.

Victoria:  Doctor, there is great danger!  You must take me away!  Take me away!  Take me awaaaay!

The Doctor tries to break Victoria’s programming.

Victoria:  Doctor, there is great danger!  You must take me away!  Take me away!  Take me awaaaay!

The Doctor manages to send Victoria into a slumber.  Hilariously, this affects Jamie as well. 

The Doctor explains to Jamie that the whole idea is to get them to leave, along with the Pinters.  He tries to communicate with Victoria and walks her through the confusion until he manages to break the hold.  Victoria yawns and stretches.  On the narration, Frazer Hines sounds delighted.

The Doctor finds Travers watching the waiting Yeti on the hill.  The two agree to head to Wales to see if they can save the world.  As they clamber up the gentle slope, Travers starts to experience a growing sense of déjà vu.  In front of them, the Yeti jerk to life and move off.  The Doctor suddenly realises where (and who) the transmission must be coming from and rushes back to the monastery.  

Suddenly, the veil on Travers’ memory lifts and it all comes flooding back, just like the Great Intelligence spilling down the hill.

The credits roll like a clumsy Yeti down a mountain.  In reverse.


Me:  Nearly there.

Him:  It’s alright.  It’s just not moving.

We recap.  There’s a dreadful mess being made of a hillside and the Doctor’s deduced that the Abbot must’ve taken the pyramid into the cave.  It’s brilliant.

The Abbot is praying.  Khrisong bursts in and Padmasambhava addresses him directly, inviting him to come into the Sanctum.  The Abbot reminds Khrisong that weapons are not allowed in the Sanctum.  Khrisong hands his sword to the Abbot who kills him with it.  Textbook move.

In the Sanctum, Padmasambhava fights the Intelligence’s hold over him.

The Doctor and Travers arrive to find the Abbot standing over Khrisong’s body.  The Abbot lashes out but is overpowered and carried off in a sack.

Padmasambhava:  Bwah ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha. (etc)

Me:  It’s very Lovecraft.

The Abbot is obviously possessed.

Thonmi:  He was put in a trance by… The Master!

The Him chuckles.

Me:  You can either have, ‘Not that one’ or ‘He said ‘Master’’, but you can’t have both.

The Pinters elect the Doctor as honorary boss.  Plans are hatched.  The Doctor talks to the Abbot as Travers wants to head back to the hill to kill the sludge.

The Abbot tells the Doctor that there’s a hidden room behind the throne in the Sanctum. 

Meanwhile, Padmasambhava’s brought out his board again.

Him:  He’s been busy.  In his free time he’s making more and more of those Yeti models.

Travers and Ralpachan watch nocturnal Yeti lumberings. 

Our chums are planning an assault.

Jamie:  How do we get past Padmathingmy?

The Doctor notices that Travers is missing.

The whole mountain’s pulsating.

Me:  Look at that.

'At the Mountains of Moistness'
 The Pinters take their leave of the monastery.  After they have gone, four Yeti start to guard the monastery gate. 

Travers and Ralpachan return, only to find Yeti in the way.  In the distance they see the lights of the Pinter procession.

Our chums make their way into the Sanctum.  The voice of Padmasambhava hisses challenging insults at the Doctor.  The Doctor enters the Sanctum alone and the battle of minds is joined.

Seriously, this bit is fantastic - Frazer Hines is getting well into it, which doesn't hurt.

A trashing of the control room takes place.  Oop - here come the Yeti…

The Doctor and Victoria try to focus their minds with chanting.

Me:  Luke and Leia’s mum getting a namecheck.

Him:  But she’s dead.5

Padmasambhava attacks Victoria as she tries to push the Yeti models over.

The Yeti attack but Jamie smashes the large control egg and down they go.  Travers rushes in and fires his rifle at Padmasambhava who catches the bullets like a Republic Serial villain. 

The Doctor tells Jamie to destroy the pyramid, which he does.  Padmasambhava’s unhappy about this -

Him:  What a great noise.

- and the mountain peak explodes

Me:  Originally, Padmasambhava was supposed to melt, but the effect was too gross.

Him:  It’s a good thing that Dragonfire wasn’t made, then.

Me:  I’m not touching that comment.

Padmasambhava dies.  Properly this time.

Everything wraps up slowly and our heroes prepare to leave.  Travers offers to wander up the hill to the TARDIS with our friends.  Halfway there they find the remains of a Yeti.  Travers wonders if he should take it back with-

Victoria:  Doctor, look!


Me:  Yeti!

It’s truly a real imaginary beast – what a day to be a cryptozoologist, eh?  With a squawk, the real Yeti bounds away with Travers in hot pursuit.

The Doctor pulls out his recorder and the credits roll.

Me:  Right.  The Abominable Snowmen.  Thoughts?

Him:  It was alright.  I did actually like the one that moved.  A lot. 

Me:  Yeah.  The second episode was really good.

Him:  D’you reckon they have it in the BBC Studio Canteen?

Me:  Ummm…  I don’t think they do.

Him:  But they have all the other ones.  They even have Shada.  They just say they didn’t finish it.

Me:  What?  They really finished it?

Him:  Yeah.

Me:  And just didn’t tell anyone?

Him:  Yeah.

Me:  To keep it as a big surprise?

Him:  Yeah. They watch it in the BBC Studio Canteen, along with all the other old Troughtons and Hartnells.


Me:  So, do you think that the Yeti should come back?

Him:  I hope they look better if they do.  Rather than just men in fur coats.

Me:  Bit cuddly aren’t they?

Him:  Yes.  They’re not very threatening.  I bet they’ve made a plush Yeti.  They probably sell it in Forbidden Planet.

Me:  Well, it was kind of the plan, but we’ll talk about that when we get to The Web of Fear.  The writers would take the copyright on the monsters that they’d created, so of course a lot of the writers are then purposefully trying to create the new Daleks.

Him:  Right.

Me:  Because Terry Nation, basically, was living the life all writers aspire to and spending his days going wrinkly in a champagne jacuzzi.

Him:  Ha!

Me:  So, because these people were being commissioned from outside to write for the BBC they retained the copyright.  So, Lincoln and Haisman-

Him:  snore

Me:  – who created the Yeti –

Him:  Snore

Me:  -were keen on keeping their copyright. 


Me:  There’s a bit of a problem later on-

Him:  SNORE!

Me:  Is this bit dull?

Him:  Yes.

Me:  Ok.  So you don’t want me to tell you about this?

Him:  No.  Although, I’ll probably ask later on and you’ll tell me.  And then I won’t be able to escape.

Me:  Ha!  Well, Quarks-

Me:  Ha!  Very good.  Quarks and Krotons – they were all attempts at the new Daleks.  Because, we’ve already had the final Dalek story.

Him:  Yeah.  It was the first one.

Me:  Evil of the Daleks.

Him:  Evil of the Daleks’?

Me:  Evil of the Daleks.  Cyberman of the Daleks”, that’s the one I’m waiting for.  Evil of the Daleks was supposed to be their final one, and that left a pretty big gap for a marketable monster.

Him:  Has there ever been a Doctor Who monster with a name that ends in ‘arm’?

Me:  That ends in ‘arm’?

Him:  Uh-huh.

Me:  Eldrad?

There aren’t any cushions.

Me:  Ow!

Him:  No.  Like ‘Zarm’ or ‘Garm’ or-

Me:  Yeah.  The Garm.

Him:  ‘The Garm’?

Me:  The Garm.

Him:  What was ‘the Garm’?

Me:  You keep asking me about the Garm.  It came up recently, in our first Holiday Special.

Him:  Who was the Garm?

Me:  In Terminus, it was the big, shaggy dog that… turned things off.5

Him:  Oh, the Garm!

Me:  Yeah.

Him:  So you could have ‘Quarks, Angels and Garm’?

This catches me by surprise and I’m out of action for a while.  Eventually, I get it together.

Me:  You built that up quite nicely.

Him:  I know.


1.  You’ll notice I didn’t mention The Space Pirates there.

2.  That’s a different joke to the one that we don’t do any more.

3.  To the tune of ‘Bela Lugosi’s Dead’.  Don’t pretend you don’t know it.

4.  “And the wheel turn round.”

5.  Spoiler.


Si mon professeur de français me voyait, disait-elle, "Désactiver Google Translate, vous misérable créature!"

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