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Author of Dr. Who’s “The Abominable Snowmen” Dies

Posted by: Loren Coleman on November 4th, 2010

Mervyn Haisman (born 1928, London), a well-known British television and film script writer, died on October 29, 2010.

Amongst his credits were episodes of “Doctor Who,” “The Onedin Line” and “Howard’s Way.” Together with Henry Lincoln (who would go on to become famous for Holy Blood, Holy Grail), Haisman penned three “Doctor Who” stories in the late 1960s during Patrick Troughton’s tenure as the Time Lord. His first story with Lincoln was “The Abominable Snowmen,” which introduced the Yeti and together the two penned the sequel, “The Web of Fear” soon after. The “Web of Fear” is notable for introducing the character of Alistair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart (Nicholas Courtney) who would become a fan favorite simply referred to as The Brigadier. The final story he penned was “The Dominators.”

It should also be noted that writer “Norman Ashby” for “Dr. Who” was a pseudonym for Mervyn Haisman and Henry Lincoln.

Aside from “Doctor Who,” Haisman’s other writing credits include “Sutherland’s Law,” “Jubilee,” the period drama “The Onedin Line,” and in the late 1980s the BBC soap “Howard’s Way.” Haisman’s work on “Howard’s Way” began from season four, writing 12 episodes in all.

The Yeti from “Dr. Who.”

“The Abominable Snowmen” is a serial in the British science fiction television series Doctor Who, which originally aired in six weekly parts from September 30 to November 4, 1967. The story is notable for the introduction of recurring foes, the Yeti.

Episode one, for example, begins with Professor Travers, an anthropologist and explorer, being awaken from his sleep when he hears the screams of his companion. He is horrified to see a lumbering, hairy creature standing over his friend’s lifeless body. The beast grabs Travers’s gun and twists it into scrap metal as the terrified man scampers into the night. (For an extensive summary of the series, please see here.)

Yeti from “The Web of Fear.”

The Abominable Snowmen proved to be very popular with viewers, which pleased the producers enough that they brought the monsters back very quickly in “The Web of Fear,” and intending a third story in the next season until falling out with the production over “The Dominators.” This was partly an effort to provide a new ‘signature enemy’ for the series to replace the Daleks. At the time of production, Dalek creator Terry Nation was trying to create an American television show based around the Daleks, and as a result refused to grant the show permission to use the Daleks during this period. The Yeti would appear once more in “The Five Doctors.”

“The Abominable Snowmen” on “Doctor Who” employed the North Wales mountain pass at Nant Ffrancon as Tibet for the filming of this serial.

The creations of Haisman and Lincoln were extended into print due to their popularity.

About Loren Coleman
Loren Coleman is one of the world’s leading cryptozoologists, some say “the” leading. Certainly, he is acknowledged as the current living American researcher and writer who has most popularized cryptozoology in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Starting his fieldwork and investigations in 1960, after traveling and trekking extensively in pursuit of cryptozoological mysteries, Coleman began writing to share his experiences in 1969. An honorary member of Ivan T. Sanderson’s Society for the Investigation of the Unexplained in the 1970s, Coleman has been bestowed with similar honorary memberships of the North Idaho College Cryptozoology Club in 1983, and in subsequent years, that of the British Columbia Scientific Cryptozoology Club, CryptoSafari International, and other international organizations. He was also a Life Member and Benefactor of the International Society of Cryptozoology (now-defunct). Loren Coleman’s daily blog, as a member of the Cryptomundo Team, served as an ongoing avenue of communication for the ever-growing body of cryptozoo news from 2005 through 2013.


One Response to “Author of Dr. Who’s “The Abominable Snowmen” Dies”

  1. Redrose999 responds:

    That’s sad to hear. I think that was one of my favorite Troughten story. I even managed to get a VHS tape with some of the eps still existing. I recall watching it and later the Web of fear with my son Gabe, when he was two, and he’d hide behind the sofa every time a Yeti showed.

    Brilliant stuff, I’m sad to hear Mr Haisman has left this mortal coil.



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