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Robot Yeti were servitors created by the Great Intelligence, originally as protectors before using them as an army.
Appearance and construction
The Yeti robots were large and hairy to disguise themselves in the Himalayas. Their claws, feet, and eyes were the only parts not covered in fur; their claws and feet were black and bumpy, their teeth yellow, and their eyes green.
The first Yeti were bigger and more bear-like, whereas the "Mark II"s, as the Second Doctor called them, in London had better-defined hands capable of wielding web-guns. These Yeti had flaps at their chest which hid the control spheres that provided their motive power, serving as a brain. Yeti could also be directed somewhere through the use of a locus. Until activated, Yeti could stand immobile for long periods, completely shut down and unaware of what went on around it. When instructions did arrive, it would come to life and begin moving. (TV: The Abominable Snowmen, The Web of Fear)
New World University's research into nanotechnology and atomic engineering produced Yeti that resembled the "Mark I" models. A control sphere could plunge itself into a human chest, nano-instructions inducing immediate atomic restructuring and multiplication until the person became a Yeti. Whether this meant they were organic or cyborgs is unclear, but these Yeti had yellow fangs and were more susceptible to projectile fire. They could also fire web from their claws. (PROSE: Downtime)
Yeti created by the Intelligence at the end of its life (called "Mark III" Yeti by Humans as the Intelligence had travelled back in time to before the events where it had created the New World Yeti) were different from previous versions. They had longer claws and were much larger than previous incarnations; allowing for them to grab human beings by the throat with one hand. They did not operate by the metal spheres as before, as to remove an obvious design flaw which could be utilised by the humans. These Yeti could continue to operate after their fur outlining had been destroyed, and were impervious to bombs. (PROSE: The Forgotten Son)
The Yeti were created to serve the Great Intelligence (TV: The Abominable Snowmen) A non-corporeal entity, the Great Intelligence took over the body of Padmasambhava, the lama of Det-Sen Monastery, and built the Yeti over hundreds of years. The Yeti were initially a ruse to scare off curiosity seekers from the mountain cave where the Intelligence planned to manifest; later, they became more of an army serving the Great Intelligence. These robots were similar in appearance to what explorer Professor Edward Travers called "real" Yeti. (TV: The Abominable Snowmen)
The Second Doctor, a friend of Padmasambhava's, arrived in the Himalayas in 1935 with his companions Victoria and Jamie. Along with Professor Travers, they put an end to the Great Intelligence's plan when Jamie smashed the pyramid control in the cave. However, Travers spotted a living Yeti as he parted ways with the Doctor and company. (TV: The Abominable Snowmen)
According to one account, this was a surviving Robot Yeti. Capturing it, Travers brought it back to London, where he showed it to the War Department. The report was not taken very seriously at the time, but, by 1963, had been reappraised following the British Rocket Group's unambiguous discovery of extraterrestrial life in 1953 (which was covered up for the general public, but widely circulated in the higher spheres of government); it thus played a part in the creation of a government agency devoted to defending against hostiel extraterrestrial incursions, (PROSE: Background) the Intrusion Counter-Measures Group. (TV: Remembrance of the Daleks) This did not help Travers, who was considered to have been playing a hoax. Due to the fame of the 'hoax', Julius Silverstein bought the non-functioning robot (which he assumed to be, and exhibited it as, a life-size model) for his private museum in London. ((PROSE: Doctor Who and the Web of Fear)
More than forty years later, Silversten's 'model' was reactivated by a control sphere Travers had re-activated, subsequently somehow transforming into the "Mark II" and killing owner Julius Silverstein. Setting up a Yeti production plant in Wimbledon, (PROSE: Millennial Rites) the robots then covered London in webbing, forcing the evacuation of the populace. Later, in the Underground, Alistair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart and his troops attempted to stop them and the Intelligence from using the Underground as a nervous system. (TV: The Web of Fear) Within days after this was stopped, a returning Great Intelligence reactivated the Yeti and laid siege to Bledoe, Cornwall as part of the second attack. Both British soldiers and Bledoe citizens organised by Lethbridge-Stewart struggled to damage the robots. PROSE: The Forgotten Son)
In October of the same year, the Intelligence used the Yeti to launch an attack on the Brigadier in New York City. With the help of Adrienne Kramer, Owain Vine, Edward Travers, and Sally Wright, the Intelligence was defeated and the yeti deactivated. These yeti had the additional ability to harbour the diseased rats which spread the Intelligence's plague. (PROSE: Times Squared)
Lethbridge-Stewart again encountered a Yeti on Gallifrey, left over from Rassilon's games. On this occasion, the Second Doctor maddened it with a Galactic Glitter, and the resulting rock fall prevented any further interaction with it. (TV: The Five Doctors)
Establishing New World University by 1995, the Intelligence-controlled Victoria Waterfield utilised control spheres to find the final locus, which bound the Intelligence to Earth. These spheres turned several New World students into Yeti, which proceeded to battle UNIT to defend the generators powering the Intelligence, but were subsequently defeated once more through the combined efforts of Victoria, Sarah Jane Smith, and Lethbridge-Stewart. (HOMEVID: Downtime)
A Yeti sidearm was removed from the Hub, the underground HQ of Torchwood 3, following the Hub's destruction. It was then delivered to the CIA Special Operations Division who went rogue and stole the shipment. (PROSE: The Men Who Sold the World)
New Jupiter's EarthWorld theme park had replica Yeti as part of the Twentieth-Century London Zone attraction. Fitz Kreiner, who came from the early 1960s, didn't know why "abominable snowmen" were meant to be part of Swinging London. (PROSE: EarthWorld)
In an alternate timeline created by the Black Guardian where the First Doctor never left Gallifrey, and became Lord President, the Yetis were one of many forces that invaded Earth, and fought over the planet with invaders of various alien races. This timeline was destroyed when the Seventh Doctor retrieved the Key to Time. (COMIC: Time & Time Again)
In the pocket universe of the Great Kingdom, a trapped Intelligence used sheer will to transform the material around it into eight-foot-tall Yeti with red-brown fur animated directly by the Intelligence. (PROSE: Millennial Rites)
In an alternate dimension in which the Doctor's adventures existed as a fictional TV show called Doctor Who, a fan dressed as a Robot Yeti was present at a Doctor Who convention which the Eleventh Doctor visited with Ally in 2013. (COMIC: The Girl Who Loved Doctor Who)
In the video game Happy Deathday, played by Izzy Sinclair on the Time-Space Visualiser, a Robot Yeti was among a host of "every single enemy" that the Doctor had ever defeated, who were assembled by the Beige Guardian and pitted against the Doctor's first eight incarnations. (COMIC: Happy Deathday)
In the Unbound Universe, when the Doctor reunited with Brigadier Alistair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart, the Time Lord brought up their encounter with the Robot Yeti in the London Underground to prove that he was the same man. (AUDIO: Sympathy for the Devil)
Behind the scenes
- Because no clear pictures exist of the supposed "real" Yeti seen at the end of The Abominable Snowmen, direct comparison of the Mark I and "real" Yetis, as televised, is impossible. However the novelisation does afford such a comparison: "It was taller and less bulky. The fur was longer and silkier, and had a more reddish tint. Above all, the face was different, rather like that of a lemur, with dark, soft eyes." Nevertheless, it is extremely unlikely that the brief wide shot that was included in the episode as broadcast would have been able to convey this level of detail. Indeed, this is an instance where the novelisation may be said to actively contradict the televised episode. Since episode six is missing, it is impossible to judge the reliability of this description. One could argue that since the Yeti that Travers places in a museum during the events of The Web of Fear is a robot yeti, that the "real" Yeti he chased after was indeed meant to be another robot incarnation.
- The date of the second Yeti invasion is the point at which the UNIT dating controversy begins. The script of episode two of The Web of Fear says that the events of Snowmen took place "in 1935" which is in turn said to be "over forty years ago". This means that The Web of Fear has to take place no earlier than late 1975. Since Lethbridge-Stewart is only a colonel at this time, it means his next appearance in The Invasion, and all the subsequent ones must take place even later than 1975, well after Tom Baker had begun to play the Fourth Doctor in real life. However, episodes made under John Nathan-Turner, and particularly Mawdryn Undead, indicate that the UNIT stories all took place in more or less the year they were broadcast. Also, the semi-official UNIT website gives the date of the incident as 1968, the same year The Web of Fear aired. Hence, the Tenth Doctor eventually refers to his time working for UNIT as vaguely happening in the 1970s or 1980s. (TV: The Sontaran Stratagem) The Lethbridge-Stewart series places the story in 1969, with Travers having spent five years displaced in time, hence his thinking it had been forty years rather than thirty-five.
Appearances in unmade stories
The Yeti would have reappeared in The Laird of McCrimmon, a story abandoned because of Mervyn Haisman and Henry Lincoln's dispute with the BBC. This story would have seen the writing out of the character of Jamie McCrimmon. The Yeti would also have also appeared briefly in the planned 30th anniversary special The Dark Dimension as one of the races controlled by Hawkspur.