The Many Faces of The Master: Let's Time Travel and Revisit Our Favorite Regenerations!

By jessicakroeber

Aug 22, 2013

Let's not forget that the Doctor isn't the only character to regenerate over the years! Since I'm watching his introduction episodes with Jon Pertwee right now, I thought it was a perfect time to revisit the many faces of the Master! Although the Doctor changes quite a bit from regeneration to regeneration, the Master always has that same evil look to him.

0. Edward Brayshaw (1969): I like to think of The War Chief in The War Games as the first Master, but it's never really connected that way in the series. However, he is a Time Lord and he does seem to recognize the Doctor and know quite a bit about him. Physically, he fits into the the line, as well.

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1. Roger Delgado (1971 - 1973): What a way to introduce such an evil villain! He gets a whole season arc in Doctor Who's eighth year, while the Doctor is exiled on Earth. About time for a new villain to join the show!

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2. Peter Pratt (1976) & Geoffrey Beevers (1981): This version of the Master is the creepiest of them all! He is decaying because he has reached the end of his regenerations. It's unclear what that really means, but there are many theories on the subject (and I imagine we'll hit more as the Doctor himself hits his 12th regeneration soon). Regardless of the reason, I wouldn't want to run into this guy in a dark corner!

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3. Anthony Ainley (1981 - 1989): My personal favorite regeneration! He's so evil and campy all rolled into one, as if a Disney villain came to life before our very eyes! He had quite a run with the series, and was the iconic image of the master until everyone's favorite TV movie came along...

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4. Eric Roberts (1996): That's right folks, you read that right: Eric Roberts. It's true that Gordon Tripple plays him for a bit before he regenerates but let's focus on what's important here: ERIC ROBERTS. I don't even know what else to say. Would you fight a man in that cape? I didn't think so.

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5. Derek Jacobi (2007): He looks like such a sweet old man! I remember being shocked when I found out what a vicious baddie this guy was! This was my first introduction to the Master but at the time I could tell he was someone of importance. Too bad he opens his watch and overrides the perception filter. I liked this guy!

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6. John Simm (2007 - 2010): This guy is TERRIBLE! He doesn't get the cartoony evil look of his earlier regenerations, but he is, if possible, even MORE ruthless. He kidnaps the Doctor and wreaks his special brand of havoc. The Doctor finally regains control and defeats him, once and for all. This is the last we see of the Master.

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Will this be the last of the Master, forever? Guess we'll just have to see...


  • Comments (21)
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  • cook567 Oct 16, 2013

    Roger Delgado IS the Master and in my opinion hasn't been bettered. He was such a great villain but made a nice ally to the Doctor on occasion when needed. Such a shame Derek Jacobi wasn't given longer in his appearance, he could have made a brilliant long term villain as well.

  • steamheaduk Sep 30, 2013

    I have to say I've never even remotely considered the War Chief and the Master to be the same character. Other than the obvious fact that they are bad Timelords there is no pointer to indicate they might be the same person. Just wishful fan thinking if you ask me, to try and fill out some back story.

    The thing that clinches it for me NOT being the War Chief is there is no back reference to the events of War Games when we first see the Master in Terror of the Autons. If they were intended to be the same person by the writers then there would have been some premise in there to explain him surviving his execution, something only 2 seasons before, so the audience would need an explanation for it.

    Incidentally there is a nice back reference to the War Chief's execution in Arc of Infinity. When they talk to Maxil about the honour of executing a Timelord, something that has only happened once before.

    There's also this to consider, that as far as the show is concerned, though we KNOW the Master has used up his first cycle of regenerations, and thus has more than 13 Bodies, as far as the series goes we've seen 6 incarnations -

    1. The "First" Master (we have no idea what his body count was, but the first for us played by Roger Delgado)

    2. The "Thirteenth" Master (Peter Pratt/Geoffrey Beavers - though 2 different actors, always intended to be 1 incarnation)

    3. Tremas possessed by the Keeper of Traken (played by Anthony Ainley and a largely unseen Gordon Tipple in the Movie)

    4. Bruce possessed by the Master (Eric Roberts)

    5. Professor Yana (Derek Jacobi)

    6. Mister Saxon (John Simm)

    Now the series has a tradition of flagging the Master by alias ahead of the reveal by some clue in either the character name, or actor name in the credits. So in Timeflight the character of Kalid was credited as being played by Leon Ny Taiy , and anagram of Tony Ainley, in Keeper of Traken Tremas becomes Master, and in season 3 of the new series Mister Saxon becomes Master No Six, something that clearly doesn't work if you factor in the War Chief.

  • jessicakroeber Sep 30, 2013

    That's why I have him as "0". Not a true Master, as you point out, but I really do think the resemblance is there!

  • sheikyerbouti1 Sep 09, 2013

    Delgado hands down for me, followed, albeit very closely by Simm.

  • WildPict Sep 05, 2013

    While Roger Delgado was my first Master, I prefer John Simm's Master. But I especially loved him in The End of Time. When he turned on Rassilon, I nearly fell off the couch I was so excited. His anger at what the Timelords had done to him was so true to his personality throughout the entire series, that his vengeance on them was absolutely perfect. I not only have that DVD, I've even kept it on my DVR.

  • archangelwho Sep 01, 2013

    I also suggested that the War Chief was the Master by on 4-8-13 (see Doctor Who 1963 forum posting "Questions about the War Chief from War Games:). I agree that it was never is was never covered on the show but as you I think we can may it work or at least enough to make most fans question if it is possible. As far as the new show goes I feel the worst stories has been the ones with the Master. The new team just was not able to get the real Master. What they got was not the Master.

  • jessicakroeber Sep 05, 2013

    He is a very different character in the new series, but still pretty evil!

  • IndianaMom Aug 23, 2013

    I've only seen Derek Jacobi and John Simm as the Master, so I'm limited. Still, I really liked John Simm.

  • jessicakroeber Aug 23, 2013

    He's a great Master! Just creepy, ha. But that's the point.

  • Gislef Aug 23, 2013

    If we're going for speculative Masters, one of the role-playing games, the FASA version, speculated that the Meddling Monk from the 1st Doctor's era was also the Master.

  • WildPict Sep 05, 2013

    I'd always heard from a great deal of Con speculation, and read in Doctor Who show books, various magazine articles, that the Meddling Monk was the first incarnation of the Master, though it has never been confirmed.

  • archangelwho Sep 01, 2013

    Don't see it at the start but when you see how much the Doctor change each time it could work.

  • jessicakroeber Aug 23, 2013

    I could see that, although I didn't make the connection at the time. The War Chief really caught my attention because he also looks SO much like the other Masters of that time.

  • Gislef Aug 23, 2013

    Have you watched "The Time Meddler"? He's basically the Master if Patrick Troughton played him. Peter Butterworth even has a mild resemblance to Troughton.

    Paul Cornell's "No Future" Virgin novel pretty much makes it clear the Monk isn't the Master, though. Also has one of the funnier lines in any novel, when the Brigadier is at a Paul McCartney concert dealing with an alien invasion. "Chap with Wings there, five rounds, rapid!"

  • jessicakroeber Aug 23, 2013

    I have, & I see what you mean! I assume when they went to design the Master they looked back and took inspiration from a few places!

  • Gislef Aug 23, 2013

    Well, non-canon, they confirmed that the War Chief isn't the Master. Because Terrence Dicks brought him back for his first New Adventure/Virgin novel, Exodus. Although he ended up a lot like the Master between Delgado and Ainley: horribly malformed.

    There's a rather extensive debate here:

  • Gislef Aug 23, 2013

    Then again, Terrence Dicks co-wrote War Games. So if anybody would know if the character, he created, the War Chief, was the Master or not, I suppose it would be him. :)

  • Gislef Aug 23, 2013

    And teaming up with the Daleks and having it blow up in his face (Dalek Master Plan, Frontier in Space). ;)

  • Gislef Aug 23, 2013

    Well, although he's a bit more whimsical, the Meddlng Monk is kind of the inspiration for the Master, too. Old-school buddy of the Doctor, friendly rivalry, stolen TARDIS with a chameleon circuit that works, overly complicated plan to alter Earth's history (i.e., "The King's Demons, "The Mark of the Rani")...

  • jessicakroeber Aug 23, 2013

    I suppose he was probably just an inspiration for the later Master character. Which is why I didn't officially give him a number, I put him as a zero haha.