Production Code: NN
1 - 30/09/1967 17:25
2 - 07/10/1967 17:25
3 - 14/10/1967 17:25
4 - 21/10/1967 17:25
5 - 28/10/1967 17:25
6 - 4/11/1967 17:25
The TARDIS arrives in Tibet in 1935 and the Doctor visits the remote Detsen monastery in order to return a sacred bell, the ghanta, given to him for safe keeping on a previous visit. There he meets an Englishman, Travers, on an expedition to track down the legendary Abominable Snowmen or Yeti.
It transpires that the Yeti roaming the area are actually disguised robots, which scare away or kill anyone who approaches. The High Lama Padmasambhava, whom the Doctor met hundreds of years earlier on his previous visit, has been taken over by a nebulous alien being, the Great Intelligence, which has artificially prolonged his life and is now using him to control the Yeti by way of models on a chessboard-like map.
The Intelligence's aim is to create a material form for itself and take over the Earth. The Doctor banishes it back to the astral plane, allowing Padmasambhava finally to die in peace.
Jamie and Victoria are trapped inside a mountain cave as a Yeti attacks. Jamie attempts to hold it off with a sword, but the creature breaks this in two and lumbers after him. Victoria screams in terror.
The Doctor discovers a sphere-shaped cavity in the chest of a captured Yeti. Outside the monastery, a shiny metal sphere that was earlier dislodged from the Yeti and that began to move of its own accord now emits a high-pitched bleeping noise and gathers speed. Inside, at the feet of a statue of the Buddha, a similar sphere brought back by Jamie from the mountain cave follows suit.
The metal control sphere floats into the captured Yeti's chest cavity, which opens and closes automatically in order to accept it. Victoria, having just returned to the main hall where the Yeti has lain immobile beneath a spirit trap erected by the monks, lets out a horrified scream as the creature snaps its restraining chains and rears up to confront her...
Victoria, bidden by a strange disembodied voice, enters the monastery's inner sanctum. Inside, a curtain draws aside to reveal the wizened form of Padmasambhava. 'Come in,' the voice continues. 'You have no alternative.'
On the mountainside, a foam-like substance - the corporeal form of the Great Intelligence - starts to spew from the mouth of the cave.
As Travers hurries away, determined to catch the real Yeti they have spotted further up the mountain, the time travellers head back to the TARDIS. Jamie hopes that next time the Doctor can land them somewhere warmer...
The Trollenberg Terror.
Nigel Kneale's The Creature (filmed as The Abominable Snowman and featuring Yeti, Yeti hunter and a Tibetan Buddhist monastery).
In the Footsteps of the Abominable Snowman by Josef Nesvadba.
The Tibetan Book of the Dead.
Padmasambhava was the author of a Buddhist text about death being preferable to suffering.
The Doctor plays Twinkle Twinkle Little Star on the recorder.
The Doctor : "Victoria, I think this is one of those instances where discretion is the better part of valour: Jamie has an idea."
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."
The Doctor : "It's quiet... Too quiet..."
Jamie : "Hey, you're giving me the willies."
The Great Intelligence is a powerful alien force that strives for physical existence, first possessing the Doctor's old friend Padmasambhava, and then seeking to dominate the Earth via the substance extruded from the pyramid of spheres in the cave [which acts as a conductor for its mental powers].
The Yeti are simple but strong robots, created by Padmasambhava over two centuries, and controlled by the Intelligence. Real Yeti are slimmer and nervous of humans.
The Det Sen monastery, Tibet, date unspecified. [The Web of Fear dates this story to 1935.]
The Doctor has been to Det Sen before ('Every time I visit Det Sen the monastery seems to be in some kind of trouble'), including a visit in 1630 when he took the holy ghanta into safekeeping. (Padmasambhava recognises the second Doctor, but Jamie hasn't been there before, so (at least one of) the visits must have taken place between The Power of the Daleks and The Highlanders, indicating an extended series of adventures for Ben and Polly.)
The names of a number of the Tibetan characters were appropriated by Mervyn Haisman and Henry Lincoln from real historical figures. The real Padmasambhava, for instance, lived in the eighth century and founded the Tibetan branch of Buddhism.
When Terrance Dicks novelised the story in 1974 he made slight changes to the names of these characters - Padmasambhava became Padmasambvha, Songsten became Songtsen, Thonmi became Thomni and so on - apparently on the advice of Doctor Who's then producer Barry Letts who, as a follower of Buddhism, considered that what Haisman and Lincoln had done was unnecessary and risked causing offence.
Sapan, one of the monks, sounds Welsh.
In the first episode snow is seen on the TARDIS scanner: when the travellers emerge not a flake is visible [See Full Circle.]
Thonmi on one occasion says that the holy ghanta has been missing for about 200 years when the figure should be about 300.
The TARDIS landing sound is slower than usual.
Cast & Crew
The Doctor - Patrick Troughton
Jamie - Frazer Hines
Victoria - Deborah Watling
Khrisong - Norman Jones
Padmasambhava - Wolfe Morris
Ralpachan - David Baron
Rinchen - David Grey
Sapan - Raymond Llewellyn
Songsten - Charles Morgan
Thonmi - David Spenser
Travers - Jack Watling
Yeti - Reg Whitehead
Yeti - Tony Harwood
Yeti - Richard Kerley
Yeti - John Hogan
Director - Gerald Blake