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NOTE: The article details The Master as depicted from "Classic Doctor Who" - which ran from 1963 to 1989; 1996, for information on The Master from the Revival Era of Doctor Who (2005 to present) see here
Villain Overview

I only need two things. Your submission and your obedience to MY WILL!
~ The Master
I am The Master and YOU WILL OBEY ME!
~ The Master's most famous quote while trying to hypnotise Peri Brown.

The Master is the main antagonist in the Classic BBC science fiction series Doctor Who. He was an immortality seeking renegade Time Lord who was continuously searching for new ways to survive. He is also the archenemy and former best friend of The Doctor.

He acted as the main antagonist of seasons eight, nine, eighteen, nineteen, the final serial of season 26 "Survival" and the 1996 film Doctor Who: The Movie. He also appeared as the secondary antagonist of seasons ten, fourteen, twenty-three as well as the 20th anniversary special "The Five Doctors" and the season twenty-two serial "Mark of The Rani".

He was portrayed by the four actors primarily in Classic Who; the late Roger Delgado, the late Anthony Ainley, Eric Roberts (who also portrayed Dark Danny in Danny Phantom and Sal Maroni in The Dark Knight) and Alex MacQueen.

Two actors also portrayed the disfigured version of his 13th incarnation; Peter Pratt in The Deadly Assassin(who also portrayed on stage: Reginald Bunthorne in Patience, and The Lord Chancellor in Iolanthe) and Geoffrey Beevers in The Keeper of Traken and Big Finish's audio productions. As well as this, James Dreyfus has portrayed an early Master.



The early incarnation of the Master was self-centred and arrogant, willing to manipulate a whole civilisation to aid himself, even being somewhat amused by it. This Master was somewhat calmer than his later selves, preferring to hypnotise rather than directly manipulate others. As well as this, he prefers to use others to kill, and only when he feels it necessary, rather than any sadistic glee. He looked down on humanity, seeing it as primitive.

Victor Magister

The Master presented himself as a suave, debonair gentleman, with a sardonic sense of humour. However, his true nature was arrogant, and impatient, with no time for fools. The Master was willing to play the long game, spinning a web of lies while maintaining several back-ups in his schemes. The Master held himself in high-esteem, having full confidence in his abilities. The Master would casually murder those whom he could not control, or who were standing in his way. He claimed that those who died as a result of him were "necessary sacrifice[s]". The Master occasionally showed a more brutal side to him, when he killed a scientist by throwing him off a radio telescope, or running over reformed prisoner Barnham.

Given his haughty nature, he regarded most beings as his inferiors, but had a mutual respect for the Doctor as a worthy opponent and his near intellectual equal, and even showed a certain respect to the Doctor's companions, even if he still considered them inferior. He would only resort to killing the Doctor if he viewed him as an unmovable obstacle in his plans, considering his quarrel with the Doctor to be something of a game. The Master was not above working alongside the Doctor when necessary, and even offered to rule the universe with him. He seemed to believe his delusions of grandeur, proclaiming that he and the Doctor could "reign benevolently," over the universe and that, instead of democracy, the world needed "strength, power and decision."

Underneath his suave exterior, this Master had a somewhat childish side to him, revelling in sarcasm, watching children's TV, showing a sense of irony. He also had a sadistic side, taking particular pleasure in goading the Brigadier into attacking Axos when they both knew that it would put the Doctor and Jo in danger. He also took considerable delight in blackmailing the Doctor and Jo. Unlike his following incarnations, this Master was a gracious loser, though he once stated that destroying the Doctor's favourite species would "be a reward in itself".

Thirteenth Master

Decayed body





Death is always more frightening when it strikes invisibly.
~ The "Victor Magister" Master in "Terror of the Autons"
Doctor. Why don't you come in with me? We're both Time Lords, we're both renegades, we could be Masters of the galaxy! Think of it, Doctor: Absolute power! Power for good. Now, you could reign benevolently. You could end wars, suffering disease. We could save the universe!
~ The "Victor Magister" Master in "Colony in Space".
You do not understand hatred as I understand it. Only hate keeps me alive. Why else should I endure this pain? I must see the Doctor die in shame and dishonour. Yes, and I must destroy the Time Lords. Nothing else matters. Nothing!
~ The Thirteenth/"Decayed" Master in "The Deadly Assassin".
Rassilon's discovery, all mine. I shall have supreme power over the universe. Master of all matter! Bwhahahaha!
~ The Thirteenth/"Decayed" Master in "The Deadly Assassin".
I am now nearing the end of my twelfth regeneration.
~ The "Decayed" Master in "The Keeper of Traken".
Peoples of the Universe, please attend carefully. The message that follows is vital to the future of you all. The choice for you all is simple. A continued existence under my guidance, or total annihilation.
~ The "Tremas" Master in "Logopolis".
You are indeed a worthy opponent, Doctor. It's what gives your destruction its... piquancy.
~ The Tremas Master in "The Mark of the Rani".
I always dress for the occasion.
~ The "Bruce" Master
Life is wasted on the living!
~ The "Bruce" Master
Hello, you!
~ The "De'ath" Master's catchphrase.
This is my masterplan! Every eventuality has been considered!
~ The "De'ath" Master in "Masterplan".





  • Anthony Ainley was the longest running actor to play The Master in the Classic series and to this day is the longest running actor as a whole to portray the character. According to several interviews the reason for this was simply because he adored playing the role and since he had a private income would have no scheduling conflicts unlike many of the other actors.
  • Many producers have compared the relationship between The Doctor and The Master as something comparable to that of James Moriarty and Sherlock Holmes.
  • In the episode "The Final Game", The Master was supposed to be revealed as the Doctor's dark side or his brother and he should die by sacrificing himself to save the Doctor. However, the episode was never made because the actor Roger Delgado died in a car accident in Turkey. Still the idea of a dark side of the Doctor was used for The Valeyard.
    • The idea for the Master also saving the Doctor was used for the 2009-2010 two-parter The End of Time in which the Master (played by John Simm) saved the Doctor and sacrificed himself to defeat Rassilon.
    • The end of the Delgaldo Master has been depicted in the Eighth Doctor book Legacy of the Daleks, which implied he was the same incarnation as the decayed Master. The audio The Two Masters contradicted this by featuring the decayed Master played by Geoffrey Beevers both before and after his disfigurement. The comic strip Doorway To Hell featured the Delgaldo Master regenerate, further contradicting the idea Delgaldo was the thirteenth Master.
  • Roger Delgado and his co-star Jon Pertwee (who played the Third Doctor) were best friends in real life, with Pertwee suggesting Delgado for the role. They had also initially supported the idea for the Doctor to be the Master's brother until Delgado's death, which was one of the reasons Pertwee decided to leave the show.
  • After the classic series was cancelled, the Master was first brought into Virgin's New Adventures novels with First Frontier where the Master, right after the events of Survival, was granted the ability to regenerate through nanites by the Tzun, a race he had allied with, and would go onto regenerate in the story. This incarnation, based on Basil Rathbone, would also appear in the short story Housewarming and the novel Happy Endings, where the nanites started to break down. This would be contradicted by novels and comics afterwards, which would feature the Ainley Master after the events of Survival, usually struggling with the Cheetah Virus. Adding onto this, the Big Finish audios Dust Breeding and Master depict the Master having been degenerated from his Ainley body into his decayed form due to the power of the Warp Core.
  • In Series 10, the John Simm's Master now sports a goatee similar to that of Roger Delgado and Anthony Ainley's incarnations.
  • The Renegade Time Lord the War Chief is often theorised to be an early incarnation of the Master, and some Expanded Universe stories do seem to imply as such.
  • A common myth, originating in the Expanded Universe, is that the Master's real name is Koschei, named after the figure in Russian folklore. The name first appeared in The Dark Path, but the Doctor does not recognise it, implying it is another alias the Master has taken up. The later novel Divided Loyalties, featuring a nightmare about the Doctor's Academy days, the Master's name is given as Koschei, possibly as a parody of how some authors messed with character's backstories.
  • While the cover of The Dark Path depicts the Delgaldo Master, there is no explicit confirmation in the novel itself that they are the same incarnation. Indeed, in the short story Rebel Rebel, Koschei is mentioned as having green eyes rather than Delgado's brown eyes.

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