The Many Faces of the Master
The Doctor Who Team
Ah, the Master. The star of July's Monster Month. They go by many names, from subtle to obvious (Reverend Magister wasn’t really fooling anybody, was it), and surely even they have lost track of their number of regenerations. They’ve been the Doctor’s best frenemy since their Academy days, and no matter where or when the Doctor goes, the Master is sure to be close behind.
But for those of you who aren’t familiar with this Time Lord gone bad, here’s a quick guide to the many faces of the Master!
The Master of Class
This Master appeared to be a true gentleman; suave, classy, well-dressed, but incredibly cunning and was never afraid to get his hands dirty. His nefarious schemes involved their fair share of disguises and hypnotism, but at the heart of them all, he really just wanted to share a cigar and a good chat with his oldest friend.
Most important story: Terror of the Autons
What to look out for: Nehru jackets or on-point black suits, with an evil moustache-and-beard combo to boot!
The Master of Decay
Yikes, was this a low point for the Master! Having used up all of his natural regenerations, he refused to give up on life even though his body was crumbling and decaying. This Master was especially full of hatred and spite, and was absolutely desperate to either find a new body or to stop his own from falling to bits.
Most important story: The Deadly Assassin
What to look out for: the crumbling’s a bit of a giveaway…
The Master of Disguise
This incarnation of the Master stole the body of Nyssa’s father, Tremas, and went on to terrorise the Fourth, Fifth, Sixth and Seventh Doctors (as well as the First, Second and Third in The Five Doctors)!
He took on many different disguises during his time, some worse than others (we’re looking at you, Sir Gilles Estram), and was just as nefarious as he had always been.
Most important story: Logopolis
What to look out for: this Master had a penchant for elaborate disguises, but the evil snicker of "heh heh heh" is your biggest clue.
The Master of Survival
An interesting version of the Master, he was executed by the Daleks on Skaro for being so incredibly evil, and before his death requested that his ashes be taken back to Gallifrey by the Doctor. But, of course, the Master always finds a way to stay alive. His consciousness survived in the form of a snake-like morphant creature, which then took over the body of American ambulance driver Bruce. This body didn’t last very long, but in its short time was just as flamboyant, ruthless and evil as ever.
Most important story: Doctor Who
What to look out for: dressing for the occasion. Also, snake-ness.
The Master of Camouflage
This Master spent almost all of his life not actually knowing he was the Master. Running away from the horrors of the Time War to the wastes of the Silver Devastation, the Master disguised himself as a human child and grew up to become the kindly Professor Yana. This friendly and caring old man was willing to sacrifice himself so that the last surviving humans could reach Utopia, but this amiable benevolence wouldn’t last long. Opening the mysterious fob watch he was found with as a child, he assumed his true form as the Master, killed his long-term assistant Chantho and locked himself in the Doctor’s TARDIS. As personality changes go, this one was pretty extreme…
Most important story: Utopia
What to look out for: a fob watch.
The Master of Madness
The Time War must really have affected the Master because this incarnation is the most unhinged he’s ever been (up until Missy). Similar to the Tenth Doctor, he’s charming, charismatic and bounds about the place like a puppy; yet at the same time, he’s cruel, sadistic and shows both psychopathic and sociopathic tendencies. And after his resurrection, this madness was amped up to even higher levels.
What to look out for: his looks vary from head of government formalwear to recently-resurrected casualwear.
The Mistress of Evil
And so, we come to the most recent incarnation of the Master: Missy! Now, if you thought the previous Master was mad, you’ve not met Missy yet. Hilarious, sadistic and completely unpredictable, Missy is like a cat that plays with its prey before it decides to eat it. If she catches you, make sure to say something nice in the hope that she might find some iota of goodness and let you go (although, in all honesty, that will probably never happen and you’re pretty much doomed, sorry)…
Most important story: Death in Heaven
What to look out for: Victorian dress and a lot of purple.