Doctor Who: 10 Things You Might Not Know About THE ABOMINABLE SNOWMEN - Warped Factor - Words in the Key of Geek.

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Doctor Who: 10 Things You Might Not Know About THE ABOMINABLE SNOWMEN

It's the great hairy beastie...

1. During a chance encounter with his actor/writer friend Henry Lincoln, Patrick Troughton bemoaned the lack of Earth-based stories that had taken place during his first season as the Doctor. Lincoln seized on the idea of penning one for him, along with his writing partner Mervyn Haisman.

Lincoln had long been interested in the Yeti, and thought the legendary Earth-based monsters which supposedly lived in the upper reaches of the Himalayan mountains would be the perfect antagonist for his adventure.

Word of the Yeti first began spreading in 1887 and the story became popularised throughout the first half of the twentieth century, during which time the conflation of the phrases “abominable snow” and “man of the mountains”, contained in a wire report, gave rise to the nickname “the Abominable Snowman”. The pluralistaion giving the adventure its title.

2. Obviously the 1967 Doctor Who budget was not large enough to pay for a trip to the Himalayan mountain range, so the North Wales mountain pass at Nant Ffrancon doubled as Tibet for the filming of this serial.

3. The character of Professor Travers is played by Jack Watling, the father of actress Deborah Watling, who plays Victoria.

4. Ralpachan is played by David Baron, often said to be the playwright Harold Pinter under a stage name. Pinter has since denied this rumour. David Baron was indeed Pinter's name for the purposes of Equity, the British actors' union, but he had relinquished it by the time this serial was produced.

5. Cast and crew embarked on what was, at that point, the longest location shoot ever allocated to Doctor Who. It covered six consecutive days, beginning on September 4th 1967, and took place at both Nant Ffracon Pass and Ogwen Lake in the Snowdonia Mountains at Gwynedd, Wales.

Unfortunately, a lack of snow, compounded by several days of rain, making the ground muddy and slippery, meant that the footage failed to convey the wintry setting suggested in the script.

6. The rain also caused trouble for the actors, particularly those in the Yeti costumes, who found themselves falling frequently. According to Jack Watling one of the actors playing the Yeti fell hundreds of feet during filming and was feared dead, but was merely inebriated and fortunately cushioned by the foam rubber inside the costume!

7. Throughout the second half of season four, Doctor Who had been taped only a week ahead of transmission. Something the production team were not keen to repeat. So after returning to Doctor Who's regular studio home of Lime Grove D it was therefore decided to record episodes one and two of The Abominable Snowmen on consecutive days - on Friday September 15th and Saturday September 16th 1967. This would provide a three-week cushion between production and transmission, with the remaining four installments taped, as usual, on successive Saturdays beginning on the 23rd and concluding on October 14th, with location shooting cut in.

8. Only episode 2 of The Abominable Snowmen remains in the BBC archives, the other five missing presumed wiped. Sadly all known copies of episode 2, including audio recordings made by fans during the original broadcast in 1967, contain a brief audio dropout late in the episode in what appears to have been a fault with the master videotape recording.

The Doctor is examining a captured Yeti and says "...toria, this creature certainly doesn't seem to be flesh and blood!". He was supposed to say...
"You were right about one thing Victoria, this creature certainly doesn't seem to be flesh and blood!"
The original 1991 VHS release of the episode (included on "The Troughton Years") saw the soundtrack manipulated to cover the dropout, whilst maintaining the running time of the episode. The "Lost In Time" DVD release contains a patchwork repair of the fault, performed by Mark Ayres of the Doctor Who Restoration Team, using the appropriate words spoken by Troughton with the correct vocal inflections, taken from other Second Doctor episodes.
9. The Yeti were a big hit, something Doctor Who needed as Dalek creator Terry Nation's efforts in Hollywood to develop a series based around the maniacal pepperpots meant that Doctor Who had lost, for the time being, its most famous villains. Consequently, three days before The Abominable Snowmen part four went before the studio cameras, Lincoln and Haisman were commissioned to write a sequel, entitled The Web Of Fear. A rematch between the Doctor and the Yeti was therefore only weeks away.

10. A novelisation of this serial, written by Terrance Dicks, was published by Target Books in November 1974. At Barry Letts' request several Buddhist terms used in the screenplay as names were modified for the novelisation. There have been French, Portuguese and Turkish editions.

When Target Books began numbering its releases in 1983, it chose to do so alphabetically rather than based upon publication or broadcast order. As a result, the novelisation of The Abominable Snowmen was identified as Doctor Who book number 1.

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