Doctor Who: The Doctor Falls

Five great Doctor Who Master stories

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The Master arguably stands second only to the Daleks as the Doctor’s greatest foe. Here are five great Doctor Who Master stories.

Written by Liam South. 

The Master is one of the most popular villains in Doctor Who, and he/she has been facing off with The Doctor for 46 years now. With Missy and John Simm’s Master due to team up in this year’s season 10 finale, here’s the five Master stories that we think are the best examples of the character so far.

5. Castrovalva (1982)

In the fifth Doctor’s first outing, the Master uses Adric’s brain power to construct a fictional world in which to trap the unstable Doctor. He also appears in the world himself, in the guise of the Portreeve. While this story gets some flack for being boring (I personally disagree), Anthony Ainley’s performance, particularly as Portreeve is excellent.

4. Utopia/The Sound of Drums/Last of the Time Lords (2007)

The story that re-introduced the Master to the NewWho audience. This three-part story gives us two Masters. Derek Jacobi is, as Yana, adorably bumbling and, even in a few brief minutes, terrifying as the Master. If that weren’t enough, we are then treated to the manic and lunatic John Simm. Simm’s Master is so wildly unhinged, that one can’t help but nervously smile as he dances around the Valiant bridge. The Toclafane are pretty cool, too.

3. The Mind of Evil (1971)

A machine that feeds on the evil of the human mind, a missing nuclear missile, a peace conference and a prison now run by its prisoners. The Master is planning to steal the missile and fire it to trigger a world war. Roger Delgado’s performance is exemplary, melodramatic yet classy. His verbal sparring with Jon Pertwee’s Doctor is a joy (the two were great friends behind camera) and this story is a great example of their on-screen chemistry.

2. The Magician’s Apprentice/The Witch’s Familiar (2015)

Missy’s involvement in this story changed my opinion of her. Until this point, I didn’t like her. But her not being the main villain of the story means we get to see the Doctor’s arch-nemesis in a different light. The scene of her and Clara chatting at the table has some superb dialogue about the nature of her and the Doctor’s relationship. Of course her complete villainy later on in the story was foreseeable but enjoyable none-the-less.

1. Survival (1989)

In the final story of the classic series, the Doctor, Ace and some Ace’s friends are transported to an alien planet populated by humanoid cheetahs……and the Master. The planet influences people’s animalistic nature and turns them into yellow-eyed fanged beasts, and the Master is being affected. Anthony Ainley gives his best performance as the Master here, no longer being restrained by anything and letting loose with the Master’s inner unhinged monstrosities.

Honourable mentions go to ‘The Deadly Assassin’ and ‘The Sea Devils’.