The Creature

1955 | United Kingdom

Sandwiched between The Quatermass Experiment and its sequel Quatermass ll, was Nigel Kneale's gripping tale of a party of explorers who arrive in Tibet, in search of the legendary Abominable Snowman. The story was inspired by the then-current craze for establishing the existence of the Yeti. During the 1950's there had been extensive searches of the Himalayas, and in 1954 one particular Fleet Street newspaper had dispatched a team to track the creature down. 

In this dramatization, a party of explorers led by Tom Friend (Stanley Baker) arrive at the Rong-ruk monastery because one of their number, Andrew McPhee (Simon Lack), had claimed to have seen a Yeti's footprints in the snow on a previous expedition. They are joined by Dr John Rollason (Peter Cushing) who is investigating some 'special evidence' that he claims to have found purporting to the creatures existence. 

Kneale's script draws together elements of mystery, suspense and betrayal as the expedition encounters more than they have bargained for and are attacked one by one. Two years later the writer adapted his script for the large screen in the 1957 Hammer/Clarion production The Abominable Snowman. Peter Cushing reprised his role from the original TV play, which was broadcast live by BBC television on 30 January 1955 with a second live transmission on 3 February. No recordings were made and consequently the movie version is the only one that survives. However, there were numerous changes from the original TV script -including character name changes and two new characters, including John Rollason's wife, who had only been referred to in the original script as 'missing presumed dead'. 

Published on December 5th, 2018. Written by Laurence Marcus (29 September 2002) for Television Heaven.