The article details The Master as depicted from "Modern Doctor Who" - which ran from 2005 to present , for information on The Master from the Classic Era of Doctor Who (1963 to 1989) see here.

The Master is a recurring villain in the Doctor Who revival series, while still being the same character as the Classic Who versions these variations are vastly different from them.

There have been three actors who have portrayed The Master in Modern Who. Sir Derek Jacobi, John Simm and Michelle Gomez. The younger version of the Master was played by the late William Hughes.



200 master als kind

The Master as a child.

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


Main article: The Master (Classic Who)

Time War

The Master fought in the Time War against the Daleks for many years, and would regenerate into a child body. The Master made a deal with the War Doctor to become allies, to deal with the Cylors, who were allies with the Daleks. Encountering the eleventh Doctor's companion Alice, the Master decided to flee due to the Doctor's plan being too dangerous. However this fleeing ended up causing a paradox that caused him to regenerate. His memory of the events was erased, and the Master would travel back to the early years of the Time War. The Master battled the Cybermen alongside Kate Stewart and UNIT, eventually returning to "the fray" of the war.

The Master managed to retrieve his TARDIS on Gardezza while posing as the Doctor.  Inside, he received a call to return to Gallifrey and left to answer it. Romana and Narvin sent the Master alongside Leela to interrogate Finnian Valentine, and said that they would pardon him for his crimes. during which he discovered Arcking had a power source that could fuel the Time Lords energy banks. On the way back to Gallifrey, the Master expelled Leela into the time vortex and headed to Arcking. Travelling to hospital planet Arcking multiple times, the Master attempted to possess an ancient power, known as the Heart. It was here he met the pilot Cole Jarnish, and took him on as a companion.

After manipulating Cole to turn his life into a paradox, the Master travelled to Stamford Bridge in the 1970s, where he located a Time Lord repository and killed Cole. Using Cole's life as a paradox to power it, he took control of the Heavenly Paradigm, wanting to use it to end the War. The plan backfired, and the Master unintentionally caused both the Time Lords and Daleks to win several battles they had once lost. Because of this, he then saw the Dalek Emperor took control of "The Cruciform", the Master, horrified by the intensity of the the war, decided to flee, and remained ignorant of the war's outcome as he used a Chameleon Arch which stored his Time Lord nature and memories in a fob watch and allowed him to become biologically a human baby, in order to disguise himself.

The Master's Return

Master regenerate

The Master regenerating.

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

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


Saxon and the Toclafanes.

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

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

Creation of the "Master Race"

The Master after Resurrection

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

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

Resorting to wandering the fringe of London and feeding on homeless people while being pursued by the Doctor, learning the sound of the drums is a signal, the Master is eventually captured by billionaire Joshua Naismith in order to use his knowledge to repair an alien 'Immortality Gate' to make Naismith's daughter immortal. But the Master hijacks the device, using its original purpose as a planet-wide medical tool to overwrite the DNA of every human on Earth with his own and create a "Master Race".

Master revenge

The Master getting revenge.

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

After forcing Rassilon to remove the signal in his head, the Master left Gallifrey and wandered the universe in his Tardis before he ended up on a Mondasian colony ship trapped in the gravity of a black hole. When his attempt to rule them did not work out, the Master decided to play a role in the genesis of the Cybermen before encountering the Twelfth Doctor, and would end up meeting a future female counterpart named "Missy" (see below for more details).



Missy, The Master's current incarnation.

Following his encounter with the Twelfth Doctor, having fuzzy memories of the event due to meeting her, The Master regenerated into his next incarnation: a woman who calls herself Missy (short for Mistress). Acting on  a desire to reconnect with the Doctor, Missy desired to bring him down to her moral level by first arranging his Eleventh incarnation to meet Clara Oswald. She then acquired a Matrix data slice to create a Nethersphere to house the minds of recently deceased from across Earth's history, including the Half Face Man despite originally being a machine. Arranging the formation of the 3W facility, Missy orchestrated the Cybermen to upgrade the deceased bodies and become an army under her control.
Missy the Master reveal

Missy reveals herself as the Master to the Twelfth Doctor.

When the Twelfth Doctor arrived to the 3W facility, situated within St. Paul's cathedral, Missy eventually revealed herself as the Cybermen proceed to convert all of Earth's dead. From there, revealing she arranged their creation for him, Missy tempts the Doctor into using the Cybermen to act out his own desires. While the plan is foiled, killing one of the Osgoods which would disrupt human/Zygon relations, Missy made a final attempt to force the Doctor to lower himself by killing her to keep Clara from becoming a murderer. But one surviving Cyberman (the Doctor's deceased ally Brigadier Lethbridge Stewart) vaporized Missy before destroying himself.

But it turned out that Missy survived by using the Cyberman's blast to charge her vortex manipulator and escape. After receiving the Doctor's Confessional Dial, Time Lord's equivalent of a "last will and testament", Missy recruits Clara to enlisted Clara to find the Doctor. They travel to 12th century Essex and find the Doctor there. But they were forced by snake-like being named Colony Sarff, who takes them to Skaro so a dying Davros can meet the Doctor. After the two escape the Daleks, with the Doctor assuming their died, Missy and Clara sneak back into the city via its sewer/graveyard with the latter tricked into entering a Dalek casing. After Missy saves the Doctor, she attempted to trick him into killing Clara before he realized the truth. Missy takes her leave, she runs into Daleks who see that she is a Time Lord and prepare to exterminate her. But Missy says that she has "a very clever idea", hinting that she survives after this encounter.

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

Having become remorseful of the deaths she had caused, Missy appears to have gradually reformed. The Doctor tests her reformation by letting her play "Doctor Who" in helping what they learned to be a Mondasian colony ship, only resulting with the Doctor suffering one of his greatest tragedies against the Cybermen while Missy encounters her previous male incarnation. This led Missy to find her loyalties torn between her promise to the Doctor and the lure of her former self. After initially betraying the Doctor and leaving him to face the Cybermen alone, Missy later stabs the Master to enact his regeneration while intending to come to the Doctor's aid. But the Master, refusing to accept the person he will become, uses his Laser Screwdriver to fatally wound Missy while negating her ability to regenerate. Missy appears to die from her wounds minutes later. It is unclear if she survives or not.


That is not my name! The Professor... was an invention! So perfect to disguise that I forgot who I am. I am the Master.
~ The "Yana" Master

Killed by an insect... a girl! How inappropriate. Still... if the Doctor can be young and strong... than so can I. The Master reborn!
~ The "Yana" Master's last words.

Haha! Hahaha! Hahaha! Now then, Doctor! Oh, new voice. Hello, hello. Hello! Anyway, why don't we stop and have a nice little chat while I tell you all my plans and you can work out a way to stop me? I don't think!
~ The "Saxon" Master's introduction.

End of the Universe! Have fun! Bye bye!
~ The "Saxon" Master

So it came to pass, that the human race fell... and the Earth was no more. And I looked down upon my new dominion, as Master of all. And I thought it... good.
~ The Master, after his successful subjugation of Earth.

Will it stop, Doctor? The drumming? Will it stop?
~ The Master's last words.

Because it's funny! Don't you see? Look at me! I'm splitting my sides! I am hilarious! I am the funniest thing in the whole wide world!
~ The Master after his resurrection.

You did this to me! All of my life! You made me! ONE! TWO! THREE! FOUR!
~ The Master, redeeming himself by attacking Rassilon, shouting the drum beats in his head that drove him insane.

Please try to keep up. Short for Mistress. Well, I couldn't very well keep calling myself the Master, now could I?
~ Missy revealing herself to be the Master to the Twelfth Doctor.





  • Many producers have compared the relationship between The Doctor and The Master as something comparable to that of James Moriarty and Sherlock Holmes.
  • In the episode "The Final Game", The Master (in his thirteenth incarnation) was supposed to be revealed as the Doctor's dark side or his brother and he should die by sacrificing himself to save the Doctor. However, the episode was never made because the actor Roger Delgado died in a car accident in Turkey. Still the idea of a dark side of the Doctor was used for The Valeyard
    • In the 2007 episode "The Sound of the Drums", the Tenth Doctor's companion Martha Jones asks him if the Master is an evil brother of his, in which the Doctor replies she has watched too much TV.
  • The Master is the first Time Lord to change gender via regeneration on screen. However the previous episode 'The Doctor's Wife' mentioned a Time-Lord named The Corsair who was also said to have done this.
  • Although stories featuring multiple Masters at once has been depicted in other media such as comics and audio adventures, the series 10 two-part finale episodes "World Enough and Time" and "The Doctor Falls" is the first time in the history of the show in which multiple Masters have featured in the series proper. The episode featured the current incarnation Missy (Michelle Gomez) and the Harold Saxon Master (John Simm).
  • In Series 10, the John Simm's Master now sports a goatee similar to that of Roger Delgado and Anthony Ainley's incarnations.
  • The Harold Saxon (John Simm) Master is seen as one of the most vile Masters and is the only modern Master to qualify as Pure Evil.


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