The Master

From Academic Kids

This is about the Master from Doctor Who. For alternate meanings, see The Master (disambiguation)

Template:Doctorwhocharacter The Master is a supporting fictional character in the British science fiction television series Doctor Who. He is a renegade Time Lord who is the greatest individual enemy of the Doctor. He is not to be confused with the Master of the Land of Fiction, who appeared in the Second Doctor serial, The Mind Robber.

The producers conceived the Master as a recurring villain, a "Professor Moriarty to the Doctor's Sherlock Holmes". He first appeared in Terror of the Autons (1971).

In the three seasons following Terror of the Autons, the Master (as played by Roger Delgado) appeared in more serials than not. Indeed, in his first season the Master was involved in every adventure the Doctor encountered that year, getting away at the last minute before he was finally captured in The Daemons. Delgado's last on-screen appearance as the Master was in Frontier in Space. The Master's story arc was to have ended in The Final Game which was planned as the final story for Jon Pertwee's Third Doctor. The Master was to have sacrificed his life to save his old rival but the story was scrapped following Delgado's sudden death in a car crash in Turkey in 1973. The story was replaced by Planet of the Spiders (1974).

Geoffrey Beevers as the Master (from )
Geoffrey Beevers as the Master (from The Keeper of Traken)

With Delgado's death, the Master disappeared from the series for several years. In his next appearance, in The Deadly Assassin (1976), the Master appeared as an emaciated, decaying wreck (played by Peter Pratt under heavy make-up). Although Time Lords have the potential to postpone death by completely renewing their bodies, the ability can only be used twelve times. The Master had in the course of his career used up all twelve of his regenerations, and was nearing the end of his thirteenth, and presumably final, life. It is not clear if the Master had any regenerations between the Delgado incarnation and the Pratt one, or which incarnation the Delgado Master was.

He attempted to seize control of the Eye of Harmony, an artificial black hole maintained on the Time Lord's home planet Gallifrey, in an attempt to give himself a new cycle of regenerations. After being defeated by the Doctor, the Master disappeared from the series once more.

Missing image
Anthony Ainley as the Master (from The Five Doctors)

In 1981, the Master became a recurring villain again. In The Keeper of Traken, the Master (Geoffrey Beevers under different heavy make-up) briefly gained control of another ancient power source, using it to transplant himself into the body of a Trakenite named Tremas, overwriting Tremas's original mind in the process. Now played by Anthony Ainley, the Master appeared on and off for the rest of the series. Apart from his regular goals, extending his life — preferably with a new set of regenerations — was an extra prize he was determined to get.

The Master also appeared in the 1996 Doctor Who telemovie that starred Paul McGann as the Eighth Doctor. In the prologue, the Master's current body (played for mere seconds in the final edit by Gordon Tipple) was thoroughly exterminated by the Daleks, but managed to survive through means unexplained in the finished film, his consciousness embodied in the form of a small, snake-like, amorphous entity.

The novelisation of the film 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. However, the morphant form was unsustainable and required a human host, and it possessed the body of Bruce, a paramedic (played by Eric Roberts). However, Bruce's body was also unsustainable. The Master once again attempted to access the Eye of Harmony (this time by means of a link in the Doctor's TARDIS) to steal the Doctor's remaining regenerations, but was sucked into the Eye and apparently destroyed.

Other appearances

Missing image
Eric Roberts as the Master, from the Doctor Who telemovie

The Master has also featured in spin-offs of the series, most notably 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 audio dramas produced by Big Finish Productions, where Geoffrey Beevers has reprised the role.

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 was Koschei, who turned evil and became The Master after being betrayed by a close friend who was a Time Lord undercover agent. Koschei used up all of his regenerations trying to escape from a black hole, establishing that the Delgado Master was his thirteenth and final incarnation had he not been able to artificially prolong his life.

The Face of the Enemy centres around the regular Delgado Master, but includes a cameo from a Koschei from an alterative history who never became the Master. First Frontier shows the Master (apparently the Anthony Ainley version) finally acquiring a new persona, 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 New Adventures novel.

The reason the Master was so emaciated when he appeared in The Deadly Assassin was explored in John Peel's novel Legacy of the Daleks, in which he attempted to capture the Doctor's granddaughter Susan Foreman, but was badly burned when she attacked him in self-defense and took possession of his TARDIS. After Susan escaped, the dying Master was eventually found by Chancellor Goth on the planet Tersurus, which led directly into the events of The Deadly Assassin.

In 2004, an android version of the character was voiced by Derek Jacobi in the animated webcast, Scream of the Shalka. While this last Master is not part of official continuity, he has also appeared, with the Shalka Doctor (Richard E. Grant in the webcast), in a follow-up short story by Cavan Scott and Mark Wright, "The Feast of the Stone". Another dubiously canonical Master appears in Lance Parkin's BBC Doctor Who novel The Infinity Doctors, where he is known as the Magistrate and is, once again, the Doctor's friend. Parkin has stated that this incarnation is based on Richard E. Grant.

The Master was also played by Jonathan Pryce in the Comic Relief skit Doctor Who and the Curse of Fatal Death.

It is not known if the character will reappear in the Doctor Who series revival. The Master did not appear in the 2005 series, and the Ninth Doctor said in the second episode, The End of the World, that all the other Time Lords had been destroyed in a Time War.


Television series

In chronological order, as played by:

Spin-off media

Audio Dramas

As played by:


Virgin Missing Adventures

  • The Dark Path

Virgin New Adventures

  • First Frontier
  • Happy Endings

Past Doctor Adventures

  • Deadly Reunion
  • Face of the Enemy
  • Last of the Gaderene
  • Verdigris
  • Divided Loyalties (cameo only)
  • The Quantum Archangel
  • Prime Time
  • The Infinity Doctors

Eighth Doctor Adventures

  • The Eight Doctors (cameo only)
  • Legacy of the Daleks
  • The Adventuress of Henrietta Street (cameo only)


  • Who Killed Kennedy (Virgin)

External links

  • "The Feast of the Stone" ( - short story featuring the Shalka Master on the BBCi website.

Academic Kids Menu

  • Art and Cultures
    • Art (
    • Architecture (
    • Cultures (
    • Music (
    • Musical Instruments (
  • Biographies (
  • Clipart (
  • Geography (
    • Countries of the World (
    • Maps (
    • Flags (
    • Continents (
  • History (
    • Ancient Civilizations (
    • Industrial Revolution (
    • Middle Ages (
    • Prehistory (
    • Renaissance (
    • Timelines (
    • United States (
    • Wars (
    • World History (
  • Human Body (
  • Mathematics (
  • Reference (
  • Science (
    • Animals (
    • Aviation (
    • Dinosaurs (
    • Earth (
    • Inventions (
    • Physical Science (
    • Plants (
    • Scientists (
  • Social Studies (
    • Anthropology (
    • Economics (
    • Government (
    • Religion (
    • Holidays (
  • Space and Astronomy
    • Solar System (
    • Planets (
  • Sports (
  • Timelines (
  • Weather (
  • US States (


  • Home Page (
  • Contact Us (

  • Clip Art (
Personal tools