A play for television by Nigel Kneale
[Starring] Peter Cushing and Stanley Baker
The action takes place in a remote part of the Himalayas.
(Stanley Baker appears by arrangement with British Lion Film Corporation Ltd.)
Second performance: Thursday at 9.15 p.m.
During the past half-century, exploration of the great Himalayan mountain chain and the neighbouring territories has been greatly intensified. European expeditions have ranged through the highland states of Nepal, Bhutan, Kashmir, sometimes even into the 'forbidden land' of Tibet itself. They came upon little-known ways of life: communities that were snow-bound through much of the year, ruled by lamas, the priests of Tibetan Buddhism and other, older cults; where it was forbidden to take life in any form, yet where human skulls were used to make instruments for ritual music. They found a land of contradictions, of eternal peace and sudden cruelties, of great beauty and the bitterest, most hostile living conditions man had to endure. Not far above the last lonely settlements came the perpetual snowline, beyond which there were no seasons - only an eternal winter in the gale-swept heights. Surely no living thing could exist there? Then strange reports began to come from occasional climbing parties: descriptions of mysterious footprints found in the snow at seemingly impossible altitudes: the tracks of very large, naked feet. They were discovered thousands of miles apart, from the Karakorum in the west to Sikkim in the east. Photographs were brought back, examined by experts. Could it be a species of bear? An ape? One of the native names for the creature was inaccurately but romantically translated as 'Abominable Snowman,' a designation which fitted one inescapable fact-that it walked on two legs.
Climbers made the quest for the yeti, as the Tibetans call it, a secondary objective. A year ago a London newspaper sent a fully-equipped expedition specifically to search for it. Again tracks were found, but not what made them. Is there, after all, some prosaic explanation for the footprints? Or does the yeti exist? If so, what can it be? The Creature, in purely fictional terms, is a guess at the answers. (Nigel Kneale)
[Photo caption] Members of the Tom Friend Expedition, from the left: Nima Kusang, Pierre Brosset, Tom Friend, John Rollason, Andrew McPhee