Another article from the archives, this one originally written for The Complete Second Doctor back in 2003. Interesting to compare it to the article I wrote on the same story for the recent Missing Episodes special.
THE ABOMINABLE SNOWMEN
I’ve never seen The Abominable Snowmen. It was wiped before I was born. I’ve not read the novelisation, or listened to the audio, or seen the telesnaps, or watched the remaining episode. I know almost nothing about it.
And yet I always rather liked the Yetis. Of all the black smudges in my held-together-by-sellotape Doctor Who Monster Book, they were the ones that caught my fascination. And because I so adored the Yetis – based upon their entry in Monsters Who Came Back For More – my mum made me a Yeti costume. I still have a photo of me, aged six, being abominable.
My mum, you see, encouraged my interest in Doctor Who. I came home one day to discover that she had painted a Dalek on my bedroom wall. And she always told me was how good Doctor Who had been with Patrick Troughton. In fact, she’s the only person I know who has actually seen The Abominable Snowmen.
So I phoned her up to ask her what she remembered.
‘I must have sneaked in to watch it on my own, on a small black and white television. I’m amazed I saw it, actually, because we didn’t have a television at the time. And I remember the Yetis – but the next but one story had the Yetis again, didn’t it? Not in the mountains, but in the tunnels’
It transpires, however, that my mum has been ‘revising’ by looking at the photos in Doctor Who – The Sixties.
‘I remember the Yetis didn’t have eyes, but in the photo they have eyes. They must have changed them for the one in the tunnels.
‘The Yetis were funny, they weren’t scary like the Daleks or the Cybermen. They were very fat, I remember that, they had big hips and these squat little legs. They couldn’t move very quickly, they sort of waddled. They were supposed to scare you, but they were more like gonks. They were cuddly.’
Cuddly? I asked my mum about them attacking people.
‘They didn’t really hurt people. They didn’t do much with them, they just stood around on mountains. Not looking very scary.’
‘I don’t remember any monks. There was this old ruined building, that might have been a monastery. I did like it, though, because it was one of the first ones they made outdoors. It was a nice-looking story. A lot of them were in corridors, but this was more of an adventure, they were running up and down the mountain, they weren’t just shut in somewhere.
‘I remember thinking it was going to be a history one, because they’d just done a future one and normally they’d do a history one after a future one.
‘And the atmosphere was friendlier. With the Cybermen there’d be scary music all the time, but this one didn’t have music.
‘I remember wondering why there wasn’t much snow. It was all rocks. It didn’t look like Tibet. But it was nice to be outdoors for a change.
‘I remember Patrick do-da wearing a big fur coat, because he looked like a Yeti! And in this one he ran about a bit more, because in some of them he just sat in the corner playing his flute. I don’t think he played his flute in this one.
‘Vicky wore a short skirt. I remember them saying that she felt a bit cold. She wasn’t wearing one of her long Victorian dresses.
‘She didn’t scream as much as some of the later ones. Oh, wait, in the picture she’s wearing trousers. I must have been thinking of Jamie, because he wore a kilt. Jamie was a Scotch bloke, a bit of a bumbling twit. Vicky had more sense.’
And finally, I asked my mum if she remembered the spectacular climax where the mountain explodes.
‘No. I remember, though, that the Yetis were remote controlled. They used joysticks.’