The Master FAQ

By Dangermouse

Since there have been so many questions lately...

Only the TV episodes will be regarded as hard fact here, but the books will
be covered as speculations and for completeness - this isn't going to be a


	2.1) How many incarnations have there been?
	2.2) How do First Frontier and The Eight Doctors fit in?
	2.3) How does Destiny of The Doctors fit in?.
	2.4) How did the Master get through so many incarnations when we only saw
	3.1) The main actors
	3.2) Others
	6.1) Why do the Master's encounters with the Doctor always take place in
the same order for both?
	6.2) What are the exceptions?
	7.1) Planet Of The Spiders
	7.2) The Doctor's brother
	7.3) The Meddling Monk
	7.4) The War Chief
	8.1) The Darkheart black hole
	8.2) Castrovalva
	8.3) Xeriphas
	8.4) Fitzwilliam Castle
	8.5) The Numismaton gas flame
	8.6) The Rani's TARDIS
	8.7) The Matrix
	8.8) The Cheetah Planet



The Master is the Doctor's arch-enemy. Like the Doctor, he was a Time Lord
from the Prydonian Chapter, but he revels in chaos and destruction, seeking
to rule worlds for himself. He is a recurring villain in many stories and
has plagued every Doctor since the Third. The Master ran out of
regenerations however, and merged his body with that of a native of the
planet Traken, after which he seemed to be even more deranged, and more
interested in his vendetta with the Doctor than in conquest. When last
seen, he had been reduced to a snake-like form, and possessed the body of a


2.1) How many incarnations have there been?

To date there have been 16 incarnations of the Master, though we haven't
seen all of them. We know, however, that the Master in the Tom Baker
stories (Deadly Assassin and Keeper Of Traken) was on his 13th and final
life. Thus when he absorbed Tremas of Traken, he became the 14 Master. The
(different) one executed by the Daleks is number 15. This may or may not be
the same Master who debuts in First Frontier, depending on whether or not
the books are part of your personal canon. The possessed-human version in
the TVM is number 16.

2.2) How do First Frontier and The Eight Doctors fit in?

In First Frontier, the Ainley Master is killed by Ace, and regenerates into
a new version. Since it is a different actor getting killed at the start of
the TVM, these two stories do not conflict with each other. The Eight
Doctors, however, doesn't fit at all - it implies that the Ainley Master
goes to Skaro right after Survival, and thus conflicts with both First
Frontier and the TVM.

(fanwank speculation>
It's always possible that the records reported in The Eight Doctors are
full of Time Lord censorship, since the High Council wouldn't want their
populace to know that they could get extra life-cycles elsewhere.
(/fanwank speculation>

2.3) How does Destiny Of The Doctors fit in?

Gary Russell says he had the Ainley Master captured at the end of the game
in order to tie in to the TVM. However, it's *all* the monsters who capture
him, and not just the Daleks, so there is no real evidence to suppose that
he would be taken to Skaro. And of course, it contradicts both books *and*
the TVM! 

2.4) How did the Master get through so many incarnations when we only saw

The novelisations state that he had gone through his lives quicker because
of his risky lifestyle. There is no indication on screen as to which
incarnation Delgado is, though Legacy Of The Daleks makes him the 12th. 

The Dark Path has him take several lives - without physically regenerating,
but presumably with the mental stresses that are attached to it - to get
out of the new black hole at the end.

It is also possible that the Master is able to control his regenerations
well enough to keep the same form - the fact that Delgado's toupee and
makeup changes every other story may hint that we're seeing more than one



3.1) The main actors

There have been six credited actors to play the Master.

a) Roger Delgado played the role throughout the Pertwee era, from Terror Of
The Autons to Frontier In Space. His Master was characterised by ruthless
charm and genuine chemistry with the opposition. Delgado died in a car
crash before the Master's final episode could be made. Delgado played the
role in more episodes than anyone else.

b) Peter Pratt took the role in The Deadly Assassin. Being an opera singer,
he was pretty much hired because of his vocal talent, since the Master's
features were now a decayed mask.

c) Geoffrey Beevers played the same incarnation in The Keeper Of Traken (I
know Pratt died, but I'm not certain if it was before Keeper or not)

d) Anthony Ainley became the Master in the closing moments of The Keeper Of
Traken, and held the role throughout the 1980s. He also reprised it in the
Destiny Of The Doctors CD-ROM. This Master has been mostly characterised by
snide viciousness. Ainley has played the role in the most stories, but
fewer episodes than Delgado 

3.2) Others

Two others have in some way portrayed the Master:

Norman Stanley (telephone repair man disguise - Terror Of The Autons)
Buggered if I know his name (Telephone repair man disguise - Mind of Evil)

and of course, various stuntmen.


They are both Time Lords who attended the Prydonian Academy together. At
that time they were good friends, but later they grew apart for some


Sticking purely to the TV episodes: Unknown. No reason has ever been given
on TV, beyond that the Master developed a taste for power, while the Doctor

A comic strip in DWM (I forget which issue) shows the first Doctor, before
leaving Gallifrey, stopping a character who *may* be the Master from
conducting unauthorised experiments, and this character promising revenge
in future.

The novelisation of Survival suggests that the Master grew jealous of the
Doctor's always beating him at everything, though this contradicts the Time
Lord's statement in Terror Of The Autons that the Master's degree was of a
higher grade than the Doctor's. (the Doctor adds that he was a late
developer, confirming this.)

The Virgin MA The Dark Path indicates that the Master turned to evil after
being betrayed by the Time Lords, who had been using him in much the same
way they later used the Doctor. (There are also various suggestions
discernable through the edits that the loss of Ailla, the Doctor's siding
against him, and having his life-cycle scrambled by a black hole, didn't
help keep his sanity)


6.1) Why do the Master's encounters with the Doctor always take place in
the same order for both?

The general fan theory is that there is some sort of Gallifreyan Mean Time,
which ensures that Time Lords always meet each other in the right order. Of
course, in reality it's because it's easier to run a recurring villain if
you can refer to the previous encounter. But this may not be universal as
it seems...

6.2) What are the exceptions?

The only *definite* exception is Legacy Of The Daleks, in which the 8th
Doctor encounters the Delgado Master.

However, there are some grounds to suggest that, from the Master's point of
view, The Five Doctors may come after Planet Of Fire: At the end of The
King's Demons, the Doctor sabotages the Master's TARDIS with the tissue
compression eliminator. Peter Grimwade subsequently put a shrunken Master
in Planet Of Fire. Since 5 Docs came in between, Eric Saward altered the
reason for the Master's shrinkage to having been experimenting with a new
TCE. However, given that the Master himself doesn't seem to know how he
escaped from Sarn in Planet Of Fire, and knowing that those two stories
were intended to be linked that way, we can assume that the Master may have
been lifted from the flames by the Time Lords, to take part in 5 Docs. It
certainly makes more sense that way...


7.1) Planet Of The Spiders

There is a popular fan myth that Planet Of The Spiders was originally to
feature the Master. In fact, Barry Letts intended that the Master would be
killed off in the final Pertwee story, and that it would remain a mystery
whether he had died to let the Doctor survive. Since Planet Of The Spiders
was made a year after Delgado's death, it seems unlikely that this story
would have been planned so early. Had Delgado survived, the Master and the
Third Doctor would have met their ends in a completely different story. 

7.2) The Doctor's brother

It's also a common fan supposition that the Master is that B-movie cliche,
the evil twin (or at least evil brother). This has almost made into canon
several times, and features in several of the storylines given in The Nth
Doctor. There has been no confirmation of this theory.

Funnily enough, Hartnell once suggested doing a spin-off about the Doctor's
evil *son*...

7.3) The Meddling Monk

Is the Meddling Monk the Master? No - the Monk is a petty criminal, not a
devious mastermind. Also, the Master is a contemporary of the Doctor's,
since they went to school together, but the Monk is from "50 years after"
the Doctor left Gallifrey. 

Of course, the NA No Future also brings back the Monk in a new incarnation.

7.4) The War Chief

Is the War Chief the Master? I had always hoped so until the NA Exodus came
out.  On screen, this is never answered, but there is good evidence for it
- the facial hair, the teaming with aliens, the fact that he and the Doctor
recognise each other...

Exodus brings back the War Chief, and since Terrance co-created both
characters, this is about as official a denial as you can get.
Subsequently, the Dark Path has the 2nd Doctor meet the Master.


The Master, especially Ainley, has a tendency to escape from obviously
certain death...

8.1) The Darkheart black hole

I mention this because of a reference a couple of weeks ago to it being an
Ainley-fate. The Master was never intended to to be killed here - it merely
takes him several lifetimes to get out.

8.2) Castrovalva

The block transfer construction was collapsing around him, but presumably
the inhabitants ceased to exist before the place did (especially with Adric
and the web gone), in time for him to reach his TARDIS.

8.3) Xeriphas

He was stranded there with a damaged TARDIS. His means of escape is
uncertain, but somehow involved Kamelion.

8.4) Fitzwilliam Castle

How he got back into his TARDIS and away is unknown.

8.5) The Numismaton gas flame

Unknown. Possibly he had a transmat in his TARDIS set to beam him out if
things got too hot. Alternatively, The Five Doctors would fit in here very

8.6) The Rani's TARDIS

Uncertain. According to the novelisation of The Ultimate Foe, the
acceleration caused the baby T-Rex to grow big enough to break it's neck
against the ceiling before it could eat the Master or the Rani.

8.7) The Matrix

Uncertain. The Doctor says that the Time Lords can "do what they like with
the Master, but go easy on Glitz" when they get them out, so presumably the
limbo atrophier was not fatal. Mission Impractical will also refer to this.

8.8) The Cheetah Planet

Uncertain. First Frontier has him manage to use the Cheetah powers to
translocate away as Ace did. Destiny Of The Doctors and the TVM make no
mention of it, and The Eight Doctors has him show up on the Deathworm
planet with no indication of how he got away from the Cheetah planet, or
his TARDIS back.


A guide to the Master's escapades, in chronological order (excluding the
annuals, cos I haven't got them all):

LUCIFER RISING (NA by Andy Lane & Jim Mortimore): includes a flashback to
another child, mean to be the Master, who also gets advice from the
Doctor's hermit mentor.
THE DARK PATH (MA by David A McIntee): The Doctor's old friend Koschei
turns to the Dark Side...
TERROR OF THE AUTONS: The Master helps the Nestenes make a second attack on
THE MIND OF EVIL: The Master uses an alien parasite and a prison population
to hijack a nuclear missile.
THE CLAWS OF AXOS: Captured by a parasitic alien, the Master offers to help
it feed on Earth in return for his freedom.
COLONY IN SPACE: Searching for a superweapon, the Master poses as an
Adjudicator on a disputed planet.
THE DAEMONS: The Master is finally captured after attempting to use psionic
science to gain the powers of the last Daemon.
FREEDOM (Short Trips story by Steve Lyons): The Master is remanded in
Stangmoor Prison, pending his trial.
MAN IN THE ION MASK (DWM UNIT special): The Master is temporarily held in
Aylesbury Grange.
WHO KILLED KENNEDY? (novel by Dave Bishop): The Master uses Aylesbury
Grange as a base to secretly run UNIT's own Glasshouse.
THE FACE OF THE ENEMY (PDA by David A McIntee): The Master is forced to
team up with UNIT against a common enemy. 
THE SEA DEVILS: Safely locked up on Fortress Island, the Master makes
contact with an aquatic branch of the Silurian race.
THE EIGHT DOCTORS Pertwee segment (EDA by Terrance Dicks): Having escaped
at the end of The Sea Devils, the Master races the Doctor to get back to
THE TIME MONSTER: The Master goes to Atlantis in a quest to tame Kronos the
FRONTIER IN SPACE: The Master, acting on behalf of the Daleks, uses Ogrons
to foment war between Earth and Draconia.
THE GLEN OF SLEEPING (Countdown issues 107-111): The Master awakens a group
of Jacobites from suspended animation, to seek their aid in using a nuclear
submarine to destroy London.
THE DUKE OF DOMINOES (Decalog story by Marc Platt): The Master is stuck in
Prohibition-era Chicago, and narrowly misses bumping into the 4th Doctor
and Sarah.
LEGACY OF THE DALEKS (EDA by John Peel): The eight Doctor meets the Delgado
Master, who is trying to break into a base left behind in the Daleks'
invasion of Earth.
THE DEADLY ASSASSIN: Reduced to a decayed husk, the Master returns to
Gallifrey to try to get a new life cycle.
THE KEEPER OF TRAKEN: The Master usurps the position of Keeper, and uses
the powers that come with that position to get a new body.
LOGOPOLIS: The Master blackmails the entire universe, and kills the Doctor.
CASTROVALVA: The Master lures the Doctor's companions into a series of
traps intended to finish-off the newly-regenerated Doctor.
TIME-FLIGHT: Stranded in the Pleistocene, the Master hopes to steal
Xeraphin power to restart his exhausted TARDIS.
THE KING'S DEMONS: Using a shapechanging android, the Master attempts to
drive a wedge between King John and the Barons, to prevent the signing of
Magna Carta.
THE FIVE DOCTORS: The High Council enlist the Master's help to save the
Doctors from the Death Zone. Note that this story *may* (IMNSVHO) actually
follow the next story.
PLANET OF FIRE: Kamelion comes under control of the Master, who needs to
restore himself to normal size.
MARK OF THE RANI: The Master tries to steal some of the Rani's
brain-controlling secrets.
THE TRIAL OF A TIME LORD: The Master reveals the truth about the reasons
for the Doctor's trial, in the hope that the Doctor and the Valeyard will
kill each other while he escapes with the Matrix secrets.
SURVIVAL: Trapped without his TARDIS, the Master brings the Doctor to the
Cheetah Planet in the hope that he will find a way to get them both off the
planet before it explodes.
FIRST FRONTIER (NA by David A McIntee): The Master aids the Tzun
Confederacy in return for a new life-cycle and help getting off Earth. Ace
kills him, and he regenerates, thanks to Tzun genetic engineering.
HOUSEWARMING (Decalog 2 story by David A McIntee): The Master intends to
set a trap for the Doctor, whose house is built on a time fissure.
HAPPY ENDINGS (NA by Paul Cornell): The Master is lurking in Cheldon
Boniface, trying to grow himself new bodies.

THE EIGHT DOCTORS (Pre-TVM segment): The Master acquires a deathworm, which
will allow him to survive in snake form after death, and possess another.
Sadly this sequence doesn't fit in with either the books or the on-screen