Master (Doctor Who)

Master (Doctor Who)
Doctor Who character
Versions of the Master.png
Six on-screen versions of the Master (left to right, top to bottom): Roger Delgado, Peter Pratt, Anthony Ainley, Eric Roberts, Derek Jacobi, John Simm.
The Master
Species Time Lord
Home planet Gallifrey
Home era Rassilon Era
First appearance "Terror of the Autons"
Portrayed by Roger Delgado
Peter Pratt
Geoffrey Beevers
Anthony Ainley
Gordon Tipple
Eric Roberts
Derek Jacobi
John Simm
William Hughes

The Master is a recurring character in the British science fiction television series Doctor Who. He is a renegade Time Lord and the archenemy of the Doctor.

When the Master first appeared in January 1971 he was played by Roger Delgado, who continued in the role until his death in 1973.[1] Afterwards, Peter Pratt and Geoffrey Beevers played a physically decayed version of the Time Lord until Anthony Ainley assumed the part in 1981 until the show's cancellation in 1989. In the 1996 TV movie, the Master was played briefly by Gordon Tipple, then by Eric Roberts while in a human body. In the revived series, Derek Jacobi provided the character's re-introduction before handing over to John Simm, who portrayed the Master in the climax of the 2007 series and in the 2009 serial "The End of Time", with William Hughes also portraying the Master at the age of 8.[2]



The creative team conceived the Master as a recurring villain, a "Professor Moriarty to the Doctor's Sherlock Holmes."[3] He first appeared in Terror of the Autons (1971). The Master's title was deliberately chosen by producer Barry Letts and script editor Terrance Dicks as evocative of supervillain names in fiction, but primarily because, like the Doctor, it was a title conferred by an academic degree.

Barry Letts had one man in mind for the role: Roger Delgado. Delgado had a long history of screen villainy and had already made three attempts to break into the series. He had worked previously with Barry Letts and was also a good friend of Jon Pertwee. Delgado was killed in a car accident in Turkey on 18 June 1973, while on his way to shoot footage for the French comedy The Bell of Tibet. The next Master story was replaced by Planet of the Spiders (1974).

An unrelated character called the Master of the Land of Fiction, also referred to as "the Master", had previously appeared in the 1968 Doctor Who serial The Mind Robber opposite Patrick Troughton's Doctor.[4]

History within the show

Childhood and early life

The Master as an eight-year-old (William Hughes), stares into the Untempered Schism on Gallifrey.

In "The Sound of Drums" (2007) and "The End of Time" (2010), a flashback shows the Master at the age of eight, when as part of a Time Lord initiation ceremony he is taken before a gap in the fabric of space and time known as the Untempered Schism, from which one can see into the entire Vortex. The Doctor states that looking into the time vortex causes some Time Lords to go mad, implying that event to have been the cause of the Master's actions and the four-beat sound of drums, which the Master calls the "drums of war". The drumming is later revealed to be a signal placed in his mind by the Time Lords during the Time War.[5] The beat is the same in its rhythmic construction as a significant component of the show's theme music.

Classic series

Aims and character

A would-be universal conqueror, the Master wants to control the universe (in The Deadly Assassin his ambitions were described as becoming "the master of all matter", and in "The Sound of Drums" he acknowledges that he chose the name "the Master"), with a secondary objective of eliminating and/or hurting the Doctor. The original (and most common before 1996) look of the character was similar to that of the classic Svengali character; a black Nehru outfit with a beard and moustache.

In his three seasons beginning with Terror of the Autons, the Master (as played by Delgado) appeared in eight out of the fifteen serials. In his first season the Master is involved in every adventure of the Doctor's, always getting away at the last minute before he is captured in The Dæmons (1971), only to escape imprisonment in The Sea Devils (1972). He would often use disguises and brainwashing to operate in normal society, while setting up his plans; he also tried to use other alien races and powers as his means to conquest, such as the Autons and the Dæmons. Delgado's portrayal of the Master was as a suave, charming and somewhat sociopathic individual, able to be polite and murderous at almost the same time.

Delgado's last on-screen appearance as the Master was in Frontier in Space, where he is working alongside the Daleks and the Ogrons to provoke a war between the Human and Draconian Empires. His final scene ended with him shooting the Doctor and then disappearing.

Quest for new life

Geoffrey Beevers as the Master in The Keeper of Traken.

In his next appearance in The Deadly Assassin (1976), the Master (played by Peter Pratt under heavy make-up) appears as an emaciated, decaying husk (similar to a corpse) at the end of his thirteenth and final life. Here, the evil Time Lord almost succeeds in his plan to restore himself to full life with the symbols of the office of President of the Council of Time Lords, the artefacts of Rassilon. The Doctor stops him because the process would have caused the destruction of Gallifrey. After this story, the Master again departs the series, returning in 1981. In The Keeper of Traken, the Master (Geoffrey Beevers under different heavy make-up but playing the same incarnation as Pratt[6]) succeeds in renewing himself by taking over the body of the Trakenite scientist named Tremas (an anagram of "Master"), overwriting Tremas's mind in the process. The Master (played by Anthony Ainley, who played a double role in the serial as Tremas) then appeared on and off for the rest of the series, still seeking to extend his life – preferably with a new set of regenerations. Subsequently in The Five Doctors, the Time Lords offer the Master a new regeneration cycle in exchange for his help.

In many of his appearances opposite the Fifth Doctor, the Master shows his penchant for disguise once again. For example, in Time-Flight he operates under concealment for no clear plot reason[citation needed]. The character's association with playful pseudonyms also continued both within the series and in its publicity: when the production team wished to hide the Master's involvement in a story, they credited the character under an anagrammatic alias such as "Neil Toynay" (Tony Ainley) or "James Stoker" (Master's Joke).

Ainley's final appearance in the role in Survival was more restrained. He was also given a more downbeat costume, reminiscent of the suits and ties worn by Delgado's Master. In this final story, he had been trapped on the planet of the Cheetah People and been affected by its influence, which drove its victims to savagery. Escaping the doomed planet, he attempted to kill the Doctor, a plan which left him trapped back on the planet as it was destroyed.

Doctor Who television movie

Gordon Tipple as the Master

The Master appeared as the main antagonist of the 1996 Doctor Who television movie that starred Paul McGann as the Eighth Doctor and Eric Roberts as the Master.

In the prologue, the Master (portrayed by Gordon Tipple) was executed by the Daleks as a punishment for his "evil crimes". The Master survives his execution by taking on the form of a small, snake-like entity. This entity escapes and slithers inside the Doctor's TARDIS console, forcing the vessel to crash land in San Francisco.

The novelisation of the television movie by Gary Russell posits that the modifications and alterations that the Master has made to his body over the years in attempts to extend his lifespan had allowed this continued existence, and the implication is that the "morphant" creature is actually another lifeform that the Master's consciousness possesses. This interpretation is made explicit in the first of the Eighth Doctor Adventures novels, The Eight Doctors by Terrance Dicks, and also used in the Doctor Who Magazine comic strip story The Fallen (DWM #273-#276), which states that the morphant was a shape-shifting animal native to Skaro.

The morphant form is unsustainable and requires a human host, and it possesses the body of a paramedic Bruce (played by Eric Roberts, the first and thus far only American actor to play the role). Bruce's body is also unsustainable and begins to slowly degenerate, although he has the added abilities to spit an acid-like bile as a weapon and a snake-like ability to hypnotise. The Master attempts to access the Eye of Harmony to steal the Doctor's remaining regenerations, but instead is sucked into it and supposedly killed.

Revived series

When Doctor Who was revived in 2005, it was initially stated in the episode "Dalek" that all the Time Lords except the Doctor were killed in a Time War with the Daleks. The Doctor stated that if other Time Lords had survived, he would have been able to sense them. The Master did however reappear as the main antagonist of the third series; his return is foreshadowed in "Gridlock", when the Face of Boe gives the Tenth Doctor a message before dying: "You are not alone".

In "The Sound of Drums", it is revealed that the Time Lords resurrected the Master to serve as the ultimate front line soldier in the Time War. After the Dalek Emperor took control of "The Cruciform", the Master fled the war in fear, ignorant of its outcome. He disguised himself as a human through the same process the Doctor himself used in "Human Nature"—a Chameleon Arch that stores his Time Lord nature and memories in a fob watch and allows him to become biologically human—and hid at the end of the universe ageing into the benevolent scientist, Professor Yana. The professor was still plagued by the constant drumming[clarification needed] as he attempts to send the last remaining humans to Utopia. The Doctor meets Yana in "Utopia", and a discussion of Time Lords and related issues by the Doctor and his companions (Martha Jones and Jack Harkness) cause Yana to recall his Time Lord essence. This, along with the increased drumming[clarification needed] and Martha's curiosity about the fob watch, causes Yana to open the watch and become the Master again, in a scene that makes clear that YANA is an acronym for the Face of Boe's final words.

Harold Saxon

Near the end of "Utopia", the Master is mortally wounded when his companion Chantho shoots him after he fatally injured her, regenerating into a new younger incarnation. The Master steals the Doctor's TARDIS and escapes, but the Doctor sabotages the TARDIS using his sonic screwdriver so that the Master is only able to travel between present-day Earth and the year 100 trillion.

The political poster used by Saxon during his Prime Ministerial campaign.

Following his escape from the end of the universe, he arrives in the United Kingdom 18 months before the 2008 election, prior to the fall of Harriet Jones. The Master assumes the identity Harold Saxon, becoming a high-ranking minister at the Ministry of Defence. He apparently holds this post during the 2006 Christmas episode, "The Runaway Bride", as the Army are said to be firing upon the Racnoss ship on Mr. Saxon's orders. During this period, he finances Professor Richard Lazarus' (Mark Gatiss) research and sets up the Archangel communications network, which allows him to influence humanity using a telepathic field, enabling him to rise to the office of Prime Minister. Before the events of "The Runaway Bride" in the show's adult-themed spin-off Torchwood, a "Vote Saxon" poster is seen on a wall among several other tattered posters in the episode Captain Jack Harkness, possibly the first indication of the Master's return. In "Love & Monsters", an article about Saxon leading the polls can be seen when the Abzorbaloff first reveals himself.

After becoming Prime Minister, the Master uses the TARDIS to recruit the Toclafane as allies, having them kill one tenth of the world population, and rules the Earth for a year, while he turns whole nations into work-camps and bases for a fleet of war rockets. Just as he is ready to wage war on the rest of the universe and forge an empire, the Doctor is restored to strength by the efforts of Martha Jones, using the Archangel network. The Doctor intends to keep the Master with him on the TARDIS; this plan is thwarted when the Master is shot by his wife Lucy Saxon (Alexandra Moen). The Master then dies after refusing to regenerate, unwilling to be the Doctor's prisoner. Since his death emotionally hurts the Doctor, the Master views this as a victory.

The Doctor cremates the Master's body on a pyre. His ring remains, which is picked up by a woman with long, bright red fingernails, revealed later to be a member of a coven loyal to the Master.

In "The End of Time", the Governor and other members of the Master's coven conduct the resurrection ritual at Broadfell prison, where Lucy Saxon was incarcerated. Lucy sabotages the ritual and the Master is returned to life with a failing, undead body and a ravenous hunger for meat, including human beings. He is able to manipulate bolts of electricity, move with phenomenal agility and jump great distances by manipulating his life force. Resorting to wandering the fringe of London and feeding on homeless people, he is eventually captured by billionaire Joshua Naismith in order to use his knowledge to repair an alien 'Immortality Gate' to make Naismith's daughter immortal. The Master sabotages the device, using its original purpose as a planet-wide medical tool to overwrite the DNA of every human on Earth with his own and create a "Master Race".

The Master realises that the drum beat in his head is a signal. Using his duplicates, he triangulates the signal to the Time Lord President Rassilon, who had sent the signal in order to be released from the time-locked Time War. Using the time vortex, Rassilon sent a unique Gallifreyan diamond to Earth to help the Master create a link through which Gallifrey, the Time Lords, and all in the Time War could escape. The Master intended to overwrite his DNA onto the Time Lord race, only to learn he had been used as a pawn in Rassilon's own plan to destroy the universe and evolve the Time Lords to a higher plane of existence. The Doctor destroys the link and the Master attacks Rassilon in an act of revenge for a lifetime of manipulation, disappearing along with the other Time Lords in the process.


Intelligence and attitude

The Master and the Doctor are shown to have similar levels of intelligence, and were classmates on Gallifrey, wherein the Master outperformed the Doctor (Terror of the Autons). This is mentioned several times in different stories (The Five Doctors, The Sea Devils and Terror of the Autons). A similar connection between the two was also referenced in "The End of Time" in which the Master reminisces with the Doctor about his father's estates on Gallifrey and his childhood with The Doctor before saying "look at us now". In the 2007 episode "Utopia", the Doctor calls the transformed and disguised Master a genius and shows admiration for his intellect before discovering his true identity. The Doctor further expresses admiration for the Master's intellect in The End of Time by calling him "stone cold brilliant" and yet states that the Master could be more if he would just give up his desire for domination.

Aspects of Simm's Master parallel Tennant's Doctor, primarily in his ability to make light of tense situations and his rather quirky and hyperactive personality. According to the producers, this was done to make the Master more threatening to the Doctor by having him take one of his opponent's greatest strengths,[7] as well as making the parallels between the two characters more distinctive.[8] This rationale is written into dialogue by the Master in "Utopia", in which he explicitly states, as he is regenerating, that if the Doctor can be young and strong, then so can he. In an episode of Doctor Who Confidential, "Lords and Masters", Russell T Davies also classifies the Master as both a sociopath and a psychopath.

Mental abilities

Both the Doctor and the Master have been shown to be skilled hypnotists, although the Master's capacity to dominate – even by stare and voice alone – has been shown to be far more pronounced. In Logopolis the Doctor said of the Master, "He's a Time Lord. In many ways, we have the same mind." The Master is often able to anticipate the Doctor's moves, as seen in stories such as Castrovalva, The Keeper of Traken, Time-Flight, and The King's Demons, where he plans elaborate traps for the Doctor, only revealing his presence at the key moment. In The Deadly Assassin, the Master was able to send a false premonition as a telepathic message to the Doctor, but it is unclear whether he performed this through innate psychic ability, or was aided technologically. In "Utopia" after the Master regenerates and reveals himself, he taunts the Doctor to try to stop his elaborate schemes again.

In The End of Time the Master uses a kind of psychic technique, previously used by the Doctor to read the minds of others, allowing the Doctor to hear the constant 'drumming' inside the Master's mind.


In the original Doctor Who series, the Master's TARDISes have had fully functioning chameleon circuits, having appeared as various things, including a horsebox (Terror of the Autons), a spaceship (Colony in space), a fir tree (Logopolis), a computer bank (The Time Monster), a grandfather clock (The Deadly Assassin and The Keeper of Traken), a fluted architectural column (Logopolis, Castrovalva, Time-Flight), an iron maiden (The King's Demons), a fireplace (Castrovalva), a British Airways jet (Time-Flight), a cottage (The Ultimate Foe), and a triangular column (Planet of Fire). Of the Master's TARDISes seen in The Keeper of Traken, one appears as the calcified, statue-like Melkur, able to move and even walk; the other appears as a grandfather clock. The Melkur TARDIS is destroyed. At one point in Logopolis, the Master's TARDIS even appears as a police box, like the Doctor's.

By the time of the new series, it is unclear whether any of the Master's TARDISes still exist. In "Rise of the Cybermen", the Tenth Doctor claims that his TARDIS is the last one in existence although at the time of his saying this, he also thought he was the last Time Lord. In "Utopia", the Master resorts to stealing the Doctor's TARDIS, and later demands access to the Doctor's ship in The End of Time, but this could be because he cannot immediately access his ship because it is somewhere else rather than meaning that his TARDIS was destroyed.

Handheld weaponry

The Master's original weapon of choice was the "tissue compression eliminator", which shrinks its target to doll-like proportions, killing them in the process. Its appearance is similar to that of the Doctor's favourite tool, the sonic screwdriver. Both the tissue compression eliminator and the sonic screwdriver resemble a short hand-held rod; at different times in the series, both tools have had a LED on the end to signal its use.

John Simm's incarnation of the Master with his laser screwdriver.

Despite his own fondness for the weapon, Russell T Davies decided against bringing it back for the Master's reappearance in "The Sound of Drums", on the grounds that the Master had too many new "tricks" to use against the Doctor.[9]

During the course of "The Sound of Drums", the Master unveils a new handheld weapon: a laser screwdriver. The device functions as a powerful laser weapon, capable of killing with a single shot. It also carries the ability to age victims rapidly using a miniaturized version of the genetic manipulator developed by Professor Lazarus ("The Lazarus Experiment"). The screwdriver itself also contains isomorphic technology, a biometric security feature which effectively disables use of the device by anyone other than the Master.


Unlike the Doctor, the Master does not usually have companions. There have been times when he made exceptions, though in his case they are not so much "companions" as "tools". In Castrovalva, the Doctor's companion Adric was abducted by the Master and forced to create a block transfer computation. Later, in The King's Demons, Kamelion is controlled by the Master before the Doctor steals him away, with the Master regaining control of Kamelion in Planet of Fire. In the second episode of The Ultimate Foe, Sabalom Glitz chose to go with the Master in search of Time Lord secrets.

In the 1996 television movie, Chang Lee helps the Master because he has been duped into believing that the Doctor had stolen his body. When Lee's loyalty begins to falter, the Master attempts to kill him without hesitation. In promotional media surrounding the movie, Lee is depicted more as a companion to the Eighth Doctor (alongside Grace Holloway).

In "Utopia", Chantho plays a similar companion role to the Professor Yana persona. Chantho states that she has been with him for 17 years as a "devoted assistant". Later, when the Master persona resurfaces, he berates her for never freeing him from his confinement, and the two fatally wound one another, resulting in Chantho's death and the Master's regeneration.

In "The Sound of Drums", the Master, as Harold Saxon, is married to Lucy Saxon, to whom he refers at one point as his "faithful companion". Lucy is aware of the nature of the Master's plans yet is still loyal to him. She has travelled with him to Utopia, the end of the universe, and thus believes "there's no point to anything." Their relationship appears to be non-platonic; they kiss quite often and it seems as though their marriage is more than just a pretence. Lucy comments, "I made my choice, for better or for worse." In "Last of the Time Lords" she is still present, but showing signs of apparent physical abuse, and her loyalty towards him begins to waver. She shoots the Master at the climax of the story, killing him. She is imprisoned, but when the Master's ring is found in The End of Time, she is forced to go to his new birth-place to help. Having foreseen his resurrection, she sets off an explosive in an attempt to stop it, killing herself in the process. The Master is resurrected nonetheless, but is damaged, with a unsustainable lust for meat and lightning fast reflexes.

Although not a companion in the traditional sense, the Master allied himself with another evil renegade Time Lord, the Rani, in The Mark of the Rani to thwart the Doctor. The Master has also been known to ally himself with other villains of the series, including the Daleks, the Cybermen and the Autons. None of these alliances lasted past the Master achieving his own aims, or his being stopped by the Doctor.

Other appearances

With the exception of the Ninth Doctor and the Eleventh Doctor, the Master has had onscreen encounters with all of the past incarnations of the Doctor. This includes the First and Second Doctors whose onscreen stories occurred before the character of the Master was created for the show. They encountered him during the events of The Five Doctors.

The Master has featured in spin-offs of the series, which are of unclear canonicity and may not take place in the same continuity. The Master in these stories is, nevertheless, recognisably the same person.

One of the most notable of these other appearances is David A. McIntee's "Master trilogy" of novels comprising The Dark Path and First Frontier in the Virgin Publishing lines and The Face of the Enemy for BBC Books, and the Doctor Who radio dramas produced by Big Finish Productions, in which Geoffrey Beevers has reprised the role.

Doctor Who Annual 2006

An article in the Doctor Who Annual 2006, describing the Time War and written by Doctor Who lead writer and executive producer Russell T Davies, stated that Time Lord President Romana tried to make peace with the Daleks through something known as the "Act of Master Restitution". Davies has not confirmed that this is a reference to the Master.


The Dark Path cover

The Master's past with the Doctor is explored somewhat in The Dark Path, which reveals that his name prior to taking the alias of the Master is Koschei, when he encounters the Second Doctor during their travels. Although initially a somewhat anti-heroic version of the Doctor- willing to commit murder as a first option to save the day rather than the Doctor-, Koschei turns evil and becomes the Master after he discovers that his companion and lover, Ailla, is an undercover agent of the Celestial Intervention Agency sent to spy on him.

During the course of the novel, Ailla is shot and killed. Not knowing she is a Time Lord and that she will simply regenerate, Koschei completes a time-based weapon in an attempt to bring her back and the weapon is used to destroy the planet Teriliptus and its inhabitants. When Ailla turns up alive, the knowledge that he has destroyed a planet for nothing, coupled with the revelation of Ailla's betrayal, proves too much. Koschei resolves to bring his own order to the universe at the expense of free will and becoming its Master. Thanks to the Doctor reprogramming his weapon, Koschei is trapped in a black hole at the end of the novel, with it being left uncertain how he will escape, although it is generally implied that it takes him most of his remaining lives to do so (Hence why the Master is on his last life while the Doctor, intended to be his contemporary, is only on his third).

The Face of the Enemy centres around the Delgado-era Master, but includes a cameo by a Koschei from an alternate timeline (originally featured in Inferno) who never became the Master. This version of Koschei is still a loyal Time Lord who becomes stranded on the alternate Earth after that universe's version of "The Web of Fear" destroyed his TARDIS. He is subsequently captured and forced to work for the fascist rulers of this Earth, who keep him alive, in agony, using life support systems. When the Master, crossing over from the other universe, learns of this, he ends his counterpart's life in a rare moment of compassion.

Last of the Gaderene by Mark Gatiss and Deadly Reunion by Terrance Dicks and Barry Letts are both close homages to the Delgado/Pertwee stories. In the former, the Master, disguised as Police Inspector LeMaitre, assists an alien race called the Gaderene to invade Earth, starting with a small village. In the latter, he attempts to control powerful forces through a cult, but finds himself at the mercy of a godlike alien. The Delgado Master also appears in Verdigris by Paul Magrs, a more parodic take on the Pertwee era. The eponymous genie spends much of the novel impersonating the Master, who is in fact controlling him: the real Master appears in the novel's epilogue, buying a Chinese takeaway.

The reason the Master is so emaciated when he appears in The Deadly Assassin is explored in John Peel's novel Legacy of the Daleks, in which he attempts to capture the Doctor's granddaughter Susan Foreman- resulting in an out-of-sequence encounter with the Eighth Doctor when the Doctor receives a telepathic cry of distress from Susan and attempts to trace it back to before its origin-, but is badly burned when she attacks him in self-defence and takes possession of his TARDIS. After Susan escapes, the dying Master is eventually found by Chancellor Goth on the planet Tersurus, which leads directly into the events of The Deadly Assassin.

The Ainley-era Master appears in the novel The Quantum Archangel by Craig Hinton, a direct sequel to The Time Monster. In this novel he poses as a Serbian businessman called Gospodar- prompting the Sixth Doctor to wonder if he's "running out of languages"- while attempting to subvert the power of the higher dimensions to turn himself into a god, only for it to be revealed that this plan was actually the result of the machinations of the Chronovore/Eternal hybrid Kronos trying to trick the Master into punishing the Chronovores for his lifetime of imprisonment.

First Frontier shows the Master (apparently the Ainley version) finally acquiring a new body, who according to McIntee is based on the cinema persona of Basil Rathbone. This incarnation reappears in Happy Endings by Paul Cornell, Virgin Publishing's celebratory fiftieth Virgin New Adventures novel. After the broadcast of the television movie, some fans suggested that this is the incarnation briefly played by Gordon Tipple in the prologue, eventually succumbing once again to the cheetah virus in the first Eighth Doctor novel The Eight Doctors.

Prior to the end of the Virgin Missing Adventures series, the Delgado version of The Master appeared in the novel Who Killed Kennedy which, while published by Virgin, was not considered part of the Missing Adventures series.

The short story Stop The Pigeon, and the Past Doctor Adventure Prime Time, both by Robert Perry and Mike Tucker and probably set before First Frontier, feature the Ainley Master looking for a cure for the Cheetah virus.

Gallifrey and the Time Lords are destroyed in the Eighth Doctor Adventures novel The Ancestor Cell, but in The Adventuress of Henrietta Street a mysterious stranger wearing a rosette appears who could have been the Master, somehow surviving the cataclysm. Gallifrey's destruction here is not related to its subsequent destruction just prior to the new series (see Time Lord – Recent history). In Lance Parkin's The Gallifrey Chronicles, a surviving Time Lord named Marnal appears, and it is implied in dialogue that he may have been the Master's father. In the same novel (and earlier, in Sometime Never...), the Doctor talks with a malign entity within the TARDIS's Eye of Harmony, which could have been the Roberts Master, throwing the true identity of the Man with the Rosette into doubt. The entity within the Eye refers to itself as an "echo", thus leaving scope for the real Master to be elsewhere. (In his Doctor Who chronology book AHistory, Parkin suggests that Lawrence Miles intended the Man with the Rosette to be the Master, even if it was not explicitly stated.)

The Master is seen to escape the Eye of Harmony in the short story Forgotten by Joseph Lidster, published in Short Trips: The Centenarian. The story ends with him left in 1906 in possession of a human male's body.

Another version of the Master appears in The Infinity Doctors (also by Parkin), where he is known as the Magistrate and is, once again, the Doctor's friend, although when this takes place in continuity is unclear. Parkin has stated[citation needed] that the novel can fit into continuity and that its incarnation of the Master is based on Richard E. Grant.

During the Faction Paradox arc that runs through the Eighth Doctor Adventures, a character known as the War King is featured which is implied to be a future incarnation of the Master. The character is also referenced in The Book of the War, published by Mad Norwegian Press when the Faction Paradox stories spun off into their own continuity.

Martha Jones's year long journey across a Master-controlled planet Earth is detailed in the short story collection The Story of Martha, which was released on 26 December 2008.

Comic strips

The Master returns in a new body and guise, that of a street preacher, in the previously mentioned Doctor Who Magazine (DWM) comic strip story The Fallen, although the Doctor does not recognise him. The Master reveals himself a few stories later, in The Glorious Dead (DWM 287–296). The Master had survived the events of the television movie by encountering a cosmic being named Esterath in the time vortex. Esterath controls the Glory, the focal point of the Omniversal spectrum which underlies all existence. The Master's scheme to take control of the Glory fails, and he is banished to parts unknown (see Kroton).

In Character Assassin (DWM 311), the Delgado Master visits the Land of Fiction and steals part of the technology behind it, wiping out several nineteenth century fictional villains as he goes. He can also be seen in the following comic strips set during the Pertwee era:

  • "The Glen of Sleeping" by Gerry Haylock and Dick O'Neill (TV Action 107–111)
  • "Fogbound" by Frank Langford (Doctor Who Holiday Special 1973)
  • "The Time Thief" by Steve Livesey (Doctor Who Annual 1974)
  • "The Man in the Ion Mask" by Brian Williamson and Dan Abnett (Doctor Who Magazine Winter Special 1991)

Audio plays

The Master appears in the Big Finish Productions audio play, Dust Breeding, where Geoffrey Beevers reprised the role. The story reveals that, at some point after Survival, The Master's Trakenite body is damaged and he becomes a walking corpse again, using the alias Mr Seta, another anagram of Master.

In the later Master, it is revealed that while the Seventh Doctor is Time's Champion, the Master is Death's. This is a result of an incident in their youth, where the Doctor killed a school bully who was trying to drown the Master; unable to cope with his guilt and grief, the child who would become the Doctor accepted a deal with Death (personified as a woman) to take away his pain, unaware that this would result in her erasing his memory of committing the crime and transferring it to the Master. Temporarily restored to the person he would have been if Death had not marked him, the Master forgives the Doctor for this, understanding that the adult cannot be blamed for the actions of the child that did not foresee the consequences of his actions, but the end of the play implies that the Master will once again become Death's servant.

An out-of-continuity Master is heard in the Big Finish audio play Sympathy for the Devil, voiced by Mark Gatiss. In this alternate version of events, the Third Doctor- now voiced by David Warner- does not arrive for his exile on Earth until 1997 and the Master has been trapped on the planet while a series of extraterrestrial disasters occurred over the decades without the Doctor's help to stop them.

Short stories

Eric Saward included Anthony Ainley's incarnation of the Master in his short story, Birth of a Renegade, in the Doctor Who 20th Anniversary Special one-off magazine, published by Radio Times (and in the United States by Starlog Press) in 1983.

In a short story by Cavan Scott and Mark Wright, The Feast of the Stone, an android version of the Master is created by the Doctor as an ally—albeit a slightly sinister one. Exactly why the Doctor created an android duplicate of the Master is not revealed, but it is suggested that the Doctor somehow extended the Master's life by doing so. The android is able to pilot the Doctor's TARDIS, but is physically unable to leave the ship.


In 2003, an android version of the character (resembling the Delgado version of the Master voiced by Derek Jacobi) appeared in the animated webcast Scream of the Shalka. He also appears, with the "Shalka Doctor" (Richard E. Grant), in the webcast of The Feast of Stone.

Audio book

Computer game


The Master was played by Jonathan Pryce who deeply resembled the incarnation played by Roger Delgado in the Comic Relief sketch, Doctor Who and the Curse of Fatal Death.

See also


  1. ^
  2. ^ John Simm Returns for the Finale!
  3. ^ Doctor Who Magazine Special Edition #2, 5 September 2002, [subtitled The Complete Third Doctor], page 14)
  4. ^ The Mind Robber. Writers Derrick Sherwin (episode 1, uncredited), Peter Ling (episodes 2–5), Director David Maloney, Producer Peter Bryant. Doctor Who. BBC. BBC One, London. 14 September 1968–12 October 1968.
  5. ^ The scene may not be intended to be a literal depiction. In Doctor Who Magazine #384, writer and series producer Russell T Davies states that he "didn't want to trample over the past by introducing something that would rewrite continuity... I came up with a comparatively light origin – it's more a theory of the Doctor's, rather than a blunt description of the day that Baby Master fell into the Cauldron of Evil. It's more atmospheric than factual." He adds, "it's all the better for being an image, almost a fairytale, rather than a straight flashback."
  6. ^ Doctor Who Fact File: Utopia
  7. ^ Russel T. Davies, David Tennant, John Simm, Anthony Head (23 June 2007). Doctor Who Confidential, "The Saxon Mystery". 
  8. ^ UK Doctor Who Magazine issue 384
  9. ^ Nick Griffiths (30 June–6 July 2007). "On Set With... Freema Agyeman, plus Russell T Davies on the exciting series finale...". Radio Times: pp. 10–14. 

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