The Abominable Snowmen

Doctor WhoThe Doctor, Jamie and Victoria discover that the TARDIS has brought them to present-day Tibet, high in the Himalayas, which the Doctor sees as a perfect opportunity to return a holy relic to the Det-Sen Monastery – an item that has been in his possession since the 1600s. He decides to step outside to explore, leaving Jamie and Victoria in the safety of the TARDIS to find the misplaced relic, and discovers a mangled rifle, a dead body, and enormous footprints. The Doctor returns to his timeship to collect the relic and return it to the monks at Det-Sen personally, but tells his companions that he thinks it best that they remain in the TARDIS. After he leaves again, Victoria’s curiosity gets the best of her and she goes outside to look around, and Jamie’s chivalry gets the best of him and he goes along to protect her. They’re exploring a cave when a huge furry beast traps them inside, and they find a collection of silver spheres there. At the monastery, the Doctor doesn’t get the reception he’s been expecting, and the warrior monks who protect their more peaceful brethren accuse him of murder; Professor Travers, who is searching the mountainside for signs of the legendary Yeti, witnesses his partner’s death and thinks the Doctor is responsible, thinking him to be the leader of a rival expedition. It turns out that Yeti are on the move, but not the reclusive creatures of lore – when they appear and attack the monastery, the Doctor discovers that they are robotic in nature, each containing a cavity custom-made for the spheres discovered by Jamie and Victoria. But the Yeti are being controlled by something else, somewhere – and they may be the greatest challenge ever faced by the Det-Sen monks and even the Doctor himself.

Order this story on audio CDwritten by Mervyn Haisman & Henry Lincoln
directed by Gerald Blake
music from stock music library

Guest Cast: Jack Watling (Professor Travers), Norman Jones (Khrisong), David Spencer (Thonmi), David Grey (Rinchen), Raymond Llewellyn (Sapan), Charles Morgan (Songsten), Wolfe Morris (Padmasambhava), David Baron (Ralpachan), Reg Whitehead, Tony Harwood, Richard Kerley, John Hogan (Yeti)

Notes: Though The Sensorites showed the Doctor and Susan to have mental abilities beyond those of mere humans, The Abominable Snowmen is the first Doctor Who adventure to make it clear beyond the shadow of a doubt that the Doctor’s psi powers are quite formidable, as he holds the Great Intelligence at bay. The Yeti would be seen again in The Web Of Fear, and fleetingly in The Five Doctors; they also appear in the fan-made video production Downtime, which chronicles a third attempt by the Great Intelligence to sieze Earth as its new homeworld. Incidentally, the sound of the Yeti roar is a flushing toilet, slowed down and played backward.

Broadcast from September 30 through November 4, 1967

LogBook entry & review by Earl Green Read More

The Web Of Fear

Doctor WhoThe Doctor, Jamie and Victoria are nearly sucked out into the time vortex when Salamander takes off with the TARDIS doors open. Salamander is ejected from the TARDIS, and the ship lands safely in the London Underground circa 1968. But all is not well in central London: a deadly mist hovers above ground over the Circle Line, and an even deadlier web is filling the tunnels of the Underground. Yeti patrol the tunnels, trapping a batallion of Army soldiers in the tunnels. The Great Intelligence has trapped the Doctor and his friends in a scheme to take over the Doctor’s mind, using the Time Lord’s immense knowledge for evil. Professor Travers, the scientist who the Doctor saved from the Yeti in 1930s Tibet, is able to vouch for the time travelers’ good intensions, though some of the soldiers aren’t so trusting. The Doctor races against time to wrest control of the robotic Yeti from the Great Intelligence and to find a traitor among the contingent of soldiers in the Underground. And perhaps most importantly of all, the Doctor must gain the trust of an unusually open-minded Army officer, Colonel Lethbridge-Stewart.

Order this story on audio CDTrailerwritten by Mervyn Haisman & Henry Lincoln
directed by Douglas Camfield
music not credited

Guest Cast: Nicholas Courtney (Colonel Lethbridge-Stewart), Jack Watling (Professor Travers), Tina Packer (Anne Travers), Frederick Schrecker (Julius Silverstein), Rod Beacham (Lane), Ralph Watson (Knight), Richardson Morgan (Blake), Jon Rollason (Chorley), Jack Woolgar (Arnold), Stephen Whittaker (Weams), Bernard G. High (Soldier), Joseph O’ Connell (Soldier), John Levene (Yeti), John Lord (Yeti), Gordon Stothard (Yeti), Doctor WhoColin Warman (Yeti), Jeremy King (Yeti), Roger Jacombs (Yeti), Derek Pollitt (Evans)

Note: Considered “lost” for decades following a purge of videotape and film stock in the BBC’s archives, five of the six episodes of The Web Of Fear now exist thanks to the 2013 discovery of 16mm film copies in a broadcast transmitter hut in Nigeria. The third episode – in which the Doctor first meets Colonel Alistair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart – sadly remains missing.

Broadcast from February 3 through March 9, 1968

LogBook entry & review by Earl Green Read More

The War Games

Doctor WhoThe TARDIS brings the Doctor, Jamie and Zoe to a World War I battlefield, but upon closer examination they find that the battlegrounds have been recreated on an alien planet. For the next several episodes, the Doctor and company wander through various different simulated wars in Earth history, finally discovering the alien War Lords at the heart of a plot to create an all-powerful army from the most powerful ranks of Earth history’s greatest military forces. Left with the task of stopping the War Lords, as well as returning all of the abducted Earth soldiers to their native times and places, the Doctor reluctantly summons the help of his own people, the Time Lords – and in so doing draws their attention to him as well. After dealing with the War Lords, the Time Lords put the Doctor on trial, the verdict of which will cost him another of his precious lives.

written by Malcolm Hulke & Terrance Dicks
directed by David Maloney
music by Dudley Simpson

Guest Cast: Jane Sherwin (Lady Buckingham), David Savile (Carstairs), John Livesly, Bernard Davies (German Soldiers), Terence Bayler (Barrington), Brian Forster (Willis), Noel Coleman (General Smythe), Hubert Rees (Captain Ransom), Esmond Webb (Burns), Richard Steele (Gorton), Peter Stanton (Chauffeur), Pat Gorman (Policeman), Tony McEwan (Redcoat), David Valla (Crane), Gregg Palmer (Lucke), David Garfield (Von Weich), Edward Brayshaw (War Chief), Philip Madoc (War Lord), James Bree (Security Chief), Bill Hutchinson (Thompson), Terry Adams (Riley), Leslie Schofield (Leroy), Vernon Dobtcheff (Scientist), Rudolph Walker (Harper), John Atterbury, Charles Pemberton (Aliens), Michael Lynch (Spencer), Graham Weston (Russell), David Troughton (Moor), Peter Craze (Du Pont), Michael Napier-Brown (Villar), Stephen Hubay (Petrov), Bernard Horsfall, Trevor Martin, Clyde Pollitt (Time Lords), Clare Jenkins (Tanya), Freddie Wilson (Quark), John Levene (Yeti), Tony Harwood (Ice Warrior), Roy Pearce (Cyberman), Robert Jewell (Dalek)

Broadcast from April 19 through June 21, 1969

LogBook entry & review by Earl Green Read More

The Five Doctors

Doctor WhoThe Doctor, Tegan and Turlough find themselves in no immediate danger for once, until the Doctor suffers from repeated, severe pain, claiming that his past is being altered in a way that could endanger him in the present. Somewhere on Gallifrey, long-abandoned machinery from the earliest days of the Time Lords is reactivated and its powers are brought to bear on each of the Doctor’s first four incarnations, snatching each of them from their own timeline and depositing them in Gallifrey’s infamous Death Zone, where the tomb of Time Lord founding father Rassilon stands. The fourth Doctor is trapped in the time vortex and never makes it to Gallifrey. As the various personae of the Doctor join forces, along with many companions, they find themselves fighting a variety of old adversaries – and one new antagonist – for the future of Gallifrey itself.

Order the DVDwritten by Terrance Dicks
directed by Peter Moffatt
music by Peter Howell

Guest Cast: Richard Hurndall (The First Doctor), Patrick Troughton (The Second Doctor), Jon Pertwee (The Third Doctor), Janet Fielding (Tegan), Mark Strickson (Turlough), Nicholas Courtney (Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart), Elisabeth Sladen (Sarah Jane Smith), John Leeson (voice of K9), Carole Ann Ford (Susan), Richard Franklin (Mike Yates), Caroline John (Liz Shaw), Frazer Hines (Jamie), Wendy Padbury (Zoe), Anthony Ainley (The Master), Philip Latham (Lord President Borusa), Dinah Sheridan (Chancellor Flavia), Paul Jerricho (Castellan), Richard Mathews (Rassilon), David Savile (Colonel Crichton), Ray Float (Sergeant), Roy Skelton (Dalek voice), John Scott Martin (Dalek), Stephen Meredith (Technician), David Banks (CyberLeader), Mark Hardy (Cyber Lieutenant), William Kenton (Cyber Scout), Stuart Blake (Commander)

Appearing in footage from The Dalek Invasion Of Earth: William Hartnell (The First Doctor)

Appearing in footage from Shada: Tom Baker (The Fourth Doctor), Lalla Ward (Romana)

Broadcast November 23, 1983 (US) / November 25, 1983 (UK)

LogBook entry & review by Earl Green Read More

Downtime

This is a fan-made production whose storyline may be invalidated by later official studio productions.

NeWorld University, a new high-tech campus in central London, has attracted the attention of reporter Sarah Jane Smith. She visits to ask a few pointed questions about the school’s cult-like atmosphere, but is rebuffed by the new headmistress and her persistent assistant. As Sarah leaves, they begin looking into her background, including her association with UNIT. In the meantime, retired Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart, who left UNIT behind years ago and has even recently retired from teaching, experiences unusual visions of a woman in black – a woman Sarah knows as NeWorld’s headmistress. Daniel Hinton, a former pupil of Lethbridge-Stewart’s and now a NeWorld student, escapes from NeWorld with some damaging information, and the headmistress mobilizes an army of students to track him down. Hinton escapes and is protected by a homeless man who also happens to be an ex-Army officer – but Hinton also figures prominently in the Brigadier’s visions. Lethbridge-Stewart is surprised by a phone call from his estranged daughter Kate, who – like many other perfectly normal civilians – are growing increasingly paranoid of the appearance of “chillys” (zombie-like NeWorld students) around the country. Kate also introduces him to a grandson he didn’t know he had. As the evidence of some vast conspiracy continues to build up, the Brigadier and Sarah follow entirely different paths to the same conclusion. The Great Intelligence, the disembodied consciousness that terrorized London with its robotic Yeti in 1968 (and was defeated by the Doctor with Lethbridge-Stewart’s help) is back, and it is once again weaving its web of mind control, this time through the internet. This time the Doctor isn’t around to fight the Great Intelligence and its new servants – Victoria Waterfield, a former companion of the Doctor, and Professor Travers, whose research into yeti sightings led him into the Intelligence’s trap. The Brigadier may be forced to kill old friends to ensure that his grandson’s world has a future.

written by Marc Platt
directed by Christopher Barry
music by Ian Levine, Nigel Stock and Erwin Keiles

Cast: Nicholas Courtney (Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart), Elisabeth Sladen (Sarah Jane Smith), Deborah Watling (Victoria Waterfield), Jack Watling (Professor Travers), Beverley Cressman (Kate Lethbridge-Stewart), Mark Trotman (Daniel Hinton), Geoffrey Beevers (Harrods), Peter Silverleaf (Christopher Rice), John Leeson (Anthony), Miles Richardson (Captain Cavendish), James Bree (Lama), Kathy Coulter (Receptionist), Alexander Landen (Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart), Jonathan Clarkson (Chilly #1), Miles Cherry (Chilly #2), Richard Landen (Lead Yeti), David Howe (Yeti), Tony Clark (Yeti), Conrad Turner (Yeti), Stephen Bradshaw (UNIT Soldier), Keith Brooks (UNIT Soldier), Mark Moore (UNIT Soldier), Gabriel Mykaj (UNIT Soldier), John Reddingston (UNIT Soldier)

Review: Delayed in its production and release, Downtime was originally intended for a 1993 debut to coincide with Doctor Who’s 30th anniversary, but when it looked like an official BBC direct-to-video TV movie called The Dark Dimension might actually be produced (with all of the surviving TV Doctors, no less), the fans backing the production of Downtime let the schedule slide. It’s a pity, as the only member of their cast who would’ve had a conflicted schedule was Nicholas Courtney (aka Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart), and in the end, Dark Dimension never got off the ground. Downtime made for a better anniversary reunion anyway, concentrating on the series’ well-loved stable of favorite guest stars rather than the Doctor himself. Read More