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The Master

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/masters23423_3914.jpg
The sometimes ghastly and almost always dastardly-looking faces of the Master. note 

"I am the Master and you will obey me."
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Apart from the Daleks, the Master is Doctor Who's most persistent enemy. The villain is another renegade Time Lord from Gallifrey, conceived as the Moriarty to the Doctor's Holmes. The Master was the Doctor's friend (or maybe more) when they were students at the Academy, and the Doctor still hopes they'll reconcile again someday. The Master, on the other hand, can never quite decide between wanting to kill the Doctor — or wanting to spend as much time with him as possible, or, occasionally, both.

Although the character started out calm and collected, as the years have gone on the numerous incarnations of the Master have fallen off the cliff and skidded down the hill into a more and more unhinged madness, losing bits and pieces of sanity with each new body. Extremely camp in any incarnation and a constant source of Foe Yay to the Doctor — with the Psycho Ex subtext between them gradually becoming explicit over the years.

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While the Doctor's incarnations are generally referred to as "The Nth Doctor", the Master's incarnations are most often distinguished by the name of the person playing them. This is because there's some controversy over the exact numbering in subsequent bodies, which number regeneration Roger Delgado was meant to be, in addition to many alternate-timeline Masters and an unknown amount of possible unseen ones. The Master has returned and endured mostly by cheating death or being resurrected in various ways, likes stealing bodies, and has had many on-screen incarnations (though most of them died offscreen).

The Master uses up regenerations relatively fast, due to so many nefarious schemes backfiring. This has caused the character to suffer horrific levels of disfigurement while stuck on old bodies and unable to heal, to filch replacement flesh and blood by force, and even to devise a way to exist as a disembodied monstrosity after having been cremated once. When the Time War exploded across reality, the Master was given another regeneration cycle, but this time around has been stingier about using them, even choosing death over regenerating once, knowing there was a way to return from the grave without using up a body.

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    In General 
  • Arch-Enemy: The most recurring individual adversary for the Doctor, with only Davros challenging this claim.
  • Aristocrats Are Evil: A figurative and literal Time Lord. Their family owned estates back on Gallifrey.
  • Bad Boss: The Master frequently sacrifices or outright murders their own underlings, often just for fun. Casualties of this approach include George McDermott, Chang Lee (he got better), the UK Cabinet, the entire Cult of Saxon, Dr. Chang, and Seb.
  • Big Bad: Season 8 of the original series, where he appeared in every episode before being arrested at the end of "The Dæmons", and in Season 9, where UNIT still regards him as the biggest threat. He also is the main antagonist of the movie. In the revival, they are the main villain for Series 3 with the "Mr. Saxon" arc and again in Series 8 and Series 10.
  • Blue Blood: Time Lords were generally the snobs of the galaxy, but the Master recalls having estates (plural) on Gallifrey. They and the Doctor used to run through fields of red grass together when they were kids.
  • Camp: Each regeneration in individual ways, which is quite an achievement.
    • Delgado's Master wore all black, including a Nehru jacket and black gloves. He even had a rubbish beard. He also had the habit of using incredibly obvious aliases such as "Colonel Masters" or "Mr Magister".
    • Ainley's Master is a truly Large Ham. Becoming half-feline only made him more camp.
    • Roberts's Master always drezzzed for the occasion. He also un-ironically wore a leather jacket complete with sunglasses. Also, he starts out as a snake made of goo.
    • Jacobi's Master had a flair for the dramatic ("The Master... reeee-boorrrn!") and being sadistically cruel.
    • Simm's Master offered people jelly babies, had outrageously blatant phone sex with the Doctor, and danced flamboyantly to the Scissor Sisters. He gives Ainley a run for his money as the hammiest of the Masters.
    • Gomez's Mistress dresses like a gothic Mary Poppins, likes having tea parties with intended victims, dances around while swinging a dainty little umbrella, and generally bounces up and down a lot while wearing a flowery fruit hat.
  • Card-Carrying Villain: The Master holds much pride in the idea of being the aspiring Evil Overlord over the entire universe, and frequently enjoys doing random evil deeds, simply for no other reason than the fact they can. In any incarnation, calling them twisted or evil is a guaranteed Insult Backfire.
  • Character Development: The Delgado incarnation simply wanted to take over and/or escape from Earth, and spend time with the Doctor, and enjoy a good cigar occasionally. When his body got burned, he became more desperate, and rather a lot more mentally broken in the process. The Ainley Master is definitely more unhinged than he was in his Time Lord bodies, and knows that his Trakenite form has an expiration date. At the same time, he still really wants to spend time with the Doctor, commenting that a cosmos without his friend "scarcely bears thinking about". The Roberts incarnation is stuck in a very rapidly decaying body and decides to steal the Doctor's regenerations. The Simm Master, initially, is the first one in a long while to have no concerns over his longevity, and keeps the Doctor as a pet while he merrily screws with Earth — although he's decidedly more insane than previous incarnations. After dying and coming back in a decaying body yet again, he sacrifices himself to stop Rassilon, telling the Doctor to "get out of the way" and flinging himself into the Time War, but manages to escape with his body restored to full health and his behaviour more controlled, though still every bit a monster. The Gomez incarnation is even more broken than her predecessor, and her obsession with the Doctor has become stronger than ever.
    • One notable bit of Character Development is that the Jacobi and Simm incarnations were blatant misogynists, whereas the Gomez incarnation adores her new body and now absolutely delights in identifying as female. Though it should be noted that she does take an, in her own words, "old fashioned" view of things.
  • Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: Never, ever expect the Master to honor their part in any deal they have entered into. The Master will even betray themselves across incarnations.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: A villainous example, but each incarnation of the Master has a few touches of this.
    • Delgado's Master enjoys watching The Clangers.
    • Eric Roberts' Master, much like the Sixth Doctor, truly believes his Time Lord getup isn't a fashion accident.
    • Simm's Master likes partying at highly inappropriate times and dancing to Earth pop music. And, in a Shout-Out to Delgado, praised the Teletubbies as the height of evolution.
    • Gomez's Mistress enjoys playing incredibly odd pranks, throws tea parties for victims, and insists on receiving a compliment before murdering a subordinate.
  • Complexity Addiction: The Master frequently overcomplicates their own evil schemes for the sake of amusement or having an audience. Delgado felt that just firing missiles at the Doctor from a distance lacked "that personal touch". Gomez considers her and the Doctor trying to kill each other to be "sort of our texting" at this point. This is lampshaded by the Rani.
    The Rani: He'd get dizzy if he tried to walk in a straight line.
  • Contrasting Sequel Antagonist: Each incarnation contrasts each other in some way:
    • Roger Delgado's portrayal of the Master was a suave, Faux Affably Evil character who wasn't afraid to get his hands dirty, fighting the Doctor from time to time.
    • Peter Pratt and Geoffrey Beavers' version was vengeful and maniacal, actively trying to kill the Doctor through any means necessary.
    • Anthony Ainley's portrayal permanently relegated the character to a Non-Action Big Bad who would run like Hell at the first sign of trouble, while also adding his own spin to the Master by making him a hammy Manipulative Bastard.
    • Eric Roberts' version was, like Crispy Master, more vengeful and bloodthirsty, but had the catch of being in a rapidly-decaying human body. He also displayed the ability to spit weaponized bile and turn into a goo-snake that possesses others through an Orifice Invasion, which is how he got into the human body in the first place. These abilities were huge Big-Lipped Alligator Moments, seeing how they were never brought up in the show again.
    • Derek Jacobi's portrayal took a unique twist on Roberts' version by having the Master become human through a Chameleon Circuit, which also gave him a false set of memories as the benevolent Professor Yana. From the minute amounts of screentime that Jacobi's Master held as the Master, he seemed far colder than previous incarnations.
    • John Simm's Master was a Psychopathic Manchild who wished nothing more than to torment the Doctor and his companions. He was also a bigot, something that Jacobi's Master shared when he returned to being the Master. This portrayal was also far more emotional, being overtaken by rage or sadness in the heat of the moment at times.
    • "Missy", Michelle Gomez's version of the Master, dropped the woman-child aspect while retaining the psychopathy, leaving us with an incredibly batty Violent Glaswegian who enjoys making pop-culture shout-outs.
  • Determinator: This crossed with Why Won't You Die? is a major reason why the Master will always be a threat to the Doctor, if for no other reason than sheer tenacity and refusal to permanently die.
  • Dirty Coward:
    • This trait is essentially what really marks the Master as different from the Doctor. Where the Doctor is unwavering in their courage and is always willing to put their life on the line when the chips are down, the Master fears death more than anything and when their life is threatened, they will drop everything, including manners, and do whatever it takes to stay alive.
    • Exemplified in the Time War, when the Cruciform fell around the war's 400th and final year. This event sent the Master running for his life and going to great lengths to disappear from the radar of other Time Lords at the very edge of the universe. Contrasted to the War Doctor, who refused to back out of the Time War despite any level of danger posed to him, this speaks volumes about how cowardly the Master really is.
      • In fairness to him, what we hear of the Time War would make almost anyone run and hide.
  • Dragon with an Agenda: To Rassilon, although he doesn't learn this himself for centuries and (understandably) shows no loyalty to Rassilon once he does.
  • The Dreaded: Not at first, but eventually.
    • By the time of their regeneration stated as the Tenth, the Doctor, even after the horror of the Time War, is outright terrified when he realises the Master's alive, and near his TARDIS. And again when he's resurrected. The Doctor rushes back to his TARDIS and tries to prevent it happening. Alas, San Dimas Time is in effect.
    • The reveal of Missy's identity shocked the Twelfth Doctor. Considering Twelve is normally stoic, he must be afraid of the Master.
  • Driven to Madness: Since he looked in the Untempered Schism, he started hearing the sound of drums, which made him crazy. It is the sound of a Time Lord's hearts, placed by the Time Lord High Council, on Rassilon's command, to escape the Time War.
  • Evil Counterpart: The classic Master filled in as the Blofeld to Three's Bond (or the Moriarty to the Doctor's Holmes). Where the Doctor is fascinated with exploring the Universe, the Master is obsessed with the idea of ruling it. When they were soldiers in the Time War, the Doctor kept fighting to the bitter end of the war, while the conflict eventually became too much for the Master, who ran away in terror. He later masqueraded as a humble professor with his personality kept under lock and key in a watch (like the Tenth Doctor), before heading to Earth in his next incarnation (like the Ninth). The "Yana" persona took a few notes from the Doctor's playbook, manipulating his Malmooth lab assistant into a "provoked" attack. Where the Tenth Doctor likes to jerry rig harmless gadgets such as "ding" machines, the Master personally retrofitted the Doctor's TARDIS into a monstrous Paradox Machine. The TV movie and "The Sound of Drums" are where the Master started picking up hitchhikers of his own: gangster Chang Lee, and trophy wife Lucy Saxon. Except instead of showing Lucy the wonders of the universe, he revealed only entropy and darkness.
    • Flipped on at least one occasion, with the Master changing gender from Simm to Gomez, and the Doctor following suit with Twelve to Thirteen.
  • Evil Former Friend: Bordering on Psycho Ex-Boyfriend at times — which the Master delights in lampshading.
  • Evil Genius: Played straight.
  • Evil Laugh: Comes with being a Card-Carrying Villain.
  • Evil Plan: Always. From the simple to the complex, the Master has always got some plan just waiting to be either set up, completed, tweaked or even abandoned in favour of a new one.
  • Evil Sorcerer: Okay, granted it's Sufficiently Advanced Technology, but a lot of the Master's schemes make them come across as this. On multiple occasions they've headed their own cults, whose aims range from quite literally summoning demons to bringing the Simm Master back to life. (Missy, of course, operates more under the gender-flipped version, Wicked Witch.) Given that the Doctor is often compared to a good wizard...
  • Evil Wears Black: The Master subscribes to the Neil Gaiman school of fashion. Even his ceremonial Time Lord getup was black, although one of the Missy incarnation's outfits is a dark purple, to shake things up a bit.
  • Expy:
    • The last story of the original sixth season featured the War Chief. He's an evil, megalomaniac Time Lord who dresses in a dark Nehru jacket, sports Facial Hair of Evil and knows the Doctor from their days on Gallifrey. He's extremely camp, has no concept of personal space and offers the Doctor a half-share in the universe. Fast forward to Season Eight, where we are introduced to the Master; a new regular villain who's an evil, megalomaniac Time Lord, dresses in a dark Nehru jacket, wears a Beard of Evil and — oh, you get the point. Fanon has even identified them as the same character.
    • Erst Stavro Blofeld has been an enduring influence on the Master; what with the Nehru jackets, the kitty-stroking in "Survival," the elaborate deaths for unwary henchmen, etc.
  • Fantastic Racism: While they don't especially respect most other Time Lords, the Master emphatically considers non-Time Lord life to be without value and has a special contempt for humans. The Master seems to go back and forth between resenting the Doctor's fondness for humans and failing to grasp that the Doctor sees them as anything more than pets (even though the companions have personally defeated the Master more than once). However, there does seem to be at least a little Villain Respect towards the Brigadier.
  • Foil:
    • Their plans are unique in how they involve the Doctor, when compared to the Doctor's other villains. The other villains will develop a plan specifically to trap and get rid of the Doctor, via trapping him outside the universe or killing him outright. The Master, on the other hand, will have plans that will put them in a position to help the Doctor (albeit in their own twisted way), get admiration from the Doctor, and/or something else that killing the Doctor would be counter-productive with.
    • Crossing over with Evil Counterpart: The Doctor admires all life forms, and could easily work as a God of Good, but doesn't have the attention span or interest for it. The Master, meanwhile, detests all life, needing to be in charge. Unlike the Daleks, both the Doctor and the Master need other species around — the Doctor needs to be kept in check, while the Master needs to be in control.
  • For the Evulz: Initially. The John Simm incarnation was given the backstory of being the victim of Rassilon's "escape the Time War" plan, but even then had tended to kill people just for fun.
  • Friendly Enemy: How friendly depends on which incarnation of both the Doctor and the Master, but at the very least, there's almost always quite a lot of Villain Respect.
  • Galactic Conqueror: In the novelization of "Survival", it is mentioned that when the Master is not encountering the Doctor, he's busy. Only instead of saving planets and helping people, the Master conquers planets and enslaves people.
  • Go Mad from the Revelation: The Doctor theorises that the Master went insane from looking into the Time Vortex when he was a child.
  • Grammar Nazi: They're fond of correcting other people.
    • As Eric Roberts:
      Grace: I suppose you knew Madame Curie too.
      The Doctor: Yes, intimately.
      Grace: Does she kiss as good as me?
      The Master: As well as you.
    • The Simm Master decides he wants to make a point about the meaning of the word decimate. So he decides to decimate one tenth of the population of the Earth.
      • Decimate means "remove one tenth", as I have said at the occasion, Earthling. You shall not be allowed to live in my new dominion.
  • Hypnotic Eyes: Often used in conjunction with his Catchphrase:
    "I am the Master, and you will obey me."
  • Iconic Sequel Character: The only rival to the Daleks in terms of number of appearances and being archenemy to the Doctor... and they didn't show up at all until the eighth season.
  • Insult Backfire: In any incarnation, the Master takes being called evil, insane, inhuman, brutal, corrupt, or sick as a compliment.
    The Doctor: The Master's consumed by hatred. It's his one great weakness.
    The Master: Weakness, Doctor? Hate is a strength!
  • Irony: After centuries of doing everything possible to survive, what (seemingly) finishes the Master off for good? The Simm incarnation shooting his future self in the back. They find it really funny.
  • It's All About Me: Cares about conquering the universe and, on a good day, the Doctor. Anyone else is expendable.
  • Joker Immunity: A master at averting being Killed Off for Real:
    • Delgado's Master was reduced to a degraded, decaying version of himself yet still didn't die, but eventually transferred himself to another body.
    • Ainley's version survived several No One Could Survive That! instances, and even lampshaded his unlikely survival at one point with the comment: "Come, come, the whole universe knows I'm indestructible!"
    • Displays this blatantly from "Castrovalva" onwards, where he/she starts regularly surviving apparently fatal incidents with no explanation. Earlier stories tended to display overt Villain: Exit, Stage Left rather than having him apparently die.
    • The Roberts Master was rendered Only Mostly Dead by the TV Movie, and was then thrown into the Eye of Harmony, which one would think was the end of him. But no, (if you don't count the Expanded Universe chronicling his eventual escape and further misadventures) he was apparently rescued by the Time Lords, who granted him a new regeneration cycle, only to Chameleon Arch himself, then got sent to the end of the Universe as Professor Yana.
    • Simm's Master initiated a Thanatos Gambit to avoid permanently dying after "Last of the Time Lords" (despite the Doctor apparently burning his body), Came Back Wrong because Lucy Saxon sacrificed herself to interfere with his revival, and died in a Heroic Sacrifice in "The End of Time". Or so it seemed. He managed to live, while Rassilon probably regenerated from his injuries. The Time Lords realized they had a real monster on their hands and decided he was better off in a stable body instead of feeding on everybody, so he returned to normal.
    • Michelle Gomez's Master was vaporized, right on screen, this time by a Cyberman. It seems by now writers aren't even going to pretend the Master's death will ever stick — shortly afterwards Gomez announced she'd return in the next series. (And indeed, when she did, we actually found out exactly how she got away this time.) Later on, she is shot in the back by her previous incarnation with the laser screwdriver, set to a function meant to disable her ability to regenerate and thus kill her permanently. As always, no one expects that this will be the end of the character.
  • Jumping Off the Slippery Slope: According to the Tenth Doctor, the Master started out not unlike himself: occasionally taking a life here and there, all in the pursuit of a greater design. This inevitably led to him concluding that all non-Time Lords were disposable at best and worthy of annihilation at worst.
  • Just Between You and Me: The Master holds great pride in the quality of their Evil Plans, and frequently simply can't help themselves as their own sense of vanity always tempts them to share the details of them, especially with the Doctor, who they view as the only person intelligent enough to appreciate their genius.
  • Kick the Dog: Being a dastardly villain, they're BOUND to have plenty of these over the years.
    • Classic Masters: Roger Delgado
      • In his first appearance, the Master casually throws a hapless scientist off a radio tower to his death. Why? Because he was in the Master's way.
      • In the same serial, the Master kills a man and hides his now tiny body inside the man's lunchbox.
      • The Master — at the very end of "The Mind of Evil" — ends up running over and killing Barnham, a very sweet, gentle and kind man who just saved his life! Ungrateful Bastard at its finest.
      • In "The Sea Devils", the Master outright admits that the only reason he's trying to destroy Earth is because he knows it's the Doctor's favorite planet.
    • Classic Masters: Anthony Ainley
      • He murders a random policeman and Tegan's Aunt Vanessa For the Evulz.
      • He sometimes treats Nyssa like a surrogate daughter. This is especially cruel seeing as how the Master is walking around wearing her father's corpse.
      • Near the end of "Survival", the Master has got what he wants. He's escaped the cheetah planet and is alive. He still goes out of his way to turn some 1980s teenagers into his brainwashed slaves. Why? Because the Master is a dick, that's why.
    • Classic Masters: Eric Roberts
      • Stealing Bruce's body and then murdering Bruce's wife. He could have left her alive but he clearly didn't feel like it.
      • Snapping Grace and Chang Lee's necks. They get better, but still.
    • Revival Masters: Derek Jacobi: How about killing his assistant when awakened? There was literally no reason to do it, either!
    • Revival Masters: John Simm
      • Turning the TARDIS into a Paradox Machine.
      • Murdering his Cabinet with poisonous gas as he gleefully watches.
      • Having a reporter murdered and listening to her screams by opening and closing the door three times before stopping.
      • Killing a TENTH of the Earth's population for no reason other than to strike fear into everyone and then ruling the world with an iron fist for an ENTIRE YEAR!
      • Torturing and murdering Jack Harkness over and over again with a smile on his face.
      • It's also implied he beat his wife.
      • Harassing the Jones family just because he can.
      • At one point he encounters Martha Jones (a black woman) and Captain Jack Harkness (a pansexual man that due to certain circumstances became an immortal) and calls them "the girly and the freak". He then adds that he's not sure which is which.
      • After he Comes Back Wrong in "The End of Time", he turns 99% of the human race into the "Master race".
      • Being Bill's Only Friend while she was trapped on a Mondasian spaceship with the Doctor unable to save her due to Time Dilation, then telling her he'll help her get back to him only to trick her into Cyber-conversion. Amazingly, this may have also been a kick the dog moment to himself.
      • When he first sees a fully Cyber-converted Bill, he mockingly does the accent so she knows who he is.
      • His final act is the ultimate one to himself — when his future self finally decides to stand with the Doctor he kills her for good, sealing his own fate out of pure spite.
    • Revival Masters: Michelle Gomez
      • Harvesting the minds of dead/dying people and manipulating them into deleting their emotions.
      • Killing Dr. Chang because he had outlived his usefulness.
      • Casually murdering Osgood because she's pretty. She even counts down to her death and after vaporizing her, grinds her glasses into the floor with her heel.
      • Killing Seb because he was annoying her.
      • Calling all of humanity the Doctor's "pets".
      • Lying about Gallifrey's location to the Doctor. Blatantly a case of the Master being a dick for no real reason.
        Although we later discover she was only lying by omission. The spatial coordinates were correct. She just didn't specify temporal ones.
      • It's small, but Missy purposely asking about Danny and if he was still "tremendously dead" to Clara to most likely try and get a reaction out of her was needlessly cruel. Thankfully, Clara didn't take the bait.
      • Vaporizing two UNIT soldiers, one of whom had a wife and children, just to prove she's "not good".
      • Trying to convince the Doctor to kill Clara while she's disguised as a Dalek And if you look in the background, she's even making mocking faces at Clara! The implication here being that Missy is extremely jealous of the Doctor and Clara's close friendship.
  • Large Ham: Yes. And each successive Master manages to be hammier than the last.
  • Laughably Evil: The Master is an absolutely terrible person who just happens to have all the charisma of the Doctor.
  • The Mad Hatter: Delgado, Simm and Gomez have all copped to being paranoid / insane / "bananas".
  • Manipulative Bastard: Especially the Gomez incarnation.
  • Man of Wealth and Taste: Frequently well-dressed. Obviously doesn't apply to the Crispy Master, or Simm in his hobo hoodie get-up.
  • The Master: It's in the name. On more than one occasion, people have commented on what this says about their personality that they choose to call themselves that.
    "I mean, who calls himself 'The Master'?"
  • Master of Disguise: The Delgado and Ainley incarnations used this often, at least, including one occasion where the Ainley Master disguised himself as an Asian magician for no apparent reason. The Simm incarnation adopts one in Series 10 as a tribute.
  • Meaningful Name:
    • His monicker of "The Master" in that he wants to rule the universe. Also, as a compare/contrast to "The Doctor".
    • It's also the academic rank that is just short of a Doctorate. A Master may be good, but a Doctor is Always Someone Better.
    • His sorcerer costume, "Kalid", is named for the violent and petty god of Time.
    • Also, the alias he chose during his academy days as revealed in the Expanded Universe: "Koschei". Think about it.
      • In Slavic folklore, Koschei was an antagonist who went through extreme lengths to avoid ever dying, is sometimes referred to as "Koschei the Deathless", and kidnaps the protagonist's compan– ah, wife. Hell, the name even means "Skeleton".
    • "Missy" is short for Mistress, the latest in a long string of aliases derived from "Master".
  • Meet the New Boss: In "The War Games", we are introduced to the War Chief, a Time Lord who has past history with the Doctor, who is working with a group of aliens to take over the galaxy, and who plans to betray them the first chance he gets. And he's got an evil moustache too. Then, a couple of seasons later, the Master shows up: A Time Lord who has past history with the Doctor, who routinely teams up with aliens and then betrays them, is noted to have changed his name to the Master since the previous time the Doctor encountered him, and even has a similar taste in clothes and facial hair. Word of God is quite insistent that they're different people.
  • More Than Mind Control: "I am the Master, and you will obey me." Nearly always works — Peri seems to be the exception, as she is able to outshout him. Jo also figures out a way to use Psychic Static to No-Sell his mind control.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: Not only is his name "The Master", but most of his Significant Anagram aliases involve plays on either the word "death" or "master".
  • Narcissist: He calls himself the Master, for starters.
  • No Name Given: In the Expanded Universe, it's revealed that the Master's nickname during his Academy days was Koschei.
  • No-Nonsense Nemesis: While the Delgado, Ainley, and Gomez incarnations usually see their conflict with the Doctor as a playful game, the Crispy and Simm incarnations are devoid of such sentiments and offer the Doctor no quarter in their encounters.
  • No Sense of Personal Space: Especially in regard to the Doctor.
  • Not So Different: To the Doctor, right down to their origin (running away when faced with the Time Vortex).
  • The Nth Doctor: Being a Time Lord, and occasionally stealing other bodies.
  • The Only One Allowed to Defeat You: The Master will occasionally stop other baddies from killing the Doctor, and invoke this trope. How much of it is true, and how much is them not actually wanting the Doctor to die at all, is up for debate.
  • Parents as People: Definitely the case — look at all the tropes! Especially so as them being a parent to a daughter is only even mentioned in passing.
  • Really 700 Years Old: Unlike the Doctor, they've never stopped to give an age (not even a false one), but they've been around for a good long while. He and the Doctor were of an age on Gallifrey, and a common assumption (backed up by "Time and the Rani", where the Doctor and the Rani are the same age) is that this has held since.
  • Red Baron: Master of all matter.
  • Resurrected for a Job: He was given a new set of regenerations by Gallifrey's High Council in order to fight in the Last Great Time War.
    The Doctor: What happened to you?
    The Master: The Time Lords only resurrected me because they knew I'd be the perfect warrior for a Time War. I was there when the Dalek Emperor took control of the Cruciform. I saw it... I ran.
  • Rival Turned Evil: It's established that the Master and the Doctor were at school together.
  • Significant Anagram: Both in-universe and out of it. In the 1980s, in order to not give away the Plot Twist that the villain of a story was the Master, a false name would appear in the credits. These were usually anagrams involving either "Master" or Anthony Ainley's name, such as "James Stoker/Master's Joke" ("The King's Demons"). In-universe, the Master seems to like inventing anagrams to use as names.
  • The Sociopath: The Master has traits of this across all of their incarnations, with their general sense of megalomania, enjoyment of challenging the Doctor to the occasional battle of wits, and an utter disregard for the plight they inflict upon their victims.
  • Stalker with a Crush: More and more overtly as the show goes on. Obsessed with the Doctor, frequently attacks humanity just to goad them, and alternates between murder attempts and proposals to rule the universe together.
  • The Starscream: Wants to become Lord President of the Time Lords.
  • Start of Darkness: During a dangerous initiation ritual which all Time Lords must pass, he was one of the very few who went mad.
  • Staying Alive: Good Lord, yes. "I'm indestructible, the whole Universe knows that." Indeed.
    • Missy even casually lampshades this in a conversation with Clara.
      Missy: Death is for other people, dear.
  • Take Over the World: Up to Eleven. Did you really think that ruling over that Insignificant Little Blue Planet could ever come even remotely close to satisfying their ego? No, the Master aspires and schemes to become the ultimate ruler over no less than the entire universe.
  • Terrible Ticking: The RTD-era Master complained of an incessant drumbeat in his head, which turned out to be part of Rassilon's plan to escape the Time War. Gomez's Mistress makes no mention of it, likely because Gallifrey is now "lost" rather than in danger.
  • This Is My Name on Foreign: The Master also tends to use aliases which mean "master" in another language.
  • Too Clever by Half: When their schemes flop, a lot of the time, it can be ascribed to a runaway mouth and/or ego leading to overreach as much as to outside interference and just plain bad timing.
  • Tragic Villain: His villainy is caused by the drumming signal, put into him by Time Lords, desperate to save themselves.
  • Unexplained Recovery: Almost guaranteed, no matter what happens. The Master laughs at death. Evilly.
  • Villain Ball: The Master tends to prioritize messing with the Doctor and having fun over efficiency, and frequently adds unnecessary flourishes to their plans.
    Third Doctor: Vicious, complicated and inefficient. Typical of your way of thinking.

    Fourth Doctor: You'd delay an execution to pull the wings off a fly.
  • Villains Blend in Better: While they are both fundamentally characterized as eccentric geniuses, aside from their differing stances of morality, one of the main differences between the Master and the Doctor is that the former is the "charming sociopath" to contrast the Doctor's "well-intentioned but abrasive Bunny-Ears Lawyer". While the Master, especially the suave and refined Delgado incarnation, has little problem manipulating people into helping with evil plans, the Doctor basically needs the companions to convince people they actually know what they're doing.
  • Villains Out Shopping:
    • Can be caught watching children's television when not actively being evil. Delgado's Master enjoyed The Clangers, while Simm's was impressed by the Teletubbies. "Television... in their stomachs. Now that is evolution."
    • In "Frontier in Space", the Master is seen reading The War of the Worlds during a space flight. Even evil has to commute.
    • Missy in the Promised Land seems to enjoy a nice spot of tea.
    • In a Big Finish story, the Jacobi Master is working on a plan that just requires him to push over the initial domino in a slow-moving disaster and then kick back and watch all the rest fall over time. Finding himself with a lot of free time on his hands as a result, he decides to try his hand at running a vineyard and make his own wine.
  • Wardrobe Flaw of Characterization: The ability to coordinate outfits that suit a temporal or cultural theme in such a way that the eyes of onlookers are spared from bleeding? Not your standard Time Lord trait, however campy the Master plays it. Because s/he is not normal by Time Lord standards, however antagonistic.
  • Weapon of Choice:
    • In the seventies and eighties stories, his trademark weapon was the Tissue Compression Eliminator (TCE), a Shrink Ray which killed people. (According to novelisations, the victim suffers a rapid but agonising death due to Square-Cube Law effects.) The Ainley Master's version was somewhat phallic in appearance, leading to many crude jokes from slash fans.
    • The Simm Master used the slightly less phallic Laser Screwdriver, an Evil Counterpart to the Sonic which fires a Death Ray and can age beings if he has their biological code. It disappeared after "Last of the Time Lords", but if The Adventure Games are anything to go by, it was retrieved by the Tenth Doctor after the Master's death and is currently occupying part of the TARDIS console. As of "World Enough and Time", he seems to have created another.
    • Missy uses what the fandom has taken to calling a DiePhone, which appears to be a smartphone that is capable of vaporizing people. She also seems to have a sonic umbrella.
  • We Used to Be Friends: Central to their dynamic with the Doctor. As with much of the Doctor's early life, we still don't know what caused the actual falling out.
    The Twelfth Doctor: I had a friend once. We ran together, when I was little. And I thought we were the same, but when we grew up, we weren’t.
  • Wicked Cultured:
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Unlike the Doctor, whose regenerations have been mostly cut and dry,note  not all of the Master's faces have been seen, nor what caused him to regenerate into others. Big Finish, a few novels and the comics have all tried to reconcile some of the instances listed below, but most of them have never been explicitly cleared up onscreen or in audios.
  • Worthy Opponent: Sees the Doctor as one. He even acknowledges the amount of good his timeless foe has done for the universe.
    The Master: A universe without the Doctor scarcely bears thinking about.

Tropes associated with the television continuity

    First Master 

The First Master (First Doctor)

Played by: William Hughes (2007)

The first incarnation of the Master, before going by that name, was the Doctor's friend and Academy schoolmate on Gallifrey. He was driven mad at the age of eight by looking into the Time Vortex (an ancient Gallifreyan ritual). Allusions to his life on Gallifrey and his time spent with the Doctor are typically vague, although the Expanded Universe often goes into more detail.


  • Go Mad from the Revelation: He was unable to cope with the Time Vortex, and his mind broke as a result.
  • Lonely Rich Kid: He had the Doctor for a friend, and was at least an acquaintance of the Rani, but that seems to have been just about it.

    Roger Delgado's Master 

The "UNIT Years" Master (Third Doctor)

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/13_master_8574.png
"Death is always more frightening when it strikes invisibly."
Played by: Roger Delgado (1971–1973)

"I am usually referred to as the Master... universally."

The first appearing incarnation of the character, this Master was a frequent adversary of the Doctor and UNIT during the former's exile on Earth. He was generally calm and collected, loved a good cigar, and genuinely enjoyed spending time with the Doctor in between evil plans to take over the world.


  • Aborted Arc: Before filming what was slated to be the final Master adventure (in which the Master dies to save the Doctor, apparently), Delgado died in a car accident in Turkey whilst shooting the subsequently-abandoned film The Bell of Tibet, and thus the story had to be scrapped and was replaced with "Planet of the Spiders".
  • At Least I Admit It: His reaction to being called paranoid is to claim everyone is, he's just more honest.
  • Badass in a Nice Suit: Either a black suit or a Nehru suit during the UNIT years.
  • Beard of Evil: He has a goatee for that Dastardly Whiplash look.
  • Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: He both had this, and was constantly falling prey to it.
  • Compelling Voice: His most overtly superhuman talent is mind-control, which requires both eye contact and voice to induce.
  • Cool Old Guy: Even in his fifties, Delgado was damned cool. He unfailingly steals scenes from everybody, and is usually the oldest player in the story apart from Pertwee.
  • Dastardly Whiplash: Lampshaded by Jo after a particularly humiliating defeat leaves the Master speechless.
    Jo: How about "Curses, foiled again?"
  • Deadpan Snarker: Got in several shots at the Doctor and his human allies.
  • Demoted to Extra: In his first season of Doctor Who, the character turned up in every single serial, from "Terror of the Autons" to "The Dæmons". Then Delgado, while enjoying the show, became concerned that while officially a guest star, many casting directors considered him a de facto regular cast member of Doctor Who and therefore unavailable for other work. So the next season dramatically scaled back his appearances (it is likely that this would have happened anyway, as producer Barry Letts felt that in retrospect having the character appear in every serial was a mistake), with an eye to making a splashy departure the following season. Due to his untimely death in Turkey, the character was quietly retired for a time.
  • Diabolical Mastermind: Unlike later incarnations, this version of the Master tapped into the Cold War anxieties of the time. He shares much in common with Blofeld (fitting for Jon Pertwee's Bond pastiche) as well as the Red Chinese characters played by Khigh Dhiegh (Hawaii Five-O, The Manchurian Candidate), though the script was careful not to ally the Master with any superpower.
  • Enemy Mine: If worst came to worst, the Master would happily team up with the Doctor in the UNIT years, although he was far from trustworthy.
  • Evil Counterpart: In a way not seen again until 2007. UNIT Years Master was everything the Third Doctor was, except he was evil.
  • Faux Affably Evil: In the UNIT Years, he is usually scrupulously polite to everyone and can occasionally appear genuinely reluctant to harm the Doctor or his companions. Doesn't stop him merrily slaughtering people, though.
  • For the Evulz: At least in "The Sea Devils", where his goal is simply to get rid of the Doctor's favorite species. "Believe me, that'll be a reward in itself."
  • Friendly Enemy: Helped by the fact that Delgado and Pertwee were good friends in real life.
  • Good Smoking, Evil Smoking: He smokes cigars.
  • I Just Want to Have Friends: He just wants to rule the universe together with the Doctor. Word of God (word of the Master's creator Terrance Dicks, to be precise) has it that some of the Master's schemes were intentionally half-arsed because he just really wanted to spend time with the Doctor, but couldn't let his evil reputation get tarnished.
  • Latex Perfection: In his early stories, he regularly used rubber masks which somehow looked exactly like real faces and could form expressions. Probably justified, given that in his first story he was working with the Nestene, who have near-magical powers with plastics.
  • Man of Wealth and Taste: During the UNIT Years, he was always well dressed, and liked to present himself as rich, cultured businessmen and academics.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: After his first couple of stories in the UNIT Years, he would regularly turn up using a false name without making a single effort to change his facial appearance or persona. This may actually be justified by the Word of God above — he doesn't really care about fooling the Doctor.
  • Put on a Bus: Stops appearing after "Frontier in Space", without any in-story explanation. This was due to Roger Delgado's real-life death.
  • Silver Fox: His UNIT Years version has many, many fangirls despite his grizzled hair.
  • Skunk Stripe: Has one in his beard.
  • The Starscream: To the Daleks in "Frontier in Space".
  • The Vicar: As "Mr. Magister".
  • Villain: Exit, Stage Left: Tended to pull off taunting escapes when he realised that his plans had been conclusively defeated.
  • Villainous Widow's Peak: His hairstyle was quite impressively dramatic and sinister.
  • Villain Respect: Had a certain amount for Jo, and was slightly more impressed by the Brigadier than most humans.
  • Voice Changeling: "The Time Monster" reveals that he is capable of perfectly imitating another person's voice.
  • We Can Rule Together: In "Colony in Space". Too bad the Doctor finds the idea of ruling anything dull as dishwater.
  • Worthy Opponent: It's outright stated in his first serial that the Doctor and the Master enjoy their battle of wits.
  • You're Insane!: The Doctor calls him mad and paranoid in "The Time Monster". His response: "Who isn't?"

    Peter Pratt's/Geoffrey Beevers' Master 

The "Decayed" Master (Fourth Doctor)

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/peter_pratt_master.jpg
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/doctor_who_50_the_keeper_of_traken_the_master.jpg
"He knows he is walking into a trap... But how can he resist such a bait?"
Played by: Peter Pratt (1976), Geoffrey Beevers (1981)

"You do not understand hatred as I understand it. Only hate keeps me alive. Why else should I endure this pain?"

The result of the Master getting burned to a crisp (off-screen). As he was on the last incarnation of his first regeneration cycle when it happened, he was stuck with a rotting body and a broken mind, with only his intense hatred and burning anger keeping him alive. It was around this time the Master truly started his quest for life beyond his regenerations, attempting to harness the power of the Eye of Harmony to renew himself. Escaping Gallifrey when this plot was foiled, the Master was next seen in "The Keeper of Traken", where he succeeded in stealing the body of the Trakenite consul Tremas.

The Beevers Master is the first original series Master to appear in Big Finish Doctor Who.


  • Calling Card: The Doctor immediately knows the Master is involved when he discovers his greeting card of a shrunken guard.
  • Cloning Blues: In "The Oseidon Adventure".
  • Evil Is Hammy: Crispy Master is hammy with just his voice.
  • Evil Makes You Ugly: The Master we see in "The Deadly Assassin" and "The Keeper of Traken" is in his thirteenth body and looks like death warmed over; Geoffrey Beevers remarked that this is what the Master is like without his smooth looks and charm: as he put it, "the essence of the creature". This seems to be a running theme with this Master. The first Crispy Master is the ugliest and cruelest of all, while the second Crispy seems to have "healed" a little and is a step back towards Delgado behavior.
  • Evil Sounds Deep: This incarnation of the Master has easily the deepest voice of his many incarnations over the years. Pratt grave him a raspy lisp, Beevers gave him a smoother baritone, another implication that he's gotten a little better after the end of "The Deadly Assassin".
  • Facial Horror: His face rots to the bone. Yes, it's creepy.
  • Grand Theft Me: Since this Master could no longer regenerate, he switched incarnations by possessing a hapless victim — who happened to be Nyssa's father.
  • In the Hood: The hooded black robe is unique to this incarnation. The black hoodie worn by the Simm incarnation in "The End of Time" could possibly be a Shout-Out.
  • No-Nonsense Nemesis: Being Out of Continues has prompted him to stop messing around.
  • Not-So-Harmless Villain: Although he was never exactly harmless, being on the very brink of death caused the Master to cross out the "Friendly" bit in "Friendly Enemy", and get right down to saving his own skin, becoming much less the Doctor's Worthy Opponent and moreso a very focused Omnicidal Maniac.
  • The Nth Doctor: Provides a non-regeneration example, as Pratt and Beevers portray the same decaying incarnation of the Master.
  • Out of Continues: Having run out of regenerations, he is stuck in his decaying last body, and doesn't look the better for it.
  • The Power of Hate: It was his anger and hatred that allowed the Crispy Master to cling to life despite the state of advanced decay his body was in.
  • Soft-Spoken Sadist: The Beevers version talks in a eerily calm and soft manner.
  • Stable Time Loop: In "The Two Masters" his existence as the "Burnt Master" seems to be a result of this. The Macqueen Master travels back in time to his arrival on Terserus, traps him in an energy net and severely burns him as part of a plan to fake his death. The Macqueen Master of course only did this because he knows it happened to him in his own past.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: Peter Pratt's incarnation is by far the nastiest, most humourless version of the Master seen to date. Reversed a little by the Geoffrey Beevers version, who is a little more Affably Evil than Pratt, though still colder and more malevolent than most of the versions who would follow.

    Anthony Ainley's Master 

The "Tremas" Master (Fourth, Fifth, Sixth and Seventh Doctors)

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/aa_master_7607.png
"Killing you once was never enough for me, Doctor."
Played by: Anthony Ainley (1981–1986; 1989; 1997)

"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."

Manages to steal a Trakenite body to replace his decaying Time Lord one, and expands his plans far beyond just Earth and Gallifrey. From hereon in, he aims to be a constant thorn in the side for the Doctor, encountering him in his Fifth, Sixth, and Seventh incarnations. Of all the Masters, this incarnation seems to have the highest body count, while he pursued immortality, or at least a new set of regenerations, for himself.

Anthony Ainley reprised his role one last time for the video game Destiny of the Doctors.


  • Accidental Murder: In "Logopolis", he manages to accidentally wipe out a quarter of the universe's population. This is effectively forgotten shortly afterwards, as actually dealing with it would derail the entire show.
  • Animal-Themed Superbeing: In "Survival", the Master is infected with the Cheetah virus, giving him feline characteristics such as fangs, Animal Eyes, and a lust for blood. Though he already had that last trait.
  • Arc Villain: Of the "Return of the Master" trilogy, consisting of "The Keeper of Traken", "Logopolis", and "Castrovalva".
  • Badass Beard: The standard villainous goatee.
  • Badass in Distress: Villainous example, at the end of Destiny of the Doctors, which possibly leads into the movie.
  • Beard of Evil: Follows the Delgado version in having a stereotypically satanic beard to match his villainy.
  • Black Cloak: Has a truly glorious one in "The Five Doctors", with a High Collar of Doom that would make Dracula proud.
  • "Blackmail" Is Such an Ugly Word: No, Doctor, it's not "blackmail" to suggest that he'll disintegrate the entire universe unless they pledge their undying loyalty to the Master. He's merely announcing "the current state of affairs".
  • Card-Carrying Villain: He has fun with it.
  • Cartoonish Supervillainy: Has grandiose plans that often seem to be motivated by nothing more than "causing chaos for fun", and rarely succeeds at anything (although he often has a pretty large body count).
  • Cerebus Syndrome: "Survival" took this Master's innocuous streak and shredded it to ribbons. Suddenly, instead of waxing camp, he oozed dark, sinister villainy, and posed an extreme threat.
  • Costumer: In the Destiny of the Doctors game, the Master takes over Siralos, a planet of "pure psychic energy". He uses his Q-like powers to taunt you between levels, such as wearing a conductor's uniform on an "M"-emblazoned freight train ("We'll Never Get You There!™") and threatening to tie the player to railroad tracks, or running over the player with his car. These cutscenes were included as a DVD easter egg in tribute to Ainley, since this was his final time performing the role of the Master before his death.
  • Daddy's Little Villain: Very briefly treats Nyssa like this in "Logopolis", after stealing her father's body.
  • Didn't See That Coming: Wait, what do you mean a quarter of the universe?
  • Emperor Scientist: In the few times he's managed to control a planet, such as in "Survival".
  • Enemy Mine: He happily joined forces with the Doctor in order to defeat the Valeyard without any prompting or reward beyond being able to live in a universe without the Valeyard.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: There's a scene in "The Mark of the Rani" where the Master actually apologizes to Peri for getting her mixed up in what was supposed to be a tussle between just him and the Doctor.
    • Some of the Rani's actions in that story genuinely horrify him. Like turning people into trees.
  • Evil Is Hammy: Ainley once said, "I'm not a ham. A ham can be cured." Toned down in his final appearance... and then turned Up to Eleven in his appearance in the 1997 video game Destiny of the Doctors.
  • Fangs Are Evil/Fang Thpeak: Vampire fangs.
  • Faux Affably Evil: If "Survival" was anything to go by, this Master, at his very core, was a malicious and repugnant murderer.
  • Fountain of Youth: Tremas promptly de-ages about forty years once the Master takes him over. After that, moving on from this temporary situation to a Gallifreyan-like body with a new set of regenerations is a priority aim of this Master. However, by the time of Destiny of the Doctors, he's started reverting back to gray hair.
  • Giggling Villain: His "heh heh heh heh" is a notorious tic. Often the things he giggles at aren't even funny, even if you're evil.
  • A God Am I: Proclaims himself to be "The Master of All Matter".
  • Grand Theft Me: Manages to steal the body of an aged scientist named Tremas (an anagram of "Master").
  • Heel–Face Door-Slam: He genuinely tries to help the Doctors out in "The Five Doctors", but their constant refusal to trust him leads him back to being evil. On the commentary, the story's writer Terrence Dicks notes that he feels quite sorry for the Master in this one.
  • Hellish Pupils: After he gets infected by the Cheetah Taint in "Survival".
  • Jerk Justifications: Often spouts the "nice guys finish last" and "I am what I am" ones.
  • Limited Wardrobe: Villainy must not pay well, because the Master seemingly owns only one outfit. He added a cowl to the ensemble in "The Five Doctors". In "Planet of Fire" and "Survival", he resumed wearing his Delgado suits.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Not as common or as good at it as some versions, but notably tries to blacken King John's name in "The King's Demons" and tries to groom Midge as a pseudo-companion in "Survival".
  • Mike Nelson, Destroyer of Worlds: In "Logopolis", he accidentally destroyed one quarter of the universe because he didn't understand the true power of the culture he was messing with. And had he continued to abuse this power, ALL of the universe would have been screwed.
  • Not Me This Time: In both "The Five Doctors" and "The Ultimate Foe".
  • Not-So-Harmless Villain: "Survival" seemed to acknowledge the Master's foibles and turn them to his benefit. The Doctor cannot "defeat" him in the normal way without destroying the Cheetah Planet, making him properly dangerous again. Also, this the first episode where we see the Master mimicking the Doctor's modus operandi: He starts gathering earthling "companions" of his own, corrupting their values.
  • Omnicidal Maniac: Casually waves away the fact that he accidentally obliterated a quarter of the universe, and then tries to hold the rest of the universe to ransom.
  • Right-Hand Cat: A whole race of them in "Survival", even feeding a purring cheetah-man by hand. He's also spotted cradling a small black cat briefly.
    "They're essentially a fun-loving race."
  • Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: He had a tendency to sound as if he'd swallowed a thesaurus. Of course, this does take place during John Nathan-Turner's run as producer, and two of his appearances were written by Pip and Jane Baker (no relation to any of the other Bakers in Who). They're rather well-known for using huge words and neat scientific concepts that make sense for the time the shows were made... and both the Sixth Doctor and the Master wind up sounding insanely smart.
  • Soft-Spoken Sadist: A lovely velvety voice.
  • Terms of Endangerment: Likes to say "my dear Doctor".
  • Unexplained Recovery: While it doesn't always need to be stated, it should be said that this trope especially applies to Anthony Ainley's incarnation. While most of the other incarnations were all Time Lords, this body of the Master's came from Traken. And it still survived things like being crushed, thrown around in time, burned alive and so forth!
    • In "Planet of Fire", he legitimately dies on screen — we actually see him get incinerated. He was brought back with a Hand Wave.
    • It should be noted that a number of EU works have attempted to explain the Master's reappearances.
  • Vanity License Plate: In Destiny of the Doctors, one of the Master's vignettes has him driving a cherry-red microcar(!) as an overt jab at "Bessie". The license plate reads "Mas 1".
  • Villain Decay: Suffers this badly in his two Sixth Doctor stories, "The Mark of the Rani" and "The Ultimate Foe" (he isn't the title character), in which he achieves very little and ends up acting as comic relief to the Doctor's confrontations with the Rani and the Valeyard. His final TV appearance, "Survival", manages to reverse this.
  • Waistcoat of Style: A silver one in Destiny of the Doctors.
  • Worthy Opponent: In the prologue to the Destiny of the Doctors game, the Master lists off the qualities of each of the Doctor's incarnations that he liked — but can only muster up a Backhanded Compliment each time.
    The Master: [about the Third Doctor] Now, there was a worthy foe. Such courage, such ingenuity! All wasted through that stubborn streak of goodness.

    The Master: And there's the First. Such wisdom, such intellect... [aside glance] But oh, what a bore the fellow was.
  • Writing Around Trademarks: For their adaptation of the unused TV script "The Hollows of Time", Big Finish couldn't get permission to use the Master. The character of "Professor Stream" is left ambiguous — though there are enough hints to gather that it's him.
  • Xanatos Speed Chess: Of all the Masters, this one seems to work best when improvising.
    • After acting like a total klutz and accidentally wiping out a quarter of the universe's population (by accident), he ingeniously plays it off as if he'd intended to do it, and then promptly holds the universe to ransom.
    • Similarly, after being marooned on the Cheetah planet and then being infected with a virus, the Master listens in on the Doctor's theory as to how to get off the planet. He then kidnaps another infectee and tests the theory, transporting himself back to Earth, where he then unleashes the infectee on the local populace, and then tries to steal the Doctor's TARDIS.

    Eric Roberts' Master 

The "Deathworm Morphant" Master (Seventh and Eighth Doctors)

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/er_master_730.png
"I always dress for the occasion."
Played by: Eric Roberts (1996)

"Life is wasted on the living!"

After being sentenced to death on Skaro, the Master's ashes get taken back to Gallifrey by the Doctor. They naturally get sidetracked and the Master instead comes back to life as a gooey snake-thing, slithers inside an American ambulance driver named Bruce, and proceeds to drezzz for the occasion.


  • Affectionate Gesture to the Head: He kisses Chang Lee's forehead.
  • Badass Longcoat: For a while, before he moves on to full-on Time Lord gear.
  • Big Damn Kiss: Gets a Kiss of Death with Grace.
  • Body Horror: His body is decaying. He casually pulls off a fingernail. Word of God says that this was supposed to be even worse, with Eric Roberts donning various makeup prosthetics to show the body rotting away and implicate the Master's need for a new one, but the actor's skin became unbearably irritated from their application, leading to their removal from the narrative.
  • Camp: All incarnations of the Master are supremely camp, but Eric Roberts seemed determined to out-camp them all. Rather hilariously, later interviews revealed that he actually made an effort not to come across as effeminate and that he considered Paul McGann the camp one.
  • Disney Villain Death: He suffers something similar when he falls into the Eye of Harmony. The Doctor's partly responsible, since he shines a light in the Master's face as he leaps at him and causes him to overshoot, but does offer him a hand. Of course, this only slows him down until he manages to make his escape, as told in the Big Finish Doctor Who story "Mastermind", and he occasionally shows up to wreck havoc and misery again in Big Finish stories as well as the other parts of the Expanded Universe.
  • Evil Is Hammy: Even without the acidic saliva, Eric Roberts literally devours the scenery.
    The Master: I always dress for the occasion!
  • Glowing Eyes of Doom: He has constantly glowing green, cat-like eyes which he concealed behind sunglasses and used to instantly hyptonise Chang. The eyes are a continuity nod to "Survival", in which the Master was infected and under the influence of the Cheetah Planet that gave his last incarnation Supernatural Gold Eyes.
  • Grand Theft Me: He takes over the body of ambulance driver Bruce and then stages a plan to attempt to steal the Doctor's body.
  • Hell-Bent for Leather: Wears a leather coat.
  • Hellish Pupils: Green ones.
  • High Collar of Doom: His elaborate Time Lord outfit.
  • Impersonating an Officer: Thanks to body-snatching a paramedic.
  • Like a Son to Me: He calls Chang Lee "the son I've always yearned for" — shortly before snapping his neck.
  • Lovecraftian Superpower: Aside from the Grand Theft Me, his condition also gives acidic saliva. And that's just the start of what it can do...
  • One-Winged Angel: He turns into a snake made of goo. It doesn't help.
  • Orifice Invasion: How he possesses his human body.
  • Out of Continues: His lives have already run out, so he possesses the body of an unlucky paramedic in order to steal the Doctor's body and his remaining regenerations.
  • Possession Burnout: Bruce's body starts decaying almost immediately after the Master takes possession of it, starting with the fingernails beginning to fall off.
  • Red Right Hand: His decaying fingers.
  • Serpent of Immortality: His initial form.
  • Shout-Out: To the Terminator.
  • Shut Up, Kirk!: The above quote came after the Doctor's Kirk Summation: "You want dominion over the living, but all you do is kill!"
  • Sinister Shades: To hide his glowy green eyes.

    Sir Derek Jacobi's Master 

The "Yana" Master (Tenth Doctor)

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/dj_master_3829.png
"The Professor was an invention. So perfect a disguise that I forgot who I am."
Played by: Sir Derek Jacobi (2007)

"Oh...! Now I can say... I was provoked."

A gentle, quiet, bookish and very far from home old man... until he opens his fobwatch. Given a new lease on life by the Time Lords with the intention of having him fight in the Last Great Time War, the Master initially tried to manipulate the conflict to suit his own goals. But he eventually became so horrified by his experiences that he fled to the end of the universe and turned himself into a human to escape the carnage altogether. He has no memory of his true self, until he meets the Doctor again, at which point all that quickly changes.

This Master is the first revival series Master to appear in Big Finish Doctor Who, taking the spotlight in a series of adventures set during the Time War, with the overarching title The War Master.


  • Absent-Minded Professor: Apparently a life-long trait of Yana's.
  • Amnesiac Dissonance: Oh boy, is this in effect here.
  • Cool Old Guy: Well, at first...
  • Ditzy Genius: The Doctor is amazed that the Professor managed to cobble together a working system for a gravity footprint accelerator, built using a type of science that even he barely understands, all out of "food and string and staples".
  • Even Evil Has Standards: We officially learn how bad the Time War was by this Master's actions. The Time Lords brought him back to fight in the war, but the violence in the Time War was too much chaos for even the Master to take. And, so we're clear, the Master would be the first to pour gasoline over an innocent person and set them on fire just for the fun of it. When even he finds something too chaotic to take, we know it's bad.
  • Evil Counterpart: While the War Doctor is at the heart of the Time War, desperately trying to stop it without endangering innocents, the War Master is trying to selfishly use the chaos of the conflict for his own ends.
  • Evil Is Hammy: You can tell Jacobi is trying to make the most of his screen time.
  • Evil Old Folks: This Master appears quite elderly by human standards.
  • Fun with Acronyms: YANA = You Are Not Alone.
  • Gone Horribly Wrong: The Time Lords brought him back to fight on their side; it backfires horribly as he goes rogue and then goes AWOL when the conflict gets too much even for him.
  • Good Counterpart: Yana is a thoroughly decent man dedicated to saving humanity, who's only mildly annoyed his genius didn't get some recognition, as opposed to the self-centred, power-hungry and insane Master.
  • Hand Wave: He simply states that the Time Lords resurrected him to fight in the Time War, smoothing over both his death in the TV movie and the various contradictory events that happened afterward in the Expanded Universe.
  • Holding Hands: With the Doctor, adorably.
  • I Was Beaten by a Girl: "Killed by an insect... a girl. How inappropriate."
  • Kill the Cutie: Alas, poor Chantho. She got her revenge, but what with him being a Time Lord...
  • Near-Villain Victory: He almost killed the Doctor within about a minute of his true identity reasserting itself, while grabbing a useful tool in case the Doctor managed to somehow survive and follow him. The Doctor would have almost certainly been torn apart if it hadn't been for Jack's vortex manipulator, which the Master could not have known about.
  • Nice Guy: As the Professor.
  • Politically Incorrect Villain: As seen up above, he's annoyed by the idea of being killed by "a girl", but "insect" also counts as speciesist since the girl in question was an actual alien insect.
  • The Professor: Yana admits it's an affectation, and that by the year one hundred trillion there hasn't been a university in over a thousand years. But he is definitely a genius, no question about it.
    • This makes for a very interesting parallel to the Doctor, for Ace called his Seventh incarnation "Professor", to say nothing about the Doctor's legendarily awful schoolwork.
  • Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: (whispered) "I... am... the Master."
  • Resurrected for a Job: The Time Lords brought him back to life complete with a new regeneration cycle to fight in the Time War. It backfired horribly; even he was scared stiff of the magnitude of the conflict, to the point that he fled to the end of time and used a Chameleon Arch to disguise himself just to hide from it all.
    • Notably, however, the Time Lords did follow his example, ultimately deciding to end the universe rather than admit defeat.
  • Terrible Ticking: The drums in his head, getting louder and louder with every passing moment.
  • That Man Is Dead: "That is NOT my name! 'The Professor' was an invention."
  • Tomato in the Mirror:
    The Chameleon Arch: The drums, the drums, the never ending drum beat. Open me, you human fool, open the light, summon me and receive my majesty!
  • Transformation Sequence:
    • Professor Yana's panicky fear and awe giving way to the cold, monstrous Master is just as dramatic, but told almost entirely in Jacobi's facial expressions.
    • While his regeneration is depicted in the same manner as the Doctor's in the revived series, it's shown to be more violent and psychedelic, with purples and greens instead of the Doctor's golds. Likewise, while the Doctor usually accepts the pain with grace (with the exception of Eight), the Master simply screams throughout the process.
  • Villain Protagonist: Of his own boxset no less.
  • Waistcoat of Style: Invoked by RTD, who insisted he dress like this.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: The fate of his TARDIS is never elaborated on. Word of God has suggested that the various consoles in his lab were designed to give the impression of being pieces of his TARDIS that he'd disassembled and cannibalised to help with the Utopia rocket, forcing him to steal the Doctor's to escape.
    • It's implied that the mysterious signal in "Utopia" was set up by the Master in the future using his TARDIS or part of it, the biggest clue perhaps being the sarcastic way he mutters the word "utopia" when glancing over Professor Yana's data, as if he recognizes something.
    • "The Doctor Falls" reveals that his TARDIS survives and is fully functioning by the time of that episode (although he has crashed it and with Missy's help he repairs it so that she can use it in her incarnation.)
  • White Sheep: Yana in comparison to the Masters.
  • You Could Have Used Your Powers for Good: Shows a glimpse into what the Master could be if he renounced his villainous ways. Yana almost singlehandedly created a rocket that gave a chance for the last remnants of the human race to survive.

    John Simm's Master 

The "Harold Saxon" Master (Tenth and Twelfth Doctors)

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/jm_master_7272.png
"HERE! COME! THE DRUMS!"
Click here  to see his second appearance
Click here  to see his third appearance
Played by: John Simm (2007, 2009–10, 2017)

"Shall we decimate them? That sounds good, nice word, decimate... Remove one tenth of the population!"

A bouncy troll with a passion for pop music, utter decadence and beating his wife. Came Back Wrong in his second appearance, and eventually redeemed himself just a little bit when confronted with the Wrath of Rassilon. This Master enjoyed toying with his victims, and found that driving people to madness worked just as well as hypnosis, as with his companion-turned-wife, Lucy Saxon.

Also the only Master to have ever killed Rassilon and, more importantly, lived to tell the tale.


  • 0% Approval Rating: Due to his tendency to act like The Caligula every time he conquers something — the Doctor and Martha's plan to defeat him in the Series 3 finale hinged on how badly everybody wanted him gone. In Series 10, when his TARDIS crashed into the Settler Ship, he naturally conquered the lower city ... only for people to rebel, forcing him to disguise himself since his TARDIS was damaged.
  • Ambiguously Bi: While this Master is unambiguously attracted to women, having a passionate, albeit abusive relationship with his wife Lucy, and later hitting on Missy, the subtext between him and the Tenth Doctor could fill a book, with the Master half-jokingly asking if the Doctor was asking him out on a date and later, somberly reflecting on a time when he and the Doctor were the best of friends.
  • The Anti-Christ: In "The End of Time" — his resurrection by a shadowy cult is heralded by the entire human species having nightmares.
  • Assimilation Plot: Hijacking the Immortality Gate lets him turn most of humanity into duplicates of himself.
    The Master: Breaking news... I'm everyone. And everyone in the world is me!
  • Axe-Crazy: While the Master always had a few screws loose, Saxon is certifiably unhinged. Taken Up to Eleven in "The End of Time", where he pretty much loses all the screws.
    Missy: Oh, the way you burned. Like a sun — like a whole screaming world on fire.
  • Beard of Evil: Averted in Series 3 and subsequent Tennant-era specials (unless one counts Perma-Stubble in the latter), to the point that the Tenth Doctor jokes about Lucy being his only beard in "Time Crash". A classic Delgado/Ainley-era goatee makes its return in Series 10.
  • The Berserker: Implied by his last words after getting shot.
  • Big Bad: He is the main villain of the 2007 series, being behind several of the episode plots and appearing in the season finale.
  • Big Bad Wannabe:
    • He is almost the Big Bad of "The End of Time", and even successfully turns almost all of humanity into himself. However, he is only a pawn to Rassilon, who undoes his work as soon as he arrives.
    • After being the Big Bad for "World Enough and Time", the Master is forced into an Enemy Mine with the Doctor in order to survive the onslaught of the Cybermen.
  • Big "NO!": When the Doctor is restored to normality in "Last of the Time Lords", he shouts this in panic.
  • Board to Death: His first act as PM is to gas his entire Cabinet to death (after mocking and insulting them to their faces).
  • Bound and Gagged: He gets straitjacketed, collared and strapped to a Hannibal-style roller chair in "The End of Time".
  • Breakout Villain: This Master is a confirmed fan-favourite, which may have contributed to his return in Series 10 in a multiple Master special.
  • The Bus Came Back:
    • After being cremated and his ring being found by one of his cultists, the Master made a return in the 2009 Specials after being MIA in Series 4.
    • This incarnation came back in the first on-screen multi-Master story in Series 10.
  • The Caligula: He was already insane to begin with, and making him Prime Minister put him into President Evil territory, but once he forcefully took over the world he became this. In fact, John Simm based his portrayal of the Master on Caligula himself, having performed as him in another TV series.
  • Came Back Wrong: Lucy Saxon interrupts the resurrection process in "The End of Time", resulting in louder drums, Horror Hunger, lightning powers, and a rapidly dying body. Oh, and it turned his hair blond. Apparently fixed by the time of his appearance in Series 10.
  • Cast from Lifespan: The one drawback to his Darth Sidious powers in "The End of Time": using them accelerates the death of an already damaged body.
  • Catchphrase: "It's good, isn't it? Isn't it good?" and "Oh no, you don't!"
  • Character Check:
    • This incarnation's first appearance harkens back to the original/Delgado master by not having a decaying body, pulling a Grand Theft Me, or having any worries about his mortality, and being only concerned with evil and power, unlike the previous incarnations from Pratt onward. In his second appearance, after his resurrection, he again has a decaying body.
    • The unexplained Lovecraftian Superpowers he had in the TV movie are also never brought up.
  • The Chessmaster: He was responsible for nearly everything happening in Season 3 of the Revived Series, and had carefully implemented every plan to build up towards his grand moment in "The Sound of Drums".
  • Compelling Voice: How he managed to get himself elected Prime Minister.
  • Conqueror from the Future: He puts his own spin on it by conquering humanity using their own descendants. He has to construct a Paradox Machine to stop his army from cancelling itself out.
  • Contrasting Sequel Antagonist: The new series's previous season finales featured the Daleks and the Cybermen, both of which were species of identical cyborgs with almost no emotions or personalities, and both had straightforward plans of outright invading and conquering the Earth. Then came this Master, who was a human-looking individual villain that often acted silly and had plenty of personality, and his plan involved a much more stealthy and subtle infiltration of Earth. (Although, interestingly enough, part of his plan involved using the Toclafane, who were a species of identical cyborgs.)
  • The Cuckoolander Was Right: The Doctor believed his talk of "drumming" was a symptom of insanity — until he heard the drumming in his head for himself.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Can be VERY sarcastic at times.
  • Demoted to Dragon: In the "He will knock four times" arc, after it's revealed that he has been tricked into working for Rassilon.
  • Died in Your Arms Tonight: Lampshaded. "Dying in your arms... happy now?" To no-one's surprise, it didn't stick.
  • Domestic Abuser: Lucy has bruises in "Last of the Time Lords", implying this. Him taking her to the end of the universe to break her spirit strongly implies no small amount of emotional and psychological abuse as well; by the end of the episode, she guns him down with a deadened look on her face, a testament to how much damage the Master had done to her.
  • The Dreaded: The look on the Doctor's face when he finds out who he is says it all.
  • Emperor Scientist: He takes over the world using a low-level brainwashing field and an army he brought from the future, and rules from a flying fortress that he designed himself.
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: In "The Doctor Falls", he is disgusted by Missy's newfound kindness towards the Doctor, so much so that he tries to kill her for good because he can't stand the thought of himself becoming at all sympathetic.
  • Evil Counterpart:
    • He has the Tenth Doctor's youth, off-the-wall energy and love of Earth pop culture — and gears it all towards causing as much misery as possible. He even pinches Four's fondness for jelly babies and Three's red-lined jacket.
    • Additionally, with his bleached-blond hair, scruffy appearance, casual clothing, gaining strange powers that will kill him over time, and being separated from the Doctor through a portal, it's hard to believe that his appearance in "The End of Time" isn't meant to evoke Rose Tyler. We weren't kidding about the Foe Yay.
    • And then, in an unusual twist, ends up being this to Missy, his future self, in "The Doctor Falls".
  • Evil Is Hammy: He's extremely hammy, playing it up as much as he can. Probably best shown when he sings along to a Scissor Sisters song while dancing.
  • Evil Is Petty: Takes time out of world domination to fit in some domestic abuse, casual sexism, racism and homophobia and psychological torture of the Doctor. Hell, he even refuses to regenerate just to spite the Doctor. He goes so far as to shoot his own future self in the back to prevent her from pulling an Enemy Mine with the Doctor against the Cybermen.
  • Evil Laugh: To the point of becoming The Hyena at times.
  • Fake Russian: In-Universe. While posing as Mr. Razor in "World Enough and Time", just to screw around with Bill.
  • Fantastic Racism: He calls Jack and (post-metacrisis) Donna "freaks". He's also very cold towards humans in general, referring to them as "stunted little apes" and the "stupid, stinking human disgrace".
  • Fashionable Asymmetry: His Season 10 Badass Longcoat has some funky-looking lapels.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Simm's Master practically made it an art form. One moment he could be dancing around, listening to something like "Voodoo Child", and the very next moment, go back to the cold-hearted bastard that is the Master. Best seen in his 2017 return, where he kills Missy for good just out of spite, all while pretending to be okay with him dying.
  • Foregone Conclusion:
    • His presence on present-day Earth before the Series 3 finale means Professor Yana will become the Master again, regenerate, and travel back from the end of the universe.
    • We don't see him return for the third and final time until after he's changed into Missy. That guarantees he's going to die when he comes back. We also don't see him regenerate, but we know he will.
  • For the Evulz: Most of his actions are simply because he is a sadistic monster.
  • Friendly Enemy: Averted; while previous incarnations (as long as they weren't stuck in a decaying body) were friendly or showed a desire to reconcile with the Doctor (as long as he joined him), this one has no affection for the Doctor; it's especially heartbreaking during Ten's era since at that point they were the only two Time Lords left, but not even that could mitigate this Master's hatred of his old friend — much to Ten's sorrow. Twelve (who no longer suffers Survivor's Guilt due to the events of "The Day of the Doctor") however, has nothing but contempt for this incarnation, and the feeling is mutual. When Missy decides to stand with the Doctor for friendship's sake, he kills her permanently — that's how much this Master hates the Doctor, he'd put aside his fear of death (every Master's most defining trait) rather than stand with his old friend.
    "I will never stand with the Doctor!"
  • Future Me Scares Me: Simm's Master, upon revealing himself to Missy, states he's worried about his future, seeing her go soft after a Heel–Face Turn.
  • Gas Leak Cover-Up: Officially, Harold Saxon went "mad" and was removed from office. Due to the paradox machine being reversed, only Lucy, the Doctor, Martha's family, Jack, and others on the Valiant remember the events of the Master's year in power.
  • Genius Sweet Tooth: What is it with Time Lords and jelly-babies? (This was intentional — this Master was designed to co-opt many of the Doctor's traits, after all, the better to disturb the Doctor.)
  • Girl-on-Girl Is Hot: He says that his wife and his masseuse "getting to know each other" would be "fun".
  • Glamour Failure: After he comes back wrong, his flesh sometimes disappears for a split-second at a time, exposing a glowing skull.
  • Glorious Leader: Swept into office thanks to a subtle brainwashing signal, at which point he takes over the world.
  • Guyliner: In "The Doctor Falls", he practices putting on eyeliner in preparation for becoming a woman.
  • The Heavy: In "The End of Time". Rassilon is the Big Bad, but it's the Master, as his Unwitting Pawn, who drives the plot until Rassilon's machinations come to fruition.
  • Hidden Depths:
    • Despite his loathing for the Doctor and cruel treatment of him, there are times when the Master seems to recall his onetime fondness for his old friend, although such reflections never manage to overcome his hatred for the Doctor. In "The End of Time", the Master reflects on his childhood alongside the Doctor, somberly reflecting on a time when the two were best friends before mournfully remarking "look at us now", showing a hint of regret over how much their paths had diverged. Later, when the Doctor makes a heartfelt offer to have the Master travel with him throughout the universe, the Master seems almost tempted to accept before carrying on with his plans.
    • In "The Doctor Falls", although he callously shrugs it off afterwards and leaves to save his own skin, the Master's expression and body language show that, despite his claims to the contrary, the Doctor's desperate speech about taking a stand simply to be kind and because it's the right thing to do did strike a chord with him, even if his selfishness and sense of self-preservation ultimately won out.
  • Hidden Villain: For series 3 and in "World Enough and Time", he's using a fake identity and his plans are unknown until the end.
  • Hijacked by Ganon: Returns after an absence of seven years as the Big Bad in Series 10, though the Cybermen are the last ones standing.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Twice. The first time, he's killed by the woman he romanced into being his wife because he thoroughly abused her and completely destroyed her outlook on life. Then he's killed by one of his own incarnations because he's such a raging monster that it disgusts his future self — but not before returning the favour.
  • Horror Hunger: In "The End of Time", he Came Back Wrong and started eating humans.
  • Humanoid Abomination: Upon his resurrection in "The End of Time". His return is even heralded by portentous nightmares that afflict the entire human race.
  • Humans Are Bastards: "The human race. Greatest monsters of them all."
  • Human Sacrifice: He has devoted followers on Earth. They are willing to give their lives to restore his.
  • Immortals Fear Death: At the end of "Last of the Time Lords", the Doctor calls his bluff on destroying the Earth with both of them still on it.
  • Incoming Ham: His intro at the end of "Utopia". Seconds after regenerating, he cheers and dances about the TARDIS.
  • In Love with Your Carnage: He was already obsessed with the Doctor, but he's very intrigued when he learns how the Time War ended. "What did it feel like, though? Two almighty civilizations, burning — ooh, tell me, how did that feel?"
  • Interim Villain: The only non-Dalek Big Bad of the revival's first four years.
  • Internal Homage:
    • As much as this incarnation mirrors the Tenth Doctor — invoked intentionally by the Master, who openly covets Ten's youth — he owes as much to the Third Doctor. Like Three, the Master finds himself stranded on Earth with a non-functional TARDIS. Like Three, he bides his time by tinkering with machines and working alongside Earth governments toward his own stated goal of getting off that rock. (Professor Yana built a rocket, Harold Saxon builds an airship.) He even has red inner lining on his jacket.
    • His appearance in "World Enough and Time" is a homage to the Roger Delgado/"Tremas" incarnations, regrowing the goatee and wearing a long black coat. The colouring scheme is one meant to invoke the Twelfth Doctor's, with dark red lines on the inside of the coat.
  • In the Hood: Wears a hooded sweatshirt for the entirety of "The End of Time", though he only wears the hood over his face twice.
  • Irony: Like his previous incarnation, he complains after having been killed by a woman. Well, not only is his next incarnation a woman, but she is the very same person who stabs him and causes him to regenerate into her.
  • It's All About Me: The reason the Doctor can initially defeat him is because he knows the Master can't destroy the world without killing himself, which is the one thing he can't do. Taken to a new level when he turns the entire human race into copies of himself — and assumes the Doctor's prophecy refers exclusively to him.
    The Master: That's what your prophecy was, Doctor! ME!
  • I Was Beaten by a Girl:
    • Much like his last self. "Always the women."
    • While he never actually says it, it happens again in "The Doctor Falls" — except the woman in question is his own future self this time. It's downplayed, as he actually praises her for the kill.
      The Master: Now that was really, very nicely done. It's good to know I haven't lost my touch.
      Missy: You deserve my best.
  • Jabba Table Manners: While suffering from his Horror Hunger, he eats like a savage animal.
  • Just Between You and Me: Defied. Shortly after regenerating, he notices that he feels tempted to tell the Doctor about his plans, but quickly decides that he should try to keep them to himself for once. True to form, he does play it straight later, taking time to explain his involvement with several of the problems the Doctor has had to deal with throughout Series 3, but only because he thinks he has really won this time.
  • Jerkass: Only the Peter Pratt incarnation is just as nasty.
  • Latex Perfection: His "Mr. Razor" mask. You'll never see it coming.
  • Laughably Evil: Initially, he's hilarious, Joker-style. Look at the hammy way John Simm delivers his lines when he's gassing the Cabinet ministers to death. After the Toclafane appear, though, you just hate him too much to laugh.
  • Leitmotif: Four quarter notes to imitate the drumbeats that drove him mad. The full theme is "The Master Vainglorious", and is about as psychotic and gleefully evil-sounding as you'd expect.
  • Living Forever Is Awesome: He goes to great lengths to preserve his own life, and it's because of this trope that the Doctor called his bluff in series 3.
    "Never dying! Never dying! NEVER DYING!"
  • The Mad Hatter: Although not quite as insane as the Doctor thought — while he remains a homicidal maniac, the drums in his head turn out to have a very tangible origin.
  • Meaningful Name: "Mister Saxon" is an anagram for "Master No. Six", as he is the sixth incarnation of the Master to appear onscreen. Though according to Russell T. Davies this is just a coincidence.
  • My Future Self and Me: The Series 10 two-part finale featured the first ever multi-Master TV story, with Simm's Master meeting his future incarnation, Missy.
  • Narcissist: He has perhaps the most massive ego of all his incarnations thus far, as demonstrated by both his brief conquests of Earth. The first involved literal monuments to his vanity (see below), and as for the second... it's hard to get more narcissistic than turning an entire species into yourself. Nevertheless, he has a good go, being attracted to his future self who happens to be a woman.
  • Nemesis Weapon: He trades in the TCE for a laser screwdriver, just to underline the whole evil counterpart thing. It can kill someone in a single shot, and also happens to be bigger than the Doctor's.
  • New Era Speech: After being elected, ending with the following line:
    "In fact, I'd go so far as to say that what this country really needs — right now — is a Doctor."
  • New Neo City: Henceforth, Earth will be known as New Gallifrey.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Saxon's strained relationship with President Winters — himself an analogue of George W. Bush — brings to mind Tony Blair as seen through a cracked mirror. Trivia: Simm supposedly based his performance on Russell T. Davies himself.
  • No-Nonsense Nemesis: This incarnation is particularly cunning, refusing to give the Doctor any clue about his plans until it's far too late. His methods are also notably efficient and simple: sic the police and MI-5 on the Doctor, arrest Martha's family, and send Torchwood to Nepal. He still falls for the old "keep them around to suffer" bit, but only when there's seemingly nothing they can do.
  • Oh, Crap!: His expression when he finds out Martha and the Doctor's plan. Calling it this would be a colossal understatement.
  • Our Founder: Erects giant statues of himself across Earth during the Year that Never Was (and carves himself into Mount Rushmore, though we only hear about that).
  • Politically Incorrect Villain:
    • During the Year that Never Was, he made Martha's family his servants, started physically abusing Lucy and suggested that she "get to know" one of his masseuses. Not to mention his reaction to spotting Martha and Jack...
      The Master: And look, it's the girly and the freak, although I'm not sure which one's which.
    • Also, his Nazi-esque pun after replacing every human on Earth with an imprint of himself.
      The Master: The human race was always your favourite, Doctor. But now, there is no human race. There is only... the Master race!
    • This continues into his return in "The Doctor Falls"; he keeps making very suggestive remarks to Missy — his future self, no less — and then laments the idea of a future being "all girl". Although unlike his behaviour towards Martha and her family, he does refrain from making any racist remarks about Bill.
  • Pre-emptive Declaration: Why is he wearing a gas mask during a cabinet meeting? Well, obviously, because of the gas.
    Albert: What "gas"?
    The Master: This gas.
  • President Evil: He was Prime Minister Evil during the Year that Never Was, and manages to be President Evil of every country by "The End of Time", in Part One. "I'm president! President of the United States!"
  • Promotion to Opening Titles: Alongside Bernard Cribbins for Ten's final story.
  • Psycho Electro: He somehow gains the ability to shoot lightning during "The End of Time".
  • Psychopathic Manchild: He giggles, makes faces, and dances around the room, all while taking over the world and ordering the annihilation of millions of people. Russell T. Davies, wondering what someone who'd successfully taken over the world would actually do next, concluded they'd act like a teenager in their bedroom, as there wouldn't be anyone who could say "no" to them.
    • In "The Doctor Falls", he's a little less of a manchild and much more suave, though he's still as psychopathic as ever.
  • Punctuated! For! Emphasis!:
  • Rated M for Manly: Arguably the most traditionally "masculine" incarnation of the character to date, particularly in his last two appearances. Ironic given who he turns into...
  • Retcon: The drumbeat having driven him insane his whole life is first mentioned in the revival series. Though it is heavily implied that it is in actuality a Cosmic Retcon, and the drumbeat was an affect of the Time War retroactively altering the Master's timeline.
    • Despite this supposedly being the cause of the Master's madness, it's removed offscreen before "World Enough and Time" to no effect — he's a little less manic, but subsequent incarnation Missy is still "bananas" by her own account.
  • Redemption Equals Death: Didn't see that one coming in "The End of Time", did you? Granted, it's more along the lines of "revenge against the guy who made me crazy", though it can also be seen as paying the Doctor back for sparing/saving his life seconds earlier. It's subsequently subverted, as he survived and remains as sociopathic as ever.
  • Revenge Before Reason: Despite his obsession with his own survival, he'd rather die permanently than reconcile with the Doctor.
  • Revenge Through Corruption: While he didn't exactly cause humanity's corruption into the Toclafane, he defintely uses it to torment the Doctor.
  • Rewarded as a Traitor Deserves: Invoked regarding his short-lived Cabinet, all of whom jumped ship to support him. He "rewards" them with a room's worth of poison gas. The fact that he possibly got them to do this via the same Subliminal Seduction he used on the entire country to get himself elected may make this a particularly nasty Subverted Trope, though.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: When he gets a chance, the Master rages against Rassilon, attacking the Lord President in a fury as vengeance for the drumbeat that has haunted the Master for his entire life. The resulting onslaught was enough to cause Rassilon to regenerate, although the Master seems to have relented eventually, as the Time Lords repaired his unstable body and sent him on his way.
  • Sanity Slippage:
    • Already was extraordinarily crazy, but as of "The End of Time", he goes from "weird sense of humour" insane to "full on, batshit, animal-psyche" insane.
    • Then inverted in "World Enough and Time"/"The Doctor Falls", in which he's still deeply evil but much calmer and more rational than he was in either previous story. The Doctor suggests that the Time Lords fixed the problem that drove him insane in the first place, though it wasn't enough to change his evil nature and they eventually kicked him off Gallifrey (he insists it was mutual).
  • Say My Name: He admits that he loves it when the Doctor uses it.
  • Screw Yourself:
    • Davies got as far as writing Master-on-Master, but the scene didn't make it to the screen.
    • The 2017 finale goes there!
      Saxon: Kiss me.
      Missy: Make me.
    • Also:
      Saxon: By the way, is it wrong that I...
      Missy: [pointedly looking at his crotch] Yes. Very.
  • Sharp-Dressed Man: As "Harold Saxon", at any rate; when he becomes Prime Minister he's perhaps the most conservatively dressed Master in an ordinary black suit. Much less so after his resurrection, when he looks more like a hobo. Come Season 10, he's back to looking classy as hell in a black Badass Longcoat.
  • Shock and Awe: In "The End of Time", as a side effect of his botched resurrection he can shoot lightning from his hands. It drains his life force though, and can't be done for too long without killing him permanently.
  • Slap-Slap-Kiss: Has quite a bit of flirting going on with the Gomez incarnation, in between smacks on the head.
  • Smug Snake: He clearly thinks the world of himself and doesn't think anyone even comes close to his brilliance, which is what lets Martha and the Doctor get the advantage when fighting him.
  • The Sociopath: The most blatantly amoral and sadistic version of the Master outside of the Crispy version (and even that can be disputed). The point is really driven home in "The Doctor Falls" when paired up with Missy, who ends up making a Heel–Face Turn by the end of the episode and kills the Saxon-Master out of disgust.
  • Straw Nihilist: The Master pointedly ended up in the year one hundred trillion, the eve of the universe's collapse. His smug description of humans on their last legs is a good peek into his worldview.
  • Superpower Lottery: He actually got a pretty good deal out of his Came Back Wrong given that he can shoot lightning from his hands.
  • Take Over the World: He succeeds for a year before the Doctor manages to knock him off his throne.
  • Temporal Paradox: Killed by his own future regeneration, who only exists because she killed him.
  • Terrible Ticking: Tappity-tap, tappity-tap, tappity-tap, tappity-tap "Can't you hear it?"
  • Theme Tune Cameo: The nonstop drumming between the Master's ears shares the same rhythm as Ron Grainer's bass beat.
  • Troll:
    • His entire modus operandi is to humiliate and screw with the Doctor as much as possible, and in doing so to have as much fun as he can making everyone around the Doctor as miserable as he can.
    • He trolls Bill for all it's worth as Mr. Razor, pretending to be her friend... who then drags her to be Cyber-converted...
  • The Unfettered: The Evil Counterpart taken Up to Eleven — John Simm shows what the Doctor would be like without any constraints of morality, humanity, or even sanity.
  • Unwitting Pawn: The Madness Mantra (the four drum beats) was actually implanted by the Time Lords as part of their plot to escape the Time War alive. It's implied that this is the only reason the Master became insane, which kind of makes them responsible for quite a lot.
  • Viking Funeral: The Doctor gives him a positively Vader-esque funeral pyre... which doesn't stop one of the Master's cultists fishing his ring out of the ashes.
  • Villainous Breakdown: After the Doctor and Martha reveal their real plan just as he's about to launch his war machines, he starts shouting about how unfair it all is before cowering in a corner as the Doctor forgives him. His next move? Threaten to blow up the entire planet just to spite the Doctor.
  • Villain Song: His first scene in "Last of the Time Lords" has him sing and dance with the Scissor Sisters' "I Can't Decide" as he taunts his prisoners. While it's an already-existing song, the lyrics apply quite well to the situation.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Initially it wasn't clear what caused him to regenerate into Missy after his last appearance fighting Rassilon in "The End of Time". "The Doctor Falls" reveals this, and it has quite the twist: the Time Lords simply repaired his decaying body, gave him a new TARDIS and kicked him off of Gallifrey prior to its supposed destruction at the hands of the War Doctor and the Moment. Eventually finding his way to the Settler Ship, he attempted to conquer it, but the colonists rebelled, setting off a chain of events that led to him being stabbed by his next self, who has become much more empathetic and can no longer bring herself to act like him. This leads to the Master shooting her with his laser screwdriver, supposedly killing her permanently.
  • The Wonka: While acting as Prime Minister, he quotes Little Britain during his speeches and relentlessly takes the mickey out of the US President. Once he drops the pretense, it's more a case of "put up with my antics or be vaporized".
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: This Master is a very unsympathetic example, at least during his encounters with the Tenth Doctor; although the drum beat implanted by Rassilon drove the Master insane long ago, this version is constantly tormented by the noise, driving him even further off the deep end than previous Masters. He's constantly asking other people if they can hear the drumming, wonders aloud if it will stop with his death, and, when the Doctor acknowledges the sound as real and not just a symptom of the Master's madness, the Master is in tears, overcome with emotion that his lifelong torment is real and may have a purpose. By the time of his return in series 10, however, the drum beat has been removed and the Master is more stable than he had previously been, although if anything, even more evil. At the end of the day, this Master is an incredibly broken individual, though he's no less malevolent than any of his previous incarnations.
  • You're Insane!: One of his cabinet members calls him this right before he kills them. His response is a hearty thumbs up.

    Michelle Gomez's Mistress 

The Mistress – "Missy" (Twelfth Doctor)

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/missy.png
"Say something nice."

Played by: Michelle Gomez (2014–2017)

"You know, I... might have been guilty of just a teensy little fibette."

This very manic and teasing incarnation first showed up in "Deep Breath", to welcome the dead to a place she calls "Heaven". Her identity was initially a mystery, and she was referred to as "The Gatekeeper of the Nethersphere" in promotional material.

Aside from being a true sadist, the Mistress is also very flirty and fond of playing little games — dancing around, pretending to be a droid, setting up tea parties for her victims, and so on. She makes no secret of her fondness for the Doctor, calling him her "boyfriend" and openly displaying the Unresolved Sexual Tension aspects of their dynamic. Contrarily to most of the other incarnations, Missy seems to have no desire to kill the Doctor, but instead wishes they would reconcile.


  • Arc Villain: For the Twelfth Doctor, as his most persistent and intimate foe who appears in every season of his tenure. Even though she's not necessarily the driving force, her influence is highly felt — especially in Series 9 where the consequences of putting Clara and the Doctor together rear their tragic head.
  • Affably Evil: Although still insane, she actually acts genuinely friendly and polite when not getting another urge to murder someone for fun, unlike many previous incarnations:
    • Is courteous to the Half-Face Man when she meets him, apologizing for how "mean" her "boyfriend", the Doctor, could be.
    • She tells Doctor Chang that she's going to keep a picture of him looking "so sweet", always, before killing him so he can't get in the way of her Evil Plan. She says that she even "feels a bit emotional" about it afterwards.
    • She encourages Osgood to be more confident in herself in "Death in Heaven", before murdering Osgood for the hell of it.
    • Her entire plan in Series 8 turned out to just be an attempt to repair her friendship with the Doctor, in her own Axe-Crazy way.
    • Tries through most of Series 10 to be on her best behaviour, going so far as to honestly request the "little people" she meets to stay out of her way lest she get an overwhelming urge to murder.
      Missy: Hello, ordinary person. Please maintain a minimum separation of three feet. I'm really trying not to kill anyone today, but it would be tremendously helpful if your major arteries were out of reach.
  • Anti-Villain: It can be hard to tell if she is this or an Anti-Hero for most of series 10. She qualifies as one or the other, finally becoming a clear example of an antihero before her Heel–Face Door-Slam in the final episode. Interestingly, she has some traits of Classical Antiheroes as well, including the cowardice (though ultimately, Simm's Master is suggested to be even more cowardly).
  • Axe-Crazy: She's still just as murderous as her past selves, but this time she is more open about it.
    Osgood: Why would you bother killing me? I'm not even important.
    Missy: Oh silly, why does one bother popping a balloon? Because you're pretty.
  • Bad Boss: Kills Dr. Chang when he is no longer needed, and casually vaporizes Seb after he cheers at the Doctor performing a death-defying stunt.
  • The Bad Guy Wins:
    • In a roundabout sort of way. Missy got the Doctor and Clara together because of their polarizing personalities. It could also be construed as her attempt to fulfill the prophecy of the Hybrid. And though the Doctor and Clara ultimately parted, the Doctor is alone, with no memory of Clara at all. So though Missy failed to bring the Hybrid forth, she did set in motion events that left the Doctor miserable and alone.
    • She also very nearly wins at the end of "Death in Heaven"-her Cyberman army is defeated, but she has so devastated Clara that she is going to kill Missy. And the Doctor is so determined to protect Clara that he's willing to kill Missy so she doesn't. When Missy tells him to say something nice, the Doctor simply says "You win" and Missy says "I know."
  • Best Served Cold: The Doctor has abandoned or imprisoned more than one Time Lady over the years. Her dialogue in "Dark Water" teases at the return of the Rani, Romana, or even Susan Foreman.
  • The Big Damn Kiss: After forty-three years of Foe Yay, she finally gets one with the Doctor. Followed by kissing his nose. Once he realises how thoroughly broken she is, and how desperate she is for his friendship, he very sweetly kisses her back in the next episode.
  • Black Comedy:
    Dr Chang: Are you going to kill me?
    Missy: Now, come on, let's not dwell on horrid things. This is going to be our last conversation, and I'm the one who's going to have to live with that.
  • Blue and Orange Morality: While in general she's completely and vocally evil, her relationship with the Doctor falls under this banner. She considers their endless battles to be indicative of close friendship, and claims their feelings for each other are indescribable in human terms. The (scary) thing is, however badly cracked and warped her outlook is, she's not entirely wrong. The Doctor sent his confession dial to her, after all, and Clara noted that he was too happy to hear she survived.
    • She can be considered a Downplayed Example even after her Character Development; she tends to look at morality from a more utilitarian standpoint than the Doctor. This often leads her to look callous, and it's a reason she's an Anti-Hero, but she's also not presented as a Straw Vulcan. A major theme of series 10 is a contrast between utilitarian ethics, which advocates actions that produce the greatest good for the greatest number of people (meaning that ethics are dependent upon circumstances and outcomes), and deontological ethics, which advocates for inviolable ethical principles regardless of circumstances. Throughout series 10, Missy generally holds to the former, while the Doctor generally holds to the latter. Interestingly, the show itself seems to suggest that one must consider both philosophies to have a balanced ethical viewpoint. One can compare this to Watchmen, another work that explores the same ethical issues and reaches a similar conclusion (in which Veidt represents utilitarianism and Rorschach ultimately represents deontology, though both are particularly dark representations of their respective philosophies).
  • Book-Ends: Her first appearance consists of her dancing and swinging her umbrella around in a lush, bright green garden that has a lot of different-coloured flowers. "The Doctor Falls"'s last shot of Missy is her lifeless body in an overgrown, dark green vine-covered ground with only white flowers.
  • Breaking Speech: Calls the Doctor out on his general motivations at the end of "Death in Heaven".
    Doctor: All of this... All of it, just to give me an army?
    Missy: Well, I don't need one, do I? Armies are for people who think they're right. And nobody thinks they're righter than you! Give a good man firepower, and he'll never run out of people to kill.
  • But for Me, It Was Tuesday: Subverted. Missy thought she'd lived her lives as the Master this way, but when she's in the middle of a Heel–Face Turn, she realizes, tearfully, that she actually did know the names of the many, many people she's killed over the years. As the Master is responsible for the death of a third of the universe, it's understandable she's crying over it.
  • Card-Carrying Villain: Calls herself "Queen of Evil".
  • Catchphrase: "Say something nice" before she kills someone. She also says it before she thinks the Doctor is about to kill her.
  • Character Development: Probably more so than any previous incarnation of the character, Missy changes substantially over her arc on the show. A Driving Question of series 10 is whether she's genuinely trying to reform herself or if it's just another ploy. The finale ultimately suggests the former, though it's unclear if it'll stick after she's zapped with Saxon's laser screwdriver. She shouldn't be able to regenerate from that, but due to the character's Joker Immunity, no one seriously expects her to be Killed Off for Real.
  • The Chessmaster: Came up with a solid plan for the Series 8 finale, and was the architect of the Doctor and Clara's relationship.
  • Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: Out of all the TV incarnations, she's the closest to being on the Doctor's side. At times. It changes. A lot. Especially once she has to choose between the Doctor and her own former self. Taken Up to Eleven in series 10, where she literally backstabs her past incarnation. Partially this is because he finds her to be a case of Future Me Scares Me and she wants to ensure that he becomes her out of spite. It's also partially because of her aforementioned Character Development, though.
  • Clingy Jealous Girl:
    • She's quite offended when the Doctor names Davros rather than her as his greatest foe.
      Missy: Davros is your arch-enemy?? I'll scratch his eye out!
    • Also livid at the suggestion that the Doctor's confession dial, sent to the Doctor's closest friend, is for Clara. Clearly, it's intended for Missy.
  • Complexity Addiction: Her plan to contact Clara in "The Magician's Apprentice" involves stopping Earth's plane traffic, so UNIT would find Clara and play her Missy's message, and then have UNIT transport Clara and a team of their operatives to the Mediterranean where she would find Clara and tell her what she needed to know. It is just that Missy perfectly well knows Clara's exact address, but arranging for UNIT to have a team of snipers on hand when Missy stops by Clara's home to talk to her apparently wasn't grandiose enough for her (as she points out, she knows perfectly well Clara won't talk to her without the snipers).
  • Cradling Your Kill: Creepily true of Harold Saxon, whom she praises and caresses while stabbing him in the back. And then graciously helps him to the elevator, with assurances that he'll make it back to his TARDIS before he regenerates into her.
  • Depraved Bisexual: Kisses the Doctor after all their years of Foe Romance Subtext, and was more than happy to offer Clara the same make-out session (Clara refused). It should be noted that Word of God (from various lead writers) states that Gallifreyans don't really factor gender into attraction, so this is a race trait, not a character trait. The "depraved" part is all her, though.
  • Dies Wide Open: She's left lying in a holographic forest, eyes open and motionless, after the Laser Screwdriver seemingly sapped away all her life and took away any hope of regenerating.
  • Disintegrator Ray: Rather than a TCE or a laser screwdriver, she carries a customised PDA/smartphone with a disintegrator ray built in.
  • The Dreaded: The usually calm and collected Twelfth Doctor becomes increasingly terrified of her as he begins to realize her identity. By the end of "Dark Water", he's running through the streets screaming for people to get away after seeing her Cyber-army. She also deliberately invokes this trope when giving Osgood a countdown to her death.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Missy saves the Doctor from being drained by Davros and the Daleks. And then, just for the lulz, pokes Davros in the eye...
  • Evil Counterpart: To the Doctor, of course, with her dark clothing and her Scottish accent; also a bit to Clara, whom Missy herself decided was the Doctor's ideal companion. "Bubbly personality masking bossy control freak" -> "A calculating mass-murderer pretending to be Mary Poppins."
  • Evil Is Petty:
    • She uses every human death in history to create an army of Cybermen. Not to conquer the universe, but simply to prove to the Doctor that they're Not So Different.
    • When Clara questions whether Missy's pretending to have done a Heel–Face Turn, Missy begins killing nearby UNIT soldiers, just to prove she's still evil. She even takes delight in telling Clara that one of them was a new father.
  • Evil Plan: Makes a digital version of Heaven using Gallifreyan Matrix technology, to cull experience from humans who recently died, which she then uploads into Cybermen made from their corpses to make a world conquering army..which she plans to give to the Doctor, to prove they're Not So Different.
  • Foe Romance Subtext:
    • Calls the Doctor her "boyfriend" when the Half-Face Man meets her. It turns out to be an actual Villainous Crush by the time they meet.
      Missy: Hello! I'm Missy. You made it. I hope my boyfriend wasn't too mean to you.
      Half-Face Man: Boyfriend?
    • The Doctor/Master relationship is pushed even more as Missy actually receives the Doctor's "last will" meant for his oldest friend.
    • Though in the same episode, Missy herself defies this trope by claiming (possibly untruthfully) that Time Lord friendships are a lot deeper than human ones and if Clara or anyone else reads romantic subtext into her interactions with the Doctor, it's just because our primitive monkey brains are obsessed with sexinvoked.
  • Foil: The Doctor said that his meet up with Clara in "Deep Breath" was orchestrated by a "controlling, needy game-player", but he was referring to Clara. It was actually set up by Missy.
  • For the Evulz:
    • Orders the Cybermen to kill some Belgians, just because they can... and because Belgian is not French.
    • Also vaporizes a couple of UNIT soldiers for no reason other than to prove to Clara that she's still evil.
    • The Doctor and Ashildr speculate that she united Clara and the Doctor together just to see what chaos would result from their initially clashing personalities. Moreover, the Doctor and Clara becoming more and more similar to each other ends up causing even more trouble, ultimately temporarily turning the Doctor into a Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds who risks the universe to bring Clara back from the grave, the kind of act Missy could get behind!
  • Friendly Enemy: She's quite friendly to the Doctor, mainly because she wants to be friends again.
  • Fun with Acronyms: While pretending to be a robot, she claims her name is M.I.S.I., Mobile Intelligence Systems Interface.
  • Gender Bender: Regenerated with a female body this time around, and very happily presents and identifies as female. Her puffy sleeves are a genderbent homage to Ainley's first outfit.
    • The "Harold Saxon" Master calls her "lady version" when they meet.
  • A God Am I: She put herself in charge of her own little heaven and (using Gallifreyan Matrix technology) had complete control over the souls and bodies of the deceased all throughout human history, as long as humans have had the concept of an afterlife, making her a bona fide Angel of Death.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: Long before she made her presence known to the audience, she had already had an influence in the Doctor's life, being the one responsible for introducing Clara to the Eleventh Doctor.
  • Heaven: She claims her "Nethersphere" is this in Series 8. In truth, she's using Time Lord technology to capture the minds of the dead and remove their emotions, then re-download them into their Cyber-converted bodies, creating her own personal army of Cybermen. The Doctor theorises that she's been doing this for such a long period of human history, the entire concept of the afterlife is based around her.
  • Heel–Face Revolving Door: She goes from helping the Doctor or Clara to hindering them several times over the course of "The Magician's Apprentice"/"The Witch's Familiar".
  • Heel–Face Turn:
    • Defied in "The Magician's Apprentice"; when Clara asks if her offering help means she's "turning good", Missy vaporizes a couple of UNIT soldiers to prove she's still evil.
    • Series 10 showed that she is now sincerely trying to do this, with the Doctor's help. The process is...slow going.
    • "The Doctor Falls" fully confirms Missy has legitimately turned over a new leaf, going so far as to kill her previous Simm incarnation when he refuses to help the Doctor. Thus far, she is the only incarnation of the Master to go this far. Pity she was killed off by her predecessor shortly after, which almost certainly means s/he won't stay good the next time the Master shows up.
  • Heel–Face Door-Slam: Just when she's on the verge of truly siding with the Doctor, her own past self shoots her in the back.
  • Hidden Agenda Villain: We as the audience meet Missy in "Deep Breath", but it's unclear what exactly she's up to.
  • Hoist by Her Own Petard:
    • Bringing back all the Earth's dead, with Cyber-weaponry, and their own minds restored into their bodies, and then attempting to murder Kate Lethbridge-Stewart... leads to her being defeated by one very determined Cyberconverted Brigadier.
    • Telling the Simm Master that, after mortally wounding him, she's going to join the Doctor in a futile fight, leads the Master to kill her to prevent it.
  • Icy Blue Eyes: Her gaze matches that of the Twelfth Doctor's.
  • I Hate Past Me: Literally, fatally stabs him in the back — to make him turn into her. On the other hand, she takes the time to mention how much she loved being him and how she'll always miss how intensely he felt everything.
  • I Just Want to Have Friends: Well, one, at least. For all the Foe Yay and stalker-like facets to her character, all she really wants is her old friend back. All the psychotically flirty behavior is just the Master, well, being the Master.
  • Internal Homage:
    • Her relations with the Doctor hearken back to the first incarnation of the Master ever introduced, Roger Delgado, and his dynamic with Jon Pertwee's Third Doctor. UNIT shows up soon afterwards, led by the Brigadier's daughter, resulting in a full circle recreation of the era of Doctor Who that Peter Capaldi knew best.
    • Her series 10 arc also could be considered an example either of an internal homage to a case of What Could Have Been or of a Mythology Gag. The writers apparently originally planned to have Roger Delgado's Master undergo a Heel–Face Turn before dying, but Delgado's Actor Existence Failure resulted in the abandonment of this plot line. Missy undergoes a Heel–Face Turn in series 10 that is ultimately revealed to be entirely genuine. However, she appears to be killed at the end of "The Doctor Falls". The question isn't whether she'll survive — presumably every Doctor Who fan knows that the Master has Joker Immunity — but whether the Heel–Face Turn will stick in the character's next incarnation.
  • Irony: The last two incarnations complained about meeting their ends by the hands of a woman. Now the Master is a woman. To her credit, she completely rolls with it, and delights in being girly. And becomes the one to stab the Simm incarnation, ultimately triggering his regeneration into her. There's an added layer of irony here since the Simm incarnation, too, ultimately meets his end at the hands of a woman.
  • Karma Houdini: Despite having cold-bloodedly murdered several UNIT agents right in front of her, Clara not only agrees to work with Missy on finding the Doctor, she insists that Missy accompany her when the Doctor is about to be transported away. At no point is it ever mentioned again about Missy killing the agents (one of whom is described as a father). There is also no follow-up to the fact that she killed one of the Osgoods, either. Granted, her last scene in that episode was being surrounded by Daleks but her last words were "I've got a great idea", presumably to escape.
    • Subverted in series 10. She is sentenced to death, but the Doctor ultimately rescues and imprisons her, and makes her freedom contingent upon her reforming herself. Most of the series' arc is about her attempts to do this, with a major Driving Question being whether they are genuine. It's immediately clear that this is a painful and difficult process, and the series finale ultimately indicates that she actually has changed. Ultimately, one can draw parallels to the real-life debate over whether criminals should receive rehabilitation or punishment, and whether one considers her a Karma Houdini in this series will probably depend largely upon one's stance on this issue.
  • Karmic Transformation: Subverted. Her last two incarnations were blatantly sexist, but if she had any problems with her new incarnation, she's gotten over it by the time we see her. Which is exasperating for her when she meets her previous self and he's as sexist as ever, twisting the trope from subverted back to karmic as she becomes the one to murder her previous self in the first place.
  • Kill the Cutie: Missy murders Osgood (whether that Osgood was human or Zygon is a mystery for the ages), taunting her with the knowledge that she's going to kill her before doing so. And then crumples her glasses under her boot heel.
  • Kiss of Death: Puckers her lips and blows kisses before killing each of her victims. She does this with almost every kill, even applying lipstick in the case of Osgood and her guards.
    Missy: Thanks for being yummy.
  • Large Ham: Roger Delgado was a bit eccentric, Anthony Ainley swings between the lines of Arch-Enemy and affably evil, John Simm was just mad... but Missy? There is nowhere big enough in the entire universe to host this woman's ego, especially when she carries on her traditional psychotic tendencies with a wicked sense of cruelty in her veins. Such as smooching at her subordinate as she disintegrates him, for example.
  • Laughably Evil: She delights in her own absurdity, playing it up even after she murders people just for the hell of it.
  • Left for Dead: Accuses the Doctor of doing this to her after she was flung into Gallifrey on the final day of the Time War.
  • Lotus-Eater Machine: Places people who die into a digitized version of a modern urban city.
  • The Mad Hatter: Responds to people expressing bemusement at her actions by pointing out that she's "bananas". And she really is — absolutely, completely insane.
  • Meaningful Echo: Simm's Master muttered "I win", right before he crushed the Doctor's yearning to rejoin his people by killing himself. The Doctor's parting line as he resignedly points a disintegrator at Missy? "You win." (And just like last time, with her death goes the Doctor's one shot at finding Gallifrey.)
  • Mutual Kill: She stabs her past self, the injury that led to him regenerating into her in the first place. He returns the favour by shooting her in the back.
  • Never Found the Body: As per usual; appears to get vaporized by the Brigadier near the end of Series 8's "Death in Heaven", only to return in Series 9.
    Missy: Death is for other people, dear.
    • Lampshaded in "The Magician's Apprentice":
      Missy: Okay, cutting to the chase: not dead, back, big surprise, never mind.
  • Not Quite Dead: Despite the Master being in a rapidly deteriorating body and fighting with Rassilon, the Time Lord President, back in Series 4, Missy turns up alive and perfectly healthy in Series 8. (As per usual for her.)
    Missy: Death is for other people, dear.
  • Not So Different: Her plan in Series 8 is to give the Doctor ultimate power, so he'll see that she's not really any worse than him and stop hating her.
    The Doctor: Why are you doing this!?
    Missy: I need you to know we're not so different! I need my friend back~!
    • Ashildr theorizes that this desperation to make him realize this may also be behind Missy bringing the Doctor and Clara together. Their initially clashing personalities eventually grow so similar that the Doctor cannot contemplate life without Clara, and when she dies in a horrible Senseless Sacrifice he undergoes a Protagonist Journey to Villain in which he gives up his principles and almost destroys the universe to bring her back from the grave — and thus, like Missy, creates mayhem to reclaim someone he loves. But he recrosses the Despair Event Horizon and proves himself the better man once more, though it comes at a great personal cost.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business:
    • Missy, and by extension the other Masters, are usually calm and collected. When she finds out she's on a rebuilt Skaro, she freaks out. We have never seen the Master scared before. It makes sense if you remember she was once executed on Skaro.
    • Missy also nearly breaks down at explaining why she remade the Cyberman army on Earth: she missed her friend, and wanted him back.
    • Missy finds herself horrified at all the damage she's wrought over the years, weeping and remembering the names of those she's killed. A previous incarnation accidentally killed a third of the universe, and barely batted an eye.
  • Our Liches Are Different: Her character draws on aspects of this trope, from her Not Quite Dead nature to raising an army from the dead.
  • Perky Goth: She combines classic, Edwardian clothes with spikey bracelets and copious amounts of eyeliner, and she's very, very bouncy.
  • Polite Villains, Rude Heroes: An affable woman who encouraged someone to be more confident in herself before violently killing her versus a snarky man who bad-mouths everyone while saving all of humanity.
  • Psychopomp: Presents herself as the "gatekeeper of the nethersphere" through Series 8 and greets the newly dead.
  • Redemption Equals Death: Subverted. While she fully intended to redeem herself, she's killed when she commits to it, not when she's able to fulfill her good intentions. Both she and the Saxon Master find this hilarious.
  • Relationship Upgrade: They're still arch-enemies, but in "Death in Heaven", they have a long-overdue talk about how much they need each other — including the Doctor getting down on his knees to softly kiss her.
  • The Reveal: Drops a bombshell on the Doctor in "Dark Water", when she gets frustrated at his inability/refusal to figure out that she's the latest incarnation of the Master.
    Missy: It's short for Mistress. Well... I couldn't well keep calling myself "The Master" now, could I?
  • Samus Is a Girl: A variant in that we know her gender before the big reveal about who she really is.
  • Self-Serving Memory: Claims the Doctor "abandoned" her, when in fact her previous incarnation threw himself into the fight to have his revenge on Rassilon. This might possibly be a reference to Eleven's decision not to release the Time Lords back into the main universe in "The Time of the Doctor". Turns out that she killed her previous self — and since Time Lords can't retain memories of meeting future incarnations, she simply misremembered events.
  • Shipper on Deck: Zigzags between affirming and averting. In "The Magician's Apprentice" she goes out of her way to try and downplay Clara as being anything more than the Doctor's latest "puppy", yet a major arc related to her character involves her having brought the Doctor and Clara together. In "Hell Bent", Ashildr refers to Missy as "a matchmaker" in this context, though her full rationale for doing this has yet to be explained in detail.
  • Shout-Out: She sings "Mickey" (substituting her own name) and floats in on an umbrella towards the end of "Death in Heaven". In "The Magician's Apprentice", she initially contacts UNIT via their "Doctor channel", texting them her rewritten version of "Mickey".
  • Slasher Smile: She gives Osgood a magnificent one before killing her.
  • Sobriquet Sex Switch: From "the Master" to "Missy", short for "the Mistress".
  • Stalker with a Crush:
    • She spends the majority of Series 8 tracking the Doctor's movements. She even goes out of her way to meet with most of the people who died in his recent adventures to ask about him.
    • Appears to be a little bit of this regarding Clara, too, such as at the end of "Flatline".
  • Third Law of Gender Bending: She fully embraces female clothes and makeup, and switches titles to Mistress and Time Lady ("I'm old-fashioned").
  • Troll:
    • Seems to be this incarnation's most defining trait. She loves messing with people, pretends to be a droid and even improvises a mnemonic acronym to go with her name, just for the hell of it. This gets decidedly unfunny when she murders Osgood just because the Doctor likes her, and tells him the coordinates for where Gallifrey used to be, convincing him it reemerged from the pocket universe. In all fairness, it did... almost at the end of time itself. She didn't mention that part.
    • And in "The Witch's Familiar", Missy almost tricks the Doctor into killing Clara, currently trapped inside a Dalek, in another decidedly unfunny moment.
  • Uncertain Doom:
    • She was allegedly vaporized by the Cyberized Brigadier in the Series 8 finale. It of course doesn't stick, and she's back again in Series 9.
    • She appears to have been Killed Off for Real in "The Doctor Falls". Right after luring her former self into an embrace to skewer him with a blade hidden in her umbrella, he retaliates by frying her with a full blast from the Laser Screwdriver, enough to disable her ability to regenerate — which was designed for use against the Doctor. She drops dead not long afterward. But just like all those other times the Master/Missy has pulled a Houdini on death, don't count on it to stick.
  • Unexplained Recovery: When Missy returns after being left on Skaro surrounded by Daleks.
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: The Master's regeneration into a female doesn't seem to turn any heads at UNIT. Osgood had already surmised Missy's identity before the Doctor even mentioned it.
  • Villain Ball: Even after acknowledging that Osgood being alive is more advantageous, she still kills Osgood, remarking that she (Missy) is "Bananas".
  • Villain Decay: Even though she keeps reminding that she's not good, she appears as a minor nuisance in Series 9's two-part opener; it remains to be seen what happened when she found out that the Doctor and Clara were separated for good and he lost his memories of why he loved her, which spoiled all the fun of Missy's plan to make him miserable (and more like her) by teaming them up!
  • Villainous Cheekbones: Apparently, Michelle Gomez herself used them as a selling point.
  • Villainous Crush: Makes out with the Doctor when they first encounter each other in their new forms, and continuously flirts with him while enacting her latest Evil Plan.
    Missy: You know who I am. I told you. You felt it. Surely you did.
    The Doctor: Two hearts!
    Missy: And both of them yours.
  • Villains Act, Heroes React: She's the one who gave Clara the Doctor's telephone number ("the control freak and the man who should never be controlled"), left an ad in the paper in "Deep Breath", made the Nethersphere in Series 8, and unleashed an army of Cybermen in "Dark Water"/"Death in Heaven".
    Missy: Clara. My Clara. I have chosen well.
  • Violent Glaswegian: Is played by a English-Glaswegian woman this time, and is still as kill-happy as ever.
  • Walking Spoiler: Learning her full nickname, "The Mistress", gives away that she's the latest incarnation of the Master, and that at least one of the Time Lords has left the pocket universe the Doctor used to save them back in Series 7. It's also almost impossible to discuss anything about series 10 without mentioning her apparent Heel–Face Turn.
  • We Used to Be Friends: Her overall plan in series 8 is that she wants to be friends with the Doctor again, like they used to be. The problem is that she's so caught up in her previous selves' ways, and is so mentally broken from the events they endured, she doesn't know how to do so beyond dragging the Doctor down to her own level. Series 10 sees her willing to try changing herself instead, with copious amounts of help from the Doctor himself. It's slow going but the desire is there, and the Doctor wants his friend back just as much as she does.
  • Woman Of Wealth And Taste: She dresses in fancy, Edwardian-style clothes.
  • Women Are Wiser: She's willing to put aside her endless conflict with the Doctor and reconcile.
  • Would Hurt a Child: In "The Lie of the Land", she claims to have once pushed a little girl into a volcano.
  • Xanatos Gambit: At the end of the day, her series 8 plan would have ended in her victory. Either the Doctor takes control of her army and conquers the universe, as she wanted, or the Cyber-rain wipes out humanity and she keeps an even bigger army.
  • Yandere:
    • More overtly so than previous incarnations: She loves the Doctor, but also kind of wants to kill him and all his friends.
      Missy: Oh, 'Clara, Clara, Clara'! You know, I should shoot you in a jealous rage. Now wouldn't that be sexy?
    • You can see the flare of jealousy in Missy's eyes when the Doctor offers Osgood a seat in the TARDIS; her number was up from that point on.
    • She's equally put out when the Doctor calls Davros his greatest enemy instead of her.
  • Yank the Dog's Chain: Telling the Doctor Gallifrey's location... where it's definitely not at the moment.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Kills Dr. Chang when she finally activates the Cyberman army he inadvertently helped her create.

Tropes associated with the New Adventures continuity

    The New Adventures Master 

The "Tzen" Master (Seventh Doctor)

The Master was given a new regeneration cycle by the Tzun, which allowed him to regenerate after being shot by revengeful Ace.

Tropes associated with Doctor Who Magazine

    The Doctor Who Magazine Master 

The "Deathworm Morphant" Master (Eighth Doctor)

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/master_2549.png
This Master was one of the most coolly manipulative and patient versions seen so far, simultaneously juggling a grand plan to achieve divine power with a pettier plan to morally humiliate the Doctor and turn his favourite species into the kind of culture he's spent his life fighting. Was granted the body of an old, balding human vagrant, which he suspects was a kind of punishment.
  • Bad Habits: First appears posing as a street preacher in twenty-first-century South London, and his later plan to corrupt Earth involves setting up his own religion.
  • The Chessmaster: Of all the versions of the Master, probably the one who is best at long-term planning.
  • Cosmic Keystone: What he's trying to get control of, the Glory.
  • Decoy Protagonist: It turns out that the conflict between him and the Doctor was just a sideshow, and the real Good and Evil contenders for the Cosmic Keystone were the Doctor's companion Kroton and the Master's chief minion Katsura Sato.
  • First Law of Resurrection: What his explanation of how he survived the end of the TV Movie boils down to.
  • A God Am I: What he hopes for.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Manipulated the whole human race into villainy, and the Doctor into self-doubt.
  • Not So Different: His plan revolves around destroying the Doctor's moral authority by setting up situations where his flaws will damage people he interacts with.
  • Path of Inspiration: Sets one up to corrupt the human race into Suicide Attack-ing Omnicidal Maniacs.
  • Race Lift: This version of the Master happens to be black in human ethnic terms, although little is made of it. This is due to his mind being placed in the body of a human vagrant.

Tropes associated with the Big Finish continuity

    Anthony Ainley's Master 

The "Tremas" Master (Fifth & Sixth Doctors)

Voiced by: Chris Finney (2015)

Despite Anthony Ainley passing away before Big Finish started their Doctor Who audios, his incarnation of the Master has managed to find his way into their audios, either by remaining as a background threat in Circular Time: Winter, by having his part in narration during Destiny of the Doctors: Smoke and Mirrors, or by having him use an avatar in the Reality nexus during The Sixth Doctor: The Last Adventure — The End of the Line.


  • The Nth Doctor: Due to Ainley's passing in 2004, another actor does the Master's voice. The reason given in-universe is that the Master is using an avatar in a simulation.

    Geoffrey Beevers' Master 

The "Decayed" Master (Fourth, Sixth & Seventh Doctors)

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/the_master_light_at_the_end.JPG
Voiced by: Geoffrey Beevers (2001, 2003, 2012–Present), Alex Macqueennote  (2016)

The Big Finish continuity has more or less solidified the Geoffrey Beevers Master as a default form of sorts for the Master, that he occasionally and always unwillingly reverts back to whenever one of his misbegotten bodies are taken from him for one reason or the other. Depending on where in the timeline a story is set, he is either still cooling his heels after confronting the Doctor in "The Deadly Assassin", having been forced out of his Tremas body after having messed with the wrong Eldritch Abomination off-screen, or having lost his Bruce body after having made his escape from the Eye of Harmony following the events of the TV Movie.

Being Out of Regenerations, stuck in the decaying remains of his last incarnation, and kept alive only by his will and burning hatred, this Master is often searching for a way to restore his Time Lord body, and shows a capacity to be notably more vicious and destructive than any other of his incarnations. Being faced with his own mortality also gives him plenty of poetic and calm moments.


  • Applied Phlebotinum: "Trail of the White Worm" offers an explanation for the difference in appearance between the rotten and skeletal Pratt-Master and the comparably less decayed Beevers-Master despite them being the same form of the Master; the Master managed to harvest a bit energy from the Eye of Harmony in "The Deadly Assassin". Though it was not enough to completely restore himself, it was still enough to partially reverse his deformity.
  • Axe-Crazy: "The Two Masters" has him just after getting burnt to a crisp, and he's unbelievably unhinged, even by his low standards. One of the Cult of the Heretic notes the damage isn't just to his appearance, his brain's taken a hit as well, which might have something to do with it.
  • Cool Mask: A gold one with facial markings made of jewels, to hide his appearance from the populace on the planet he was on.
  • Cloning Blues: In "The Oseidon Adventure".
  • Evil Cripple: Several of the stories featuring this Master make reference to the constant agony he feels in this state, driving him to commit greater atrocities as he tries to find a way to restore himself to a form of health.
  • For the Evulz: In the "Short Trips" audio play "I Am the Master", the Beevers-Master muses on how much more fun and faster it is to destroy something than to create it. For an example, he tells the story of how he spent about a century single-handedly twisting the values of an eco-conscious interplanetary civilization until its actions drove most of the native species on its home planet extinct, subjected the cattle that provided their main meat supply to hellish underground pens, and ruined the entire society's quality of life and morality, making it possible for him to become the brutal ruler of a slowly and painfully dying empire. Why? For the "challenge".
  • Kick the Dog: While the Master has always had a tendency to wantonly kill innocents who got in his way for little to no reason, this version seems to do it especially frequently, purely as a way to let off steam about his condition.
    "There are few things more satisfying than taking the life of an innocent. If not victory, then REVENGE!"
  • Real Life Writes the Plot: Geoffrey Beevers is the only surviving actor to play the Master in the original run of the television seriesnote , and hence has become the "regular" Master for the Fourth Doctor Adventures and many other appearances in spite of only playing the role for a single television serial.
  • Loss of Identity: In the audio "Master".
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: His acting much more campier and Faux Affably Evil in the first half of "The Two Masters" should be a hint something's not right. Because there's a "Freaky Friday" Flip going on, and the Macqueen Master is stuck in his past self's body.
  • Other Me Annoys Me: His team-up with the Macqueen Master was already off to a bad start with his future self being responsible for his "condition", but spending time together makes it worse. Crispy considers his future self a blithering idiot more fond of making stupid puns than just killing everyone everywhere.
  • Significant Anagram: Why of course. At one point hid himself as an aristocrat named Mr. Seta.
  • Stable Time Loop: In "The Two Masters", his existence as the "Burnt Master" seems to be a result of this. The Macqueen Master travels back in time to his arrival on Terserus, traps him in an energy net and severely burns him as part of a plan to fake his death. The Macqueen Master of course only did this because he knows it happened to him in his own past.
  • The Fourth Wall Will Not Protect You: In "I Am the Master", the Beevers Master tells you, the listener, that he's perfected the art of planting "earworms" so much he can actually get someone who hears a recording of his voice to teleport to him across space and time. It's still very unlikely it will happen, of course, but who knows, maybe while listening to "I Am The Master" you'll, as the Beevers Master puts it, "win the lottery".
  • Tomato in the Mirror: In "Master". It's a Foregone Conclusion from the start, and the episode isn't so much about The Reveal as it is about its consequences.

    Alex Macqueen's Master 

The "Bald" Master (Fifth, Seventh & Eighth Doctors)

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/macqueen_master_1444.jpg
"Please, please! I'm only your humble Master."
Voiced by: Alex Macqueen (2012, 2014–2016), Geoffrey Beeversnote  (2016)

"Shut up or I'll kill you! In fact... yes. I think I'll kill you anyway."

A very Affably Evil incarnation, rescued by the Time Lords from his "predicament" and granted a new Time Lord body. He's a Wicked Cultured Sharp-Dressed Man who yearns for the Doctor's attention. Having a brand new regeneration cycle, this Master is no longer haunted by the fear of death, and as such he shows a greater willingness to attempt especially dangerous and audacious schemes, and has no problems with getting up close and personal with the people he's manipulating.


  • Actually Pretty Funny: How he reacts to the Eighth Doctor's barbs. This seems to piss Eight off even more.
  • Affably Evil: To the point that he has to dial it back when impersonating the Doctor.
  • Assimilation Plot: Something this Master strives to accomplish. He rather likes the idea of having an army, but he doesn't enjoy the prospects of building one up himself.
  • Bad Boss: He has no compunctions towards demeaning, mind controlling or even killing subordinates who catch him the wrong way, sparing only death from the most important ones to his plan until they're no longer of importance. He just sees them as his possessions, not people. Liv Chenka points out to the Master's latest Dragon, Sally Armstrong, that he would think little of disposing of her when she's outlived her usefulness.
    • To be fair, he has his moments where he's almost a Benevolent Boss, praising hard work and good results, and he seemed genuinely fond of Sally Armstrong, even claiming to Eight in private that Sally was brilliant enough she could fly his TARDIS on her own. These moments are few and sandwiched very deeply between his Bad Boss moments though. Even his actions towards taking revenge on Sally's murderer are closer to someone killing someone for destroying a possession than taking revenge for a loved one. To be fair, he did give her death some respect, however brief.
    • Played straight in "UNIT: Dominion". He's shocked that his henchmen aren't okay with the idea of their loved ones dying as part of his schemes.
  • Bald of Evil: UNIT just calls him the bald one.
  • Big Bad: Of "Dark Eyes 3", and "UNIT: Dominion".
  • Boxed Crook: In "Eyes of the Master", the Master claims the Time Lords resurrected him to help them against the Daleks. Suffice to say, things go progressively, horribly wrong from there.
  • Camp: He's even more theatrical and "look-at-me"-ish than Six. The Seventh Doctor mentions to his companion if he's ever found shouting "Later!", to shoot him between the eyes.
  • Catchphrase: "Hello, you!"
  • The Chessmaster: A fan of setting up dominos and then watching them fall.
  • Cold Reading: Revisiting UNIT: Dominion reveals he's excellent at this.
  • The Corrupter: Though the other Masters weren't above using hypnosis or bribery to get others on their side, this Master practically revels in it. People, events, populations and timelines, he will stick his hands in and work it to his own advantage.
  • Creative Sterility: Is accused of this by the Eighth Doctor in "Masterplan"; it inspires the Master to make a new plan on the spot in the ruins of his old one.
  • Enemy Mine: Teams up with the Eminence and the Dalek Time Controller to try and rule the cosmos together (before he deposes them anyways), which the Doctor points out are rather insane ideas on all counts. Though the plans go exceedingly well in the execution, they inevitably and dramatically backfire on him. Surprisingly, he manages to get the better of the Dalek Time Controller, but was so focused on doing so that the Doctor manages to completely blindside him without even trying.
  • Eye Scream: In order to track down Molly O'Sullivan and her dark eyes, he spends some time posing as an optometrist. It goes exactly like you'd expect.
  • Faux Affably Evil:
    • In "UNIT: Dominion", his cheery disposition doesn't drop even slightly after he reveals himself to be the Master. He just gets hammier.
    • During "The Two Masters", with such delights as mockingly claiming the Tissue Compression Eliminator is malfunctioning as he slaughters his way through some Rocketmen.
  • Foil: For Eight. His fancy dress and Bald of Evil contrast the more rugged look Eight sports in the "Dark Eyes" series (and even if he's gotten a hair cut, he still has hair, something he pithily comments on). And Macqueen's Master is outwardly Keet and cheery while cruel and disloyal at heart, in contrast to Eight who is much more cynical and jaded in his exterior, but still retains his wanderlust and Romanticism at his core.
  • Future Me Scares Me: Invoked when he pretends to be a future regeneration of the Doctor.
    • The Fog of Ages: Invoked in the same story, as an excuse for why he supposedly can't remember a lot of important things.
  • I Hate Past Me: In "The Two Masters" he is extremely unhappy with the fact that, of all his incarnations, he had to end up with the Burned Master as his partner, as he considers him a "kill joy" with no sense of humour or fun.
  • Incredibly Lame Pun: He likes cracking them as he horribly murders people.
  • It's All About Me: Already a problem with the Master to begin with, but he's willing to try and kill his past self because, hey, those losers aren't him. If they don't have the stuff to last, they deserve to die.
  • Keet: In "UNIT: Dominion", he's excitable, enthusiastic and, most importantly, loud.
  • Kick the Dog: During "The Two Masters", he kills a young woman the Doctor's just taken along for no real reason beyond finding her annoying.
  • Large Ham: After his incredibly hammy turn in his debut "UNIT: Dominion", the Master is notably more restrained in "Dark Eyes 2".
  • Let's Get Dangerous!: Though the Master was never one to stand on the lines of safety, this Master seems particularly more willing to go into obscenely dangerous territory. This includes making deals with the Eminence and the Daleks for universal domination, not to mention his actions in "UNIT: Dominion". It may help that, unlike his earlier incarnations, he doesn't have any particular issues regarding his body's physical state nor his future reincarnations to worry about. Unfortunately for him, these events keep blowing up in his face, and yet he still finds ways to top himself in scale.
  • Louis Cypher: Posing as a "Dr. Harcourt De'Ath" may have been a bit overdramatic.
  • Morally Ambiguous Doctorate: Adopts the disguise of a doctor in "Dark Eyes 2". And no, he's not a benign one.
  • Nothing Personal: Says this to his Geoffrey Beevers incarnation when he realizes that he himself was the reason he turned into the Burned Master in the first place.
  • Not So Different: From Seven. Played entirely for horror once it's revealed to what extent this trope is in effect. This is in direct contrast to his relationship with Eight.
  • Other Me Annoys Me: During his team-up with the Beevers Master, regarding him as a psychotic, grumpy killjoy who won't let him have any fun, stealing kills before he can even crack off a pun.
  • Sharp-Dressed Man: This incarnation combines a simple, classic suit with a velvet jacket, and prides himself on his fashion sense.
  • Shout-Out to Shakespeare: In "Eyes of the Master" he seems fond of this.
  • The Starscream: If it was ever in doubt, never trust a deal with the Master to go well for you. No matter how aware you are of the coming betrayal, he will make it happen and he will make it work.
  • The Unfettered: While all the Master's incarnations are quite disrespectful in their attitude towards the workings and laws of time travel, he is perhaps the most brazen and blatant about it of them all. He will gleefully cross his own timeline several times to carry out his plans without any concern for the paradoxes or personal dangers involved in doing so. He has, for instance, no problems with attempting to kill the Seventh Doctor after already coming off of a fight with the Eighth Doctor.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: It's never mentioned what happened to Chancellor Goth's TARDIS in "UNIT: Dominion".
  • Wicked Cultured: Oh yes.

    Eric Roberts' Master 

The "Deathworm Morphant" Master

Voiced by: Geoffrey Beevers (2013), Yee Jee Tsonote  (2013), Eric Roberts (2019)

Following the events of the TV Movie, the Master was once again left in a severely weakened state, being trapped as an insubstantial gaseous form inside the Eye of Harmony in the Doctor's TARDIS. He eventually managed to stage his escape, landing on Earth with no TARDIS and forced to possess the body of several humans through time while looking for a way to restore his Time Lord body and in general keeping a low profile to keep the Doctor from discovering him.


  • Becoming the Mask: He tried hard to defy this during the time he was forced to live by possessing humans, as he noticed he would invariably take on minor personality traits and quirks from the people whose bodies he possessed. As a result, he started to fear that his "essence" would eventually become too diluted if he were to Body Surf too frequently, so he began to go to great pains to make sure the bodies lasted as long as possible and stuck to only possessing members of the same bloodline. He would later admit that as the years went by he still couldn't help but begin to somewhat enjoy the experience of being human and even frequently toyed with the idea of dropping his plans of restoring his Time Lord body and just keep on body hopping forever.
  • Been There, Shaped History: "Mastermind" helps explain a few events that took place before and after the Daleks' trial of the Master. Before the trial, the Master was captured in an Egyptian tomb, where his TARDIS was left behind and found by UNIT. After being trapped in the Eye of Harmony, the Master escaped in a gaseous state and began a long string of possessions (see Grand Theft Me below). During this time, the Master got into many parts of history. Careful to not become part of the history books, lest he attract the Doctor's attention, he became the head of the Hudson Dusters, the majority of the casinos in Las Vegas and even controlled part of the mafia.
    • Amusingly, he started his rise to power by getting on the Titanic without knowing its fate.
      "I am not a native of this world. You cannot expect me to remember the name of every ship that sinks."
  • Grand Theft Me: After sustaining himself in the Eye of Harmony through sheer force of will, the Master escaped and began possessing bodies to re-establish himself. However, the process had also transformed him into "the embodiment of entropy", and anyone he possessed expired quickly. The longest his bodies lasted, after various chemical treatments and becoming a hermit to avoid infection, was around forty years.
  • The Nth Master: The Geoffrey Beevers Master, seen in the TV series in "The Keeper of Traken", is the one usually encountered by the Doctor in Big Finish. "Mastermind" also has him technically voice Eric Roberts' incarnation too, albeit in a different body.
  • Possession Burnout: A frequent problem for him. The human bodies he possess originally tended to wear out over the course of a few years, and even though he eventually discovered a way of prolonging their life, he still had to find a new host around every forty years.

    Sir Derek Jacobi's Master 

The "War" Master

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/20170615154732dw_war_master_holding_cover_large.jpg
"Things die. It's just what they do."
Voiced by: Sir Derek Jacobi (2017-present)

Time Lord Agent: I'm pointing a stazer pointed at your hearts. It is set to maximum. There will be no regeneration for you when I pull the trigger. And what do you have? (mockingly) A cup of tea!
The Master: (smugly) Yes... (calmly puts down the cup) Are you scared yet?

The incarnation of the Master active during the Time War, before he turned coward and became "Professor Yana". With his actual screen-time as the Master being ultimately quite limited on the TV show, Big Finish gives Derek Jacobi a chance to expand upon this incarnation of the character, allowing this Master to not only show off his glorious villainous hamminess, but also some of the more low-key sides of his personality, presenting him to be both quite charming, polite, and poetic, but also thoroughly ruthless, diabolic, and very, very patient.


  • Actually Pretty Funny: When the Master lands in the suburbs of Stamford Bridge in the 1970s, his TARDIS decides to disguise itself as a red police box. Upon seeing the visage, the Master gives a hearty laugh and comments that he rather appreciate the fact that his TARDIS' chameleon circuit has a sense of humour.
  • Affably Evil: Perhaps one of the most polite Masters around, to the point that he can come off as a genuinely nice person without any hypnosis involved. He's also unable to truly empathize with others, being so unengaged by a mother's drive to save her race being born from her dead husband and her son he plays off his yawning from exhaustion.
  • All-Powerful Bystander: He exploits the fact that Time Lords are somewhat infamous for refusing to get involved in local affairs, as an excuse for why he will not help Cole saving the population of a peaceful farming planet from slowing dying from an environmental catastrophe cause by the Time War. As anyone familiar with the Master knows, this is Blatant Lies on his behalf, as he holds absolutely no regards whatsoever for the Time Lords' laws and rules, and even constantly gleefully breaks them without a second thought whenever he gets the chance. His refusal to interfere is a part of one his plans.
  • Batman Gambit: He knew that Cole, despite his good intentions, was not only going to completely screw up his attempt to save the population of the peaceful farming planet, but also do something awful to the timeline in the process; in fact his whole plan to use the Heavenly Paradigm hinged on it.
  • Beard of Evil: In classic Master tradition, he sports a goatee in contrast to his clean-shaven "Professor Yana" alter-ego.
  • Call to Agriculture: In "The Sky Man", he decides to take a backseat to Cole's attempt to save the population of a farming planet, and spends his downtime cultivating his own vineyard as he thought learning a bit about the nitty-gritty of the making of wine could be interesting.
  • The Corrupter: Plays this role to his "companion", Cole.
  • Evil Counterpart: While the War Doctor is at the heart of the Time War, desperately trying to stop it without endangering innocents, the War Master is trying to end the war without caring who he has to step on to do so. In a dark twist, the War Doctor considers himself a monster, whereas the War Master is simply doing what he thinks is right.
  • Evil Laugh: He shows off a bone-chilling cackle in the teaser trailer.
  • Evil Old Folks: He more than once exploits the fact that people tend to underestimate him because of his elderly appearance.
  • Evil Wears Black: "The Good Master" sees him having to wear a space suit, not too much unlike the orange one the Doctor always ends up in for various space adventures. But the difference is that his space suit is, of course, black.
  • The Fettered: Well, relatively speaking, but Leela notices that he is definitely much more calm and controlled that the angry and vengeful Decayed Master she is used to dealing with.
  • Fountain of Youth: As a part of his attempt to hide himself from the Time War and the Time Lords after everything has Gone Horribly Wrong, he uses his Chameleon Arch not only to camouflage himself as a human but also to regress his physical age back into that of a baby.
  • A Glass of Chianti: He is quite found of wine and when he finds himself with some downtime in "The Sky Man", he decides to spend it learning how to make his own, including how to grow grapes and the finer points of how the fermentation process works.
  • Gone Horribly Wrong: The Time Lords brought him back to fight on their side; it backfires horribly as he goes rogue, and then goes AWOL when the conflict gets too much even for him.
    • Surprisingly, this Master actually does try to save the universe from the Time War and make it better, though unlike the Doctor he's thinking large-scale rather than small-scale. Unsurprisingly, the device that will rewrite the universe to do it will not affect him, leaving him in a prime position to take over. Even less surprisingly, he overestimated the device's capability and things become even worse than before, to the point that he flees to the edge of the universe to try and ride the disaster out.
      "Typical, really. The one time I try to make the universe a better place, this is what happens."
  • Good Is Boring: In-Universe. When the Gardezzan start extolling their righteous struggle against the Daleks, the Master's reaction makes it clear that he would rather have a tooth pulled than listen to it.
  • Icy Blue Eyes: Jacobi's natural bright blue eyes is used to underline the Master's inscrutable, but ultimately ruthless nature on the covers.
  • Impersonation Gambit: A villainous inversion. "Beneath the Viscoid" sees him pretending to be the Doctor to win the trust of the locals. It requires him playing up his Faux Affably Evilness for all its worth.
  • It's All About Me: The Master not only describes himself this way, but asserts that everyone in the universe really thinks this way. He's just honest about it. Whether or not he's really that selfish explicitly comes into question, however.
  • Large Ham: For the most part he's rather calm and affable... and then he opens up a viewing port with a squad of Daleks on the other side and taunts them jovially simply because he knows their weapons aren't working. Once the port is closed, he's right back to his usual collected self.
  • Long Game: This Master has a propensity for slow-working plans, and has no problem with waiting around for prolonged period of times for everything to fall in place. In fact, he makes it very clear that he rather savors the process of watching his deviousness unfold in slow motion.
  • Man of Wealth and Taste: In addition to his Waistcoat of Style from the TV series, he's also sometimes depicted as wearing a full three-piece suit.
  • Morality Pet: Brutally subverted with his "companion" Cole. When the Master needs to sacrifice Cole in order complete his plan, there is no moment of him thinking it over or wistfully realizing that he that he has come to care for Cole; he just gleefully sacrifices Cole without a second thought, and when Cole protests about this, the Master just reminds him that he had agreed to make "any" sacrifice in exchange for the Master's help.
  • Mugging the Monster: A group of desperate, sick and starving farmers tries to rob his temporary vineyard estate for food and supplies. Big mistake.
    Farmer: We may not be able to climb your fence! But we can still set fire to your vines!
    Other farmer: Yeah, we'll burn your vineyard down!
    The Master: [opens the front door] Now, gentlemen, I'd rather you didn't! It promises to be a lovely vintage!
    Farmer: How're you gonna stop us, old man? Look at you. Standing there in nothing but your bare 'ands. What you gonna do to us, 'ey? Tear us limb from limb?
    The Master: [sinisterly] ...Now, that's an invitation I cannot possibly refuse.
  • Mythology Gag: He's back to calling himself Dr. Keller.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: The Master's plan to use the Heavenly Paradigm to alter the timeline in his favor backfires spectacularly, as ripple effects from his alternations eventually effect the events of the Time War, leading to several the battles of the war that Daleks had originally lost instead turning into victories for them, culminating with the Dalek Emperor taking control of the Cruciform. The Master is appropriately horrified when he discovers this as he realizes that his actions may very well have cost the Time Lords any chance of victory in the war.
    "WHAT HAVE I DONE?! ENOUGH! IT'S LOST! IT'S ALL LOST!!!"
  • Pragmatic Evil: Saving the universe really has less to do with being nice and more to do actually having a universe to live in (or, as he puts it, a universe to enjoy his victory in), considering the Time War will inevitably cause the universe to be destroyed. That said, he does state that he's doing what he thinks is right and that he doesn't actually take pleasure in the deaths in his wake.
  • Politically Incorrect Villain: In true Master tradition. He views the various "backwaters" races he has to interact with during the course of his plan with a mix of barely contained condescension and contempt.
    Glortz: Do not sleep for too long, Time Lord. The fate of my people cannot wait forever.
    The Master: [under his breath] "The fate of your people"? As if I cared one jot for a race of skulking, amphibian bores!
  • Resurrected for a Job: The Time Lords brought him back to fight in the Time War; it didn't work.
  • Soft-Spoken Sadist: He owns a soothing, calm voice that works well to put others at ease, and he keeps that tone even when he's about to kill you so he can continue on his way.
    • Surprisingly, he considers himself an aversion; he claims he takes no pleasure from killing people or causing pain. He's simply doing what he thinks is right. Of course, considering what he does before and after this claim, what he considers "right" takes a whole heaping of salt.
  • Shoo the Dog: He reluctantly sends his TARDIS away as he goes into hiding at the far end of time to avoid being tracked.
  • Villain Protagonist: Of his own boxset no less.
  • You Are Better Than You Think You Are: The Heart of Arcking, which is telepathic and read his mind, tells him this. This being the Master, the idea triggers a minor existential crisis in him.

    James Dreyfus' Master 

The First Master (First Doctor)

Voiced by: James Dreyfus (2018)

The first incarnation of the Master.


  • Beard of Evil: Sports a nicely-groomed full beard, showing that even back in his first incarnation the Master had an affinity for beards.

    Michelle Gomez's Mistress 

The Mistress – "Missy"

Voiced by: Michelle Gomez (2019)

    Sam Kisgart's Master 

The "Unbound" Master (Unbound Doctor)

Voiced by: Sam Kisgart (2003, 2016)

"Abbot, I would tell you to say your prayers, but you've been doing that for long enough."

A "What If?" incarnation, who would have existed had the Doctor not joined UNIT in the 70's (or was it the 80's?). Comes back with a vengeance to face Bernice Summerfield.


  • Alternate Universe: One that's accessible from the "main" timeline.
  • Assimilation Plot: To pass the time, and have some method of sustaining himself while his TARDIS is out of bounds, he helps China set up the Ke Le SuperSoldier divisions with a group of mind controlling "soul stealer" parasites, under the guise of Ke Le. The plot comes to a halt, however, as the parasites have a limit to how many minds they control, and there is a select number of them.
    • The problem is, all the Ke Le soldiers were ex-convicts. This makes him directly responsible for the disaster that happens once the parasites are destroyed via a nuke, and the Ke Le divisions go berserk. He tries very hard to get out of China before this happens. He fails.
  • Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: Without any Doctor to stop him, he's allowed to do this as he pleases, making deals with both the United Nations and China. It turns into a noose for him without his TARDIS to fall back on.
  • Crapsack World: By the time he arrives in the story, he has lived through the plastic purges, the Probe 7 disaster, the My Lai and East Timor massacres and Rwandan genocide, has at least two governments on a manhunt for him and has just come out of a plane crash. Suffice to say, he's not having a good time.
  • Deal with the Devil: Is the devil in the deal the Doctor strikes up, to be rid of the mind parasites and to remove the inhibitor on the Doctor's TARDIS. Unsurprisingly, he attempts to go back on the deal and just steal the TARDIS. The Doctor counted on this.
  • Large Ham: Though he's among the most restrained out of any incarnation of the Master created, he does have his moments.
    "Stand aside or I shall lay your soul to waste! Thank you so much."
  • Last of His Kind: Along with the Doctor, as the Time Lords get permanently wiped out in his universe's version of the Time War.
  • Mugged for Disguise: Kills a random English soldier who happened to be near the crash site just after he regenerated, and spends the rest of the adventure wearing the man's clothes.
  • Out-Gambitted: At one point plots to conquer the universe by summoning a race of Eldritch Abominations to do his bidding. A plot which would have failed spectacularly anyway, but then it's revealed the Doctor had predicted all of that would happen, and so he promptly deals with the monsters by using the energy meant to bring them back to life to take himself and Bernice back to her universe, leaving the Master in the Doctor's former position of President of the Universe. Because the Mother Superior and leader of the Parliament was in on the plan she knows to keep the Master in check, so it looks like he will hate the job even more than the Doctor did.
  • The Slow Path: When his TARDIS is "put out of [his] reach", the Master is forced into this, stuck wading through the various disasters the Doctor never averted. He has been trying to attract the attention of the Doctor for a good while.
  • Unexpected Successor: Ends up President of the Universe; however he's in no position to do anything "out of line" because of a very formidable Mother Superior.
  • Unexplained Recovery: He gets thrown into a portal come disintegration ray in The Emporium at the End and it's almost Played for Laughs how everyone just accepts that he's still alive when he turns up later. When Bernice eventually gets around to asking him about it he tells her not to be boring.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Suffers two in the space of five minutes! His first one is when he discovers a pub isn't the Doctor's TARDIS, and his second is when said TARDIS leaves him behind, minutes before the Ke Le forces are set loose.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: It's never explained what happened to his TARDIS, just that it was out of the Master's ability to get it back.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Throws one at the Doctor when they meet for not interfering in the various disasters Earth suffers, and doesn't stop until he lets slip that he was stuck on Earth and that his TARDIS was out of his reach. He doesn't retract it when he learns the Doctor didn't exactly have a choice in the matter.

Tropes associated with Titan Comics

    The "War" Master 

The War Master (War Doctor)

The incarnation of the Master who accompanied the War Doctor for a time during the Time War. In "Fast Asleep", he regenerates into Derek Jacobi's Master.
  • Creepy Child: He is apparently a prepubescent boy, but has all the intellect and cynicism of his other incarnations.
  • Dirty Coward: He abandons the Doctor when things start to go really south after Alice arrives.
  • Enemy Mine: He and the Doctor have agreed to co-operate during the War with minimal emotional game-playing.
  • Psycho Sidekick: The War Doctor regrets the horrible things they do during the War, but he doesn't even pretend to.
  • Race Lift: He appears East Asian by Earth racial definition.
  • Walking Spoiler: The presence of an entirely new incarnation of the Master between (theoretically) MacQueennote  and Jacobi is a big surprise.

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