DOCTOR WHO - A Festive Lullaby

Christopher Morley sings along with the Third Doctor...

It's Christ-maaasss! Well, nearly at least. What better time to take a look at perhaps an oft-forgotten festive nugget from the annals of Doctor Who? Wrap yourself up in a nice frilly shirt & cape as we revisit The Curse Of Peladon, while trying not to wake the sleeping Aggedor!

Of course this wasn't any kind of festive special- Episode One went out on January 29, 1972- but if you know your carols you might have some idea of the tune the Doctor sings those alien words to, which forms part of a Venusian lullaby. For starters, what is it he's crooning in the first place?

All together now...
'Klokleda partha mennin klatch
Haroon, haroon, haroon
Klokleda shunna teerenach
Haroon, haroon, haroon
Haroon, haroon, haroon
Haroon, haroon, haroon
Haroon, haroon, haroon '
Jon Pertwee himself often claimed the credit for those words, saying that it was his idea to fit them over the tune of God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen. The author of the original carol remains a mystery, though its believed the piece in its best-known form dates from 1833, with lyrics plundered from the fifteenth century-
'God rest you merry, Gentlemen,
Let nothing you dismay,
For Jesus Christ our Savior
Was born upon this Day.
To save poor souls from Satan's power,
Which long time had gone astray.
Which brings tidings of comfort and joy'
Saving the souls of the villagers of Devil's End from the power of the Daemon Azal, which of course 'Reverend Magister'- the Master posing as a man of God- seeks to exploit, was the Doctor's first order of business on May 22,1971- as Episode One of The Daemons aired, forming a sort-of link between the two stories.

The eagle-eared amongst you might notice that the Doctor also uses the first line of the Venusian lullaby ( which roughly translates as ' "Close your eyes, my darling. Well three of them, at least"!) well before adding the rest later on as part of an incantation to scare off Azal's gargoyle servant Bok, with a backwards reading of Mary Had A Little Lamb serving as the chant which Magister/ the Master & his coven use in summoning the Daemon, an earlier example of a well-known traditional song/rhyme being put to new & inventive use! So be wary that should you attempt to hold these words...
'Mary had a little lamb,
His fleece was white as snow,
And everywhere that Mary went,
The lamb was sure to go.'
...up to a mirror & repeat them, you may very well be summoning a terrible evil.

Think very carefully before you do, that's all we're saying!

The writer of The Daemons, one 'Guy Leopold', was actually a pseudonym for the team of Robert Sloman & Barry Letts- Letts' interest in the occult sparked by reading Dennis Wheatley's 1934 novel The Devil Rides Out & Erich von Daniken's Chariots Of The Gods ( 1969), which posits that aliens had visited Earth well before the dawn of man- hence the assertion that Daemons had done the same & viewed humanity as a failed experiment, images of them serving as the inspiration for depictions of the Devil. Further research will also reveal a hidden meaning of the symbols on the Master's robes- from left to right, they're symbols which translate to his Masterly title- written in Theban- an obscure sixteenth century writing style linked to the occult.

The Doctor will of course return to Peladon for The Monster Of Peladon, both visits available on the Peladon Tales DVD box set - one for the Christmas list perhaps. Amazingly, he encounters the same Aggedor in both stories- with an implied gap of 50 years between the two. Perhaps remembering the lullaby & course of hypnosis, which served to break its training by the High Priest Hepesh- who'd wanted to use the beast as part of his own agenda against Peladon's joining of the Galactic Federation- it comes to the Doctor's aid in killing the corrupt High Priest instead of Hepesh's next intended victim, the Doctor himself!

If you enjoyed the Peladon television outings then you'll be pleased to know the dandy's back on familiar ground two incarnations later, having developed a love of cricket in the interim, in The Bride Of Peladon from Big Finish. It's the final story to feature his Ancient Egyptian companion, the princess Erimem- who elects to stay behind & wed Pelleas, King of Peladon- from the Time Lord's perspective another hundred years have passed since his last visit, & for her its a chance to rule, as is her destiny. Well, she is the daughter of a Pharaoh, Amenhotep II so its only fair, right?

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