I only need two things. Your submission and your obedience to MY WILL!
~ The Master

The Master is a powerful supervillain from the Doctor Who series. He is a member of the Time Lords and is the childhood friend turned archenemy of the Doctor.

The character was originally portrayed by the late Roger Delgado who had tragically died in 1973. Following actors to portray the Master on television are Peter Pratt, Geoffrey Beevers, Anthony Ainley, Gordon Tipple, Eric Roberts, Derek Jacobi, John Simm and currently Michelle Gomez as a female incarnation known as Missy (short for Mistress). William Hughes played a child version of the Master in flashbacks shown in the third series.



The Master as a child

The Master's madness appeared to have began at the age of eight when he was taken before a gap in the fabric of space and time known as the Untempered Schism as part of a Time Lord initiation ceremony. Since then, the Master has been plagued by the four-beat sound of drums, believing them to be the "drums of war", and became into a would-be universal conqueror. Like the Doctor, he got his own TARDIS and continued doing evil until he met the Doctor again, when he was already in his Twelfth incarnation.

Reunion with the Doctor

The Master first encountered the Doctor during his Third incarnation when he was trapped on Earth. Wanting to make the Doctor suffer, the Master allied himself with various evils like the Nestene Consciousness or the "Sea Devils", a mutated version of the Silurians, to undermine UNIT. After the Master's scheme to provoke a war between the Human and Draconian Empires on behalf of the Daleks (though he was planning to betray them) failed, the Master retreated.

The Master in his New Bodies


The Master's thirteenth to twenty-thrird incarnations (from left to right: Roger Delgado, Peter Pratt/Geoffrey Beevers, Anthony Ainley/Gordon Tipple, Eric Roberts, Derek Jacobi, John Simm)

By the time he met the Fourth Doctor, the Master had suffered a serious injury in the meantime. As the Master was in his thirteenth and last incarnation when he suffered the damage, he was unable to regenerate, and would normally have been expected to succumb to his injury and die permanently. But fueled by his burning hatred, the Master was able to will his body into staying alive, despite it suffering increasing decay over time, eventually reducing him to a rotting husk of his former self. In this state, the Master come across the fellow Time Lord, Chancellor Goth. Sensing that Goth was hungry for power, the Master was able to mentally influence and use him for a scheme to steal the artifacts of Rassilon, in order to steal energy from the Eye of Harmony, which he hoped would help him to restore his damaged body to a healthier state, as well as getting revenge on the Time Lord and the Doctor, by also using the artifacts to destroy Gallifrey. The Doctor was, however, able to foil this scheme, but could not stop the Master from escaping once again in the aftermath.

While hunting for the mysterious White Worm in Derbyshire in 1979, the Doctor once again happened upon the Master, and was surprised to see him in a still damaged, but also notably less decayed form. The Master revealed that he had managed steal a small amount of energy from the Eye during his previous scheme. While it was not enough to completely restore himself, it allowed the Master to heal himself into a more stable state.

The Master would next encounter the Doctor, as he was scheming to take the mighty powers of the mythical Keeper of Traken for himself. Though the Doctor was able to prevent him from accomplishing this, the Master would still achieve a triumph of sorts as he was able to find a more permanent way to cheat death; namely by transferring his being into the body of a Trakenite scientist named Tremas.

In his new body he headed to Logopolis in hopes of discovering the mysterious purpose the planet's people was working towards. Halting the operations of the planet, he demanded answers from its leader, but through this interrogation he discovered that the purpose of Logopolis was to keep a entropy field which threatened to destroy all the universe at bay, and his through his meddling he had inadvertently brought all of existence in danger. He sought out the help of the Doctor, who reluctantly agreed to work together with him, as he saw as the only way to save the universe. However, after they stabilized the Charged Vacuum Embodiment and thereby stopped the entropy field, their uneasy alliance quickly ended, as the Master immediately decided to exploit the situation. He send out a message to the people of the universe threatening to unleash the entropy field again, unless they all submitted and accepted him as their supreme ruler. The Doctor was able to stop him, but was seriously injured in the process and had to regenerate into the Fifth Doctor. To get revenge, the Master lured the Doctor to the city Castrovalva where he posed as the librarian Portrevee. After the Doctor foiled his plan the city disappears along with the Master. But the Master would return by unexplained means, still searching for a way to extend his life.

When the five Incarnations of the Doctor were kidnapped by Borusa, the Time Lords promised the Master new regenerations if he could save the Doctor. The Fifth Doctor didn't trust him and was teleported away, so he allied the Cybermen to get to the Tower of Rassilon, hoping to receive immortality.

Although the Doctors can capture him, the Master is able to continue with his evil deeds at the Doctor's future incarnations: This includes teaming up with the Rani, interfering in the trial of the Valeyard against the Sixth Doctor or bringing an evil cat-like alien race to Earth, before he is finally left behind on their dying planet by the Seventh Doctor, while being turned into one of them by a virus.

The Master's Apparent End

The Master's eyes during his execution

Eventually, the Master is executed by the Daleks as a punishment for his "evil crimes". But he survives his execution by transferring his mind into a small, snake-like morphant that slithers inside the Seventh Doctor's TARDIS console, forcing the vessel to crash land in San Francisco on December 30, 1999 where it enters the body of a paramedic named Bruce. But as Bruce's body is unsustainable and begins to slowly degenerate, the Master attempts to access the Eye of Harmony with help of a teenager named Chang Lee, who he has convinced the Doctor is evil, to steal the Doctor's remaining regenerations, but instead is sucked into it and seemingly killed.

Living as a body snatcher

In truth though, the Master was once again saved by his strong will. Instead of being pulled apart by the destructive forces inside the Eye of Harmony, he managed to keep his consciousness together, and eventually he learned to extend his mental abilities outside the Eye and into the Doctor's TARDIS, hoping to find a way to escape. One day, as the TARDIS was floating at night time over London in the late Victorian Era, he had luck with subconsciously influencing one of the Doctor's companions as he was sleeping, leading the companion to sleepwalk to the Eye and open it, allowing the Master to escape, though in a severely diminished, insubstantial form.

Following his escape into Victorian London, the Master was once again able to possess a human, but he also faced the problem of the body gradually decaying into uselessness, forcing him to continuously possessing new bodies over the years, while trying to keep a low profile to keep the Doctor from detecting him. Knowing that the time of World War I was approaching, the Master eventually decided to emigrate to America to stay out of the conflict. He boarded the Titanic, oblivious to the ship's infamous fate. The Master, though taken by surprise by the accident striking the ship, was able to survive by cheating himself to a spot on the lifeboats, and he eventually reached the shores of the United States, landing in New York, just as his latest host body was about to give out. Here he had a chance encounter with a lieutenant in the infamous Hudson Duster's gang, and was able to possess him.

Determined to make his host body last longer this time, the Master decided he need money and power. Using his devious mind, he was able to climb to the top of the Hudson Dusters hierarchy, taking to calling himself "Don Maestro". After twenty years of living in his current body, he occupied the body of his host's son, Michael, and moved to Las Vegas where he owned a casino, the profits from he accumulated to fund experiments with the short term goal of elongating of the lifespan of his host body and, in the long term, finding a way to restore his Time Lord body. Fearing the eventual decay of his body, the Master used his money to buy a penthouse to isolate himself from infection. After years living in isolation, his host's son confronted him with the knowledge that he had possessed both his father and his grandfather in some way. He then trapped the Master in the penthouse.

After UNIT were alerted to the presence of penthouse, they discovered the Master in a comatose state, which he later revealed he had entered voluntarily as it was the only way to preserve his decaying body during his isolation. He was imprisoned in the UNIT Vault, awakening every five years for one hour, before returning to a coma. After fifteen years living in the Vault, the Master awoke for a third time, and was interrogated by two UNIT officers. However, he managed to hypnotize both of them and escape his imprisonment. Discovering that UNIT had recovered his TARDIS from a sealed tomb in the Valley of the Kings, he used it to escape from the Vault.

Eyes of the Master

The Master was eventually saved from his predicament by the Time Lords. Due to the growing danger of the Dalek Empire, the Time Lords came to see his savagery as a useful trait in a pawn they could use against them, and so they granted him a fully-restored Time Lord body as well as a new regeneration cycle, in return for him becoming an agent in their employ. When the Time Lords detected a possible timeline where the Eminence, a sentient gas that took control of humans, would become the final life-form in the Universe, they saw a potential in using the Eminence against the Daleks and the Celestial Intervention Agency gave the Master the information he needed.

The Master traveled to the Nixyce System and stole an Eminence Teleportation casket, integrating it into his TARDIS console. In 1970s London he posed as Dr Harcourt Diath and performed experiments on human immunity to the Eminence, hoping to remove it so the Eminence wouldn't be defeated. He saved Dr Sally Armstong from being hit by a taxi and recruited her. The Master removed people's eyes, curing blindness but enabling him to see through their eyes and control them. He encountered the Eighth Doctor, who told an Eminence located in his mind how to pilot a TARDIS. Using the casket in the Master's TARDIS it piloted it away with the Master and Sally. However using the telepathic circuits of his TARDIS the Master isolated the Eminence and Sally expelled it into the Time Vortex.

Some time later, Sally and the Master kidnapped Molly O'Sullivan from her home in 107 Baker Street.

The Time War

The Master as "The Other Doctor"

The Master fought in the Time War against the Daleks for many years, but after the Dalek Emperor took control of "The Cruciform", the Master, horrified by the intensity of the the war, decided to flee, and remained ignorant of the war's outcome as he used a Chameleon Arch which stored his Time Lord nature and memories in a fob watch and allowed him to become biologically human in order to disguise himself.

Travelling to the end of the universe, the only place where he was convinced the Time Lords would not look for him, the Master eventually aged into the scientist, Professor Yana. Throughout his life the professor was still plagued by the constant drumbeat in his head as he attempts to send the last remaining humans to Utopia where they apparently would be save, as the entire universe was collapsing.

The Master's Return

The Master regenerating

When the Tenth Doctor and his companions Martha Jones and Captain Jack Harkness arrive, he tells them about the end of the universe and his plans. Joining him in his laboratory to support him repairing his rocket, they accidentally cause Professor Yana to recall his Time Lord essence and become the Master once more, although they were actually trying to help him to reach Utopia. Mortally wounded when his companion Chantho shoots him with a gun after he fatally injured her with electricity, the Master regenerates into a new younger incarnation.

The Master steals the Doctor's TARDIS, which he later even converts into a "Paradox Machine". But as Doctor sabotages the TARDIS using his sonic screwdriver so he can only able to travel between Earth 2007 and the year 100 trillion, the Master assumes the identity Harold Saxon and makes his way to becoming England's Minister of Defense and later Prime Minister.

Saxon and the Toclafanes

As Harold Saxon, the Master secretly interfered with the Doctors and Marthas life, for example through the scientist Richard Lazarus, who made himself younger and mutated into a monster. From there, Master uses the Doctor's TARDIS to recruit the Toclafanes from Utopia, where they emerged from the last humans, as allies, having them kill one tenth of the world population. From that day onward, the Master rules Earth for a year, while turning whole nations into work-camps and bases for a fleet of war rockets. He holds the Doctor, aged by Lazarus' invention, and Captain Jack captive, while only Martha is able to escape.

However, the Doctor reverses the events by the help of Martha, with the Master shot by his wife Lucy Saxon and refusing to regenerate as his death is a small victory to emotionally hurt the Doctor. Though the Doctor cremates the Master's body on a pyre, his ring remains and is obtained by a coven loyal to him.

Creation of the "Master Race"

The Master after his resurrection, now blonde and able to shoot lightning

By Christmas 2010, as the Ood foretold, the Master's coven conduct resurrects the Master at Broadfell prison, where Lucy was incarcerated before she sacrifices herself to sabotage the ritual. However, it only revived the Master in failing body with a ravenous hunger.

Resorting to wandering the fringe of London and feeding on homeless people while being pursued by the Doctor, learning the sound of the drums is a signal, the Master 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. But the Master hijacks 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 getting revenge

Using his duplicates, the Master triangulates the signal to its source: The Time Lord President Rassilon before obtaining an unique Gallifreyan diamond to create a link through which the Time Lords emerged. Though he intended to overwrite his DNA onto the Time Lord race, the Master's work on the human race is undone as he learns the truth that he was nothing more but a pawn in Rassilon's plan to destroy all creation so he and the other Time Lords can transcend into beings beyond time. When the Doctor destroys the link, the Master attacks Rassilon to save the Doctor in an act of revenge for a lifetime of manipulation, disappearing into Gallifrey with the other Time Lords in the process.

After forcing Rassilon to remove the signal in his head, the Master left Gallifrey and wandered the universe in his Tardis before he ended up on a Mondasian colony ship trapped in the gravity of a black hold. When his attempt to rule them did not work out, the Master decides to play a role in the genesis of the Cybermen before encountering the Twelfth Doctor and his next incarnation.

somehow escape Gallifrey, and would end up meeting a future female counterpart named "Missy" (see below for more details).


Missy, The Master's current incarnation.

Following this, The Master regenerated into a woman and started going by the name of Missy (short for Mistress). She welcomed the Half Face Man to the Nethersphere which she called Heaven and joked to him that the Doctor was her boyfriend. She later welcomed a soldier called Gretchen and offered her tea. Later she watched over Clara making sure she stayed with the Doctor. She gave her the number of the TARDIS phone and made sure the she reunited with the Twelfth Doctor. She later watched as the Earth was saved from a solar flare.

Missy reveals herself as the Master to the Twelfth Doctor.

She was in fact in league with the Cybermen and eventually revealed who she really was to a rather shocked Doctor, along with the fact that the Nethersphere was actually a globe of Time-Lord technology, situated within St. Paul's cathedral and that she had siphoned the consciousness of everyone who had recently died into the Nethersphere. The Master's, or rather, Mistress's plan is to send each of the minds within the Nethersphere into the body of a Cyberman with which to conquer the Earth. Whereas as The Master had always identified as heterosexual in the past, as a result of now becoming a woman, she seems to have developed a very flirtatious relationship with the Doctor, even kissing him on the lips, however she also flirts with Clara. Her plan to conquer Earth using drones made from dead humans is actually a recycled version of the Emperor Dalek's plan. After her plan failed she asked if either the Doctor or Clara wanted to kill her, when neither wanted to do it she was shot by another Cyberman (revealed to be the Doctor's late ally Brigadier Lethbridge Stewart) and disintegrated.

In the episode The Magician's Apprentice, it was shown that Missy survived by using the Cyberman's blast to charge her vortex manipulator, and escape, and enlisted Clara to find the Doctor. They travel to 12th century Essex and find the Doctor there. However, they along with the Doctor are taken by a snake-like being named Colony Sarff to Davros who wishes to see the Doctor.

They travel to a hospital in space where Davros is and remain in their cell while Sarff takes the Doctor to Davros. Missy notices something isn't right about the gravity and opens the air lock and she and Clara walk outside and apparently walk in space. The two then realize that they are on Skaro and are captured by a Dalek. They are brought to the Supreme Dalek and sees the Tardis there too as the Daleks plan to destroy it.

Missy tries to convince the Daleks not to destroy the Tardis by saying that she (as a Time Lady) could help them use it. The Supreme Dalek rejects this and has Missy supposedly exterminated.

However in the following episode The Witch's Familiar, it is revealed that Missy along with Clara survived by using teleportation devices and enter Skaro's sewers and see that it is a graveyard containing Daleks that are still alive. Using Clara as bait, Missy lures and kills a Dalek before removing the mutant inside and puts Clara in it and teaches her how to operate it.

Upon entering the Dalek city, Missy tells the Daleks that she has Clara and wants to see Davros. When seeing the Dalek absorbing regeneration energy, Missy takes a Dalek gun and goes to Davros's infirmary and shoots Sarff's snakes that are draining the Doctor's regeneration energy before leaving with him after the Daleks in the graveyard are affected by the energy and come above ground and attack the other Daleks. When she has caught up with the Doctor, Missy finds him with Clara still in the Dalek. Missy betrays Clara by trying to convince the Doctor that the Dalek killed Clara and he should kill it in revenge. But when the Dalek pleads for mercy, the Doctor realizes that it is Clara and rather than deal with her, tells Missy to run.

After leaving the Doctor and Clara, Missy runs into Daleks who see that she is a Time Lord and prepare to exterminate her, but Missy says that she has "a very clever idea", she survived after that.

Missy was captured at some point and prepared to be sentenced to death on another planet. The Doctor is called upon to carry out the execution, as only a time lord can kill another time lord. Missy begs the Doctor to spare her life, saying that she will make the effort to change. The Doctor messes with the execution, which results in Missy being knocked out. The Doctor has his companion Nardole move her to a vault, in which he will watch over her and help her on the road to redemption. The Vault is moved underneath a school, where the Doctor spends 70 years teaching whilst guarding it.

Missy meets Saxon

Missy crossed paths with her "Harold Saxon" Master counterpart on a space shuttle, although didn't recongise him at first until he removed prosthetics in which he was disguised as an old man.


The Master is deeply megalomaniacal and shows signs of psychopathic behavior as his greatest fear in the universe is being outdone by the Doctor - leading him to becoming obsessed with ruining everything the Doctor stands for. This has served to make the Master one of the Doctor's greatest and most recurring opponents and also the one that has caused the most emotional pain to the Doctor during the decades long feud between the two characters. Like every Time Lord, the Master changes his looks and personality slightly every time he regenerates to escape death. The Master is also extremely narcissistic - he seldom, if at all, did anything for others but himself, and heralded himself constantly. He is also extremely intelligent in terms of science, manipulation, technology, strategy and negotiation: his only intellectual rival is, of course, the Doctor.


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 decease. We could save the universe!
~ The thirteenth Master
I am now nearing the end of my twelfth regeneration.
~ The thirteenth Master
There is some evil in all of us, Doctor – even you. The Valeyard is an amalgamation of the darker sides of your nature, somewhere between your twelfth and final incarnation, and I may say you do not improve with age.
~ The Fourteenth Master
I always dress for the occasion.
~ The fifteenth Master
That is not my name! The Professor... was an invention! So perfect to disguise that I forgot who I am. I am the Master.
~ The twenty-second Master
Killed by an insect... a girl! How inappropriate. Still... if the Doctor can be young and strong... than so can I. The Master reborn!
~ The twenty-second Master's last words
Haha! Hahaha! Hahaha! Now then, Doctor! Oh, new voice. Hello, hello. Hello! Anyway, why don't we stop and have a nice little chat while I tell you all my plans and you can work out a way to stop me? I don't think!
~ The twenty-third Master's introduction
End of the Universe! Have fun! Bye bye!
~ The twenty-third Master
So it came to pass, that the human race fell... and the Earth was no more. And I looked down upon my new dominion, as Master of all. And I thought it... good.
~ The Master, after his successful subjugation of Earth
Will it stop, Doctor? The drumming? Will it stop?
~ The Master's last words
Because it's funny! Don't you see? Look at me! I'm splitting my sides! I am hilarious! I am the funniest thing in the whole wide world!
~ The Master after his resurrection
You did this to me! All of my life! You made me! ONE! TWO! THREE! FOUR!
~ The Master, redeeming himself by attacking Rassilon, shouting the drum beats in his head that drove him insane
Please try to keep up. Short for Mistress. Well, I couldn't very well keep calling myself the Master, now could I?
~ Missy revealing herself to be the Master to the Twelfth Doctor


  • The Master's relation with the Doctor can be compared to that of James Moriarty and Sherlock Holmes.
  • In the episode "The Final Game", The Master (in his thirteenth incarnation) 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.
    • In the 2007 episode "The Sound of the Drums" the Tenth Doctor's companion Martha Jones asks him if the Master is an evil brother of his, in which the Doctor replies she has watched too much TV.
  • 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.
  • The Master is the first Time Lord to change gender via regeneration on screen. However the previous episode 'The Doctor's Wife' mentioned a Time-Lord named The Corsair who was also said to have done this.
    • In the season 9 finale episode "Hell Bent" The General became the first Time Lord character to be seen regeneration into a different gender on-screen (whereas the Master's regeneration into Missy occurred off).
  • Although stories featuring multiple Masters at once has been depicted in other media such as comics and audio adventures, the series 10 two-part finale episodes "World Enough and Time" and "The Doctor Falls" is the first time in the history of the show in which multiple Masters have featured in the series proper. The episode featured the current incarnation Missy (Michelle Gomez) and the Harold Saxon Master (John Simm).
  • In Series 10, the John Simm Master now sports a goatee similar to the original Master Roger Delgado.



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