Monday 15 June 2020

H is for... Hieronymous

Hieronymous was the court astrologer of San Martino, under the personal patronage of Count Federico, brother of the Duke. Federico coveted the Dukedom for himself and so had Hieronymous predict his brother's death - then ensure that it happened through the agency of poison. The heir to the Dukedom was now Federico's young nephew Giuliano, and so the Count ordered his astrologer to prepare a new horoscope predicting his demise before he could assume power. Hieronymous believed completely in the powers of the stars and was resentful at having to lie about them for the Count. As a child he had experienced visions, promising him future greatness. He had actually been contacted by an alien intelligence - the Mandragora Helix - which planned to use him in its conquest of the Earth. All the time Hieronymous was working for the Count, he was secretly leading a pagan group known as the Cult of Demnos, which dated back to Roman times. The Helix intended to use him and the Cult to achieve its ends. Hieronymous would wear regal purple robes for the Cult's ceremonies - which included human sacrifice - his face hidden behind an ancient gold mask. Helix energy descended on their underground temple after being accidentally brought to Earth by the TARDIS. The temple was restored to its former glory, and Hieronymous was gifted with special powers. He then began to plot against the Count. The Helix gave Hieronymous more of its power, and he became a being of pure Mandragora energy. When the Count visited the temple, Hieronymous killed him. The Doctor knew that the Helix energy was spread thin amongst the High Priest and his followers, and so goaded Hieronymous into expending energy in trying to kill him. He managed to completely drain and destroy him, before disguising himself in his robes in order to lure the rest of the Cult to their doom. The Helix was cast back into deep space.

Played by: Norman Jones. Appearances: The Masque of Mandragora (1976).
  • This was the third and final appearance by Jones in the programme. He first appeared as the warrior monk Khrisong in The Abominable Snowmen, then returned in 1970 as Major Baker in The Silurians.
  • The character was named after the painter Hieronymus Bosch (1450 - 1516), the Dutch painter famous for his surreal and nightmarish visions.

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