Cinema finds woman who appeared in long lost Snowdon episodes of Dr Who

Published date: 22 August 2014 |
Published by: Staff reporter
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Kenny Kempster from the Odeon 

A CINEMA has traced a woman who helped a Yeti terrorise the hills of Snowdonia in long lost episodes of Dr Who.

The ODEON Cinema at Eagles Meadow, Wrexham, launched a search for people who were part of the programmes shot in the Nant Ffrancon Pass nearly 50 years ago ahead of a live screening of the new series starring Peter Capaldi as the Time Lord on Saturday.

Sylvia James, from Sunbury-on-Thames, Middlesex, worked as a supervisor on the six-part adventure, The Abominable Snowmen, starring Patrick Troughton as Dr Who.

The grandmother-of-four was involved with the first episode of Dr Who in 1963 with William Hartnell, and in 1967 ensured actors dressed as Yetis roamed Snowdonia in padded fur-covered costumes.

Kenny Kempster, assistant manager at ODEON at Eagles Meadow, speaking ahead of Saturday’s screening said: “She has got quite the CV, and she’s a part of TV history, not just with Dr Who but with other programmes as well. I think it’s fantastic that we’ve managed to find her.”

Sylvia, who works at Windsor Castle as a warden, said: “They were huge costumes. In Wales we were constantly looking out for the rain, and if it started we would have to rush indoors because they Yeti costumes were really hard to dry out.

“I absolutely loved it in North Wales because the scenery was beautiful.

“We had long days filming. We filmed for 17 hours straight on one day because we wanted to get it made while the weather was good. So we just got on with it.

“It was a great show to work on because it was a lot of fun and it felt like we were one big family. We all got on really well.

“I worked a lot with the people in costume and the people doing the special effects.

“We made mould of people’s faces and would use them to make masks. They were usually very reptilian.”

During her career Sylvia has also worked with Spike Milligan and Barry Humphries, and even Ronnie Barker.

She said: “I’ve worked on period production, light entertainment, plays, dramas, sitcoms, you name it.”

Sylvia added: “I think Peter Capaldi is going to be very good. There’s something about him – quirkiness that makes him different, and all the great Dr Who’s had that. Patrick had that.”

Sadly, five of the story’s episodes of Doctor Who adventure, The Abominable Snowmen are among 106 episodes of Dr Who missing from the archives.

Two short clips, and a reel to reel tape recording of the soundtrack, made by a viewer, are all that survive of the missing instalments plus two short home movies of the location filming from director Gerald Blake and Frazer Hines, who played the Doctor’s assistant, Jamie McCrimmon, also exist.

For more news from across the region visit newsnorthwales.co.uk

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