A childhood friend turned lifelong enemy, the Master is a dark parallel to the Doctor. As the Doctor’s self-declared “best enemy,” the two Time Lords have clashed many times over the years. Here are 10 key moments that you need to know from the life of the Master!
The Sea Devils (1972)
Conceived as being the Moriarty to the Doctor’s Holmes, the Master’s first appearance resulted in him teaming up with the plastic terrors, the Autons. Whilst the Doctor defeated both of them, this incarnation of the Master would plague the Third Doctor and UNIT with scheme after scheme. Completely charming and utterly ruthless, the Master instantly established himself as one of the Doctor’s most iconic enemies. One of his most terrfying moments? A scintillating swordfight while the Sea Devils conquer the planet!
The Deadly Assassin (1976)
When the Master next appeared, his body was a wreck. He’d reached the end of his regenerative cycle and was looking for a way to extend his own lifespan. Killing the president of Gallifrey and framing the Doctor for it, the Master planned to use powerful Gallifreyan technology to regenerate. Fortunately for the Doctor, he was given time to prove his innocence and foil the Master’s plan.
The Master’s final appearance in the original run once again saw him fighting for his life. This time he was trapped on the Planet of the Cheetah People, which was slowly killing him. The Master needed the Doctor to escape, which he succeeded in doing. While trying to steal the Doctor’s TARDIS to escape, the Doctor and the Master faced off for seemingly the final time…
The TV Movie (1996)
However, with Doctor Who, if it seems like the last time, it’s almost certainly not! The Master slithered his way into a new body to fight the recently regenerated Eighth Doctor in San Francisco. Planning to possess the Doctor and steal his remaining regenerations, the Master was willing to sacrifice Earth just for a chance to extend his own life.
With the Doctor genuinely believing that he was the last of the Time Lords, it was a massive shock to him to learn the Master had survived as well! Hiding from the Time War at the end of the universe, the Master made himself human with a chameleon arch, becoming the kindly Professor Yana. The Face of Boe’s cryptic last words were an early warning for the Doctor. Unfortunately, he learnt the true meaning of “you are not alone” just moments too late!
The Sound of Drums/ Last of the Time Lords (2007)
Well, he finally did it! After so many schemes, and so many failures, the Master took control of the Earth. Teaming up with the future versions of humanity to enslave their own past, the Master’s reign managed to last for a full year. Unfortunately for him, the Doctor’s companion Martha Jones spent that year travelling the globe, laying the seeds of the Master’s downfall…
The End of Time - Parts One & Two (2009 - 2010)
The Master managed another victory against the Tenth Doctor, although this one didn’t last as long! Converting the entire population of Earth into versions of himself, the Master thought he had achieved an absolute victory. Little did he know that he was a pawn in a much larger game. The Time Lords were using the Master to stage a comeback of galactic proportions!
Dark Water/ Death in Heaven (2014)
We’d seen this mysterious woman throughout Series 10 and we kept wondering who she was and what was she up to. The Doctor finally crossed paths with her, just as she unleashed a squad of Cybermen onto the streets of London. He had no idea who she was, so she had to spell it out to him. She called herself Missy, which is short for Mistress. She couldn’t keep calling herself the Master, could she?
World Enough and Time/ The Doctor Falls (2017)
What’s more dangerous than one homicidal maniac? Two homicidal maniacs of course! With Missy on a path to redemption, the Master decided to interfere in his own future. The two briefly teamed up with the Doctor to survive against a horde of Cybermen, before leaving the Doctor to - what else - save their own lives. However, it didn’t quite go to plan for either of them…
Spyfall - Parts One & Two (2020)
The reveal none of us saw coming. Team TARDIS teamed up with MI6 operative ‘O’ to solve the mystery of why spies were being assassinated by aliens. O seemed sweet, kind and willing to help. Little did the Doctor know that O was, in fact, the Master! He chose the name ‘O’ as he predicted that it was what the Doctor would say when she discovered the truth. Ecstatically happy that she said “oh”, the Master went on to do what he did best; trying, and failing, to kill the Doctor.
Need more on the Master’s history? Hear their story, in their own words!