back to article What a plot of nonsense: Ten Master master plan FAILS

“I am the Master, and you will obey me.” He was the Professor Moriarty to the Doctor’s Sherlock Holmes, another renegade Time Lord and always out to conquer the universe - or destroy it. The Master The vicar of diaboly Source: BBC There’s a fan theory that the Master was no megalomaniac at all, but an agent of the Time …


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  1. Richard Taylor 2 Silver badge

    Bath humbug

  2. Mage Silver badge


    Anyone else find those a bit Bamford and a little confusing. Reminds me how many Series I didn't see though.

    1. TRT Silver badge

      Re: Hello?

      Of course there is no mention of his latest fiendish plot to confuse El Reg readers by remotely nobbling the keyboard drivers of the El Reg hacks.

      1. Paul 185

        Re: Hello?

        I couldn't actually finish this article because it's so hard to follow;

        "they none of then anything on the Time Lords’ APC Net " - seriously, that's not just a spelling mistake, that's multiple grammatical errors creating one big pile of nonsensical nonsense. Yes, double nonsense. It's grammatical.

        1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

          Re: Hello?

          "they none of then anything on the Time Lords’ APC Net"

          Pretty sure that was meant to be "none of them have anything on...". I agree the piece had an unfortunate number of errors of this sort. It could certainly have used another pass copy-editing.

          I'd also have appreciated a mention of the story title and Doctor's incarnation for each of the segments, since I've never seen some of them, and others I barely remembered.

  3. J.G.Harston Silver badge

    A send-off just like Darth Vader’s?

    Ming the Merciless's.

    1. Toxteth O'Gravy

      Re: A send-off just like Darth Vader’s?


  4. Andrew Moore

    No mention...

    ...of Dobby the House Doctor.

  5. returnmyjedi

    I'm normally a fan of Mr Simm, but found his scenery gorging turn as the master utterly unconvincing. Why they didn't just stick with Jacobi once he got his memory back is beyond me.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Cadfael for the Master

      "Why they didn't just stick with Jacobi once he got his memory back is beyond me."

      Yeah- I have to be honest, I'd only known Jacobi as some thesp who'd done lightweight medieval detective fluff for Sunday night ITV (i.e. Cadfael, which to be fair I'd never actually watched because I'm not into Sunday Night ITV dramas) and wasn't too enamoured with the prospect of him as the Master.

      Then when he regained his memory, and turned into a rather convincingly ruthless Master, I was actually bloody impressed and realised he could be rather good in the role.

      So, of course, we got John Simm chewing up scenery instead.

      (AFAIK, Jacobi is apparently quite in demand in Hollywood et al, and probably couldn't have met the demands of filming Who on a regular basis. And to be fair, I found Simm a bit better in one of the later episodes- "Last of the Time Lords", I think- though that may be because his OTT unhingedness was better in that context).

      1. Simon Harris Silver badge

        Re: Cadfael for the Master

        Well, I never knew that before... Utopia wasn't the first instance of Jacobi playing the master.

        His first masterly outing turned out to be Scream of the Shalka, a flash animation on the BBC website to mark the 40th Anniversary of Dr Who in 2003, 2 years before the TV series recommenced.

        Derek Jacobi has, of course, played rather more than lightweight mediaeval detective stuff, including (IT angle coming up) Alan Turing in Breaking The Code, both in the stage and film versions.

        1. hammarbtyp Silver badge

          Re: Cadfael for the Master

          And of course he ensured the 9th Doctor's demise in the Dr Who episode I Claudius.

          or maybe I'm thinking about something else. To be honest I see british luvvies so many times in so many things they all start to blend into one huge TV series

          1. Gio Ciampa

            Re: Cadfael for the Master

            And then shacking up with a Plasmavore in Halifax

            (with the Adipose (super) nanny in tow for good measure...)

    2. Robert Carnegie Silver badge


      Harold Saxon and a strange anti-Doctor conspiracy had already appeared in present-day Britain by the time we saw Derek Jacobi. Regenerating into John Simm was the surprise reveal.

      In a behind-the-scenes programme, Derek Jacobi said, without mentioning alternative commitments, that he'd have relished spending more time being evil as The Master. But the plan was to Simm him.

      And it wouldn't be a surprise if we could see it was him all along. I suppose he could have teamed up with the Slitheen this time and got a human skin costume of his own - but the Slitheen had already had one go (actually successful, briefly) at taking over the British government. And there's, er, the gas problem.

    3. jason 7 Silver badge

      Yes when they let Jacobi be The Master, I thought "Oh that's inspired!" and then they changed him almost straight away to Simm it was "oh that's predictable and disappointing!!"

    4. NogginTheNog
      Thumb Up

      Oh yes!

      John Simm is a fantastic actor, but his Master was woefully misjudged (probably by everyone's favourite hero/villain RTD?). Dereck Jacobi would have been much better.

  6. Mike Richards

    'threatening to open the many tiny holes in the skin of space'

    Long time since I saw it, but wasn't the devilishly beard-stroking plan to *close* the holes, making the Universe a closed thermodynamic system in which entropy would continue to increase?

    We could do with a bit more thermodynamic doohickies in the new season rather than the 'it'll all be all right if I wave my sonic and everyone loves one another' bollocks.

  7. Alister Silver badge

    "god of see-through toilet paper, Azal."

    I could do with some toilet roll - or kitchen roll - now.

    1. Isendel Steel

      But not Izal - bloody useless stuff - good tracing paper though

  8. graeme leggett

    Mostly bad plans but also mostly not bad entertainment

    A long while back I bought a book "Licence Denied" , it was a collection of (the best of?) Who fandom writing and it included an essay on "why the Master is the most rubbish Doctor Who enemy ever" or a title to that effect. And it was right. Most of the time he was a rubbish baddie but he was fun. IMO up to Roberts and Sims anyway.

    The Master is good at exploiting people. Half the time he doesn't need to use the hypnotism ("I am the Master and you will obey me") because he exploits the weak , the disaffected, the gullible through their own desires (patriotism, envy, greed etc) and they want him to take control. Perhaps that's why the Sims Master isn't so good.

    PS I can understand not mentioning Time-Flight, I'm not sure even Peter Grimwade can explain that one, but no Castrovalva?

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Mostly bad plans but also mostly not bad entertainment

      But he fell foul of the Rickman law. In any movie always shoot the actor with the beard and the posh English accent - he is bound to be a supervillian

    2. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Re: Mostly bad plans but also mostly not bad entertainment

      PS I can understand not mentioning Time-Flight, I'm not sure even Peter Grimwade can explain that one, but no Castrovalva?

      Eh? Castrovalva is discussed explicitly on the final page of the article, and Time Flight is alluded to ("all that business hijacking Concorde").

  9. Iain Griffiths

    Anthony Ainley was rather badly served by his scripts - JNT wanted the pantomime villain and forced AA to camp it up big style. According to some sources AA's did give a much more complex performance only to be told to be more camp.

    Wish there was some footage of those performances to compare.

    There's a lovely fan interview recording of AA talking about Dr Who as he's driving about. .

  10. Adam White


    Logopolis is probably the best Doctor Who episode ever. It's got the freaky mystical Watcher, a subplot about advanced mathematics, a cool new room in the TARDIS, a main plot about advanced mathematics, evil policemen, a planet-sized computer made of alien monks that controls the universe, the Master at his most Masterous, two giant radio-telescopes AND the death of the fourth Doctor. Nice work.

    1. NogginTheNog

      Re: Logopolis

      Agreed: I still smile when I hear the Tardis Cloister Bell in the New Series at moments of dire emergency (or dire plot? Take your pick).

      No mention of the prelude to the Master's full return in Logopolis though, The Keeper Of Traken? This features the transition from the old Deadly Assassin living corpse Master in to the new shiny bearded AA one.

    2. Rukario

      Re: Logopolis

      Except we had to put up with Adric.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I thought this was going to be an announcement of The Ten Masters in which Roger Delgado, Peter Pratt, Geoffrey Beevers, Anthony Ainley, Gordon Tipple, Eric Roberts, Jonathan Pryce, Derek Jacobi and John Simm team up to defeat the Doctor with an android duplicate of Jack Hobbs...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Damn...

      The recent Alastair Reynolds book features 100s of Masters...

  12. Wiltshire

    With this device I can rule the world!

    No history of The Master would be complete without a few product placements.

    "With this device I can rule the world" was my favourite Master utterance.

    Even as we speak, he's probably working on some iDevice to sneak into Apple's product lifecycle.

    1. ThomH

      Re: With this device I can rule the world!

      With this device I can rule 13% of the smartphone-buying world!

      1. TRT Silver badge

        Re: With this device I can rule the world!

        An apple a day...

        Mwah ha ha ha!

  13. Whitter

    The Colony in Space

    Or The Doomsday Weapon if you'd rather.

    A decent enough Master-plan with quite a sad ending as I recall.

  14. NightFox

    "it’s hard not to conclude that the face fungus-sporting, suit-wearing and unhinged renegade Time Lord in Patrick Troughton’s swansong, The War Games isn’t actually the Master"

    Sorry, I'm still trying to pick my way through this. Surely there's one too many (or few) negatives in there?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      and surely "other renegade Time Lords are available" is an equally good answer to the War Chief question.

      it's not like there haven't been others (Borusa, Goth, Morbius...)

  15. Petrea Mitchell

    The Claws of Axos

    Simply because it contains my favorite Delgado bit ever: Having finally schemed his way into capturing the Doctor's TARDIS for his own use, the Master looks over the decrepit equipment and the state of the Doctor's haphazard attempts to get it working again, and finally mutters, "Might as well try flying a secondhand gas stove!"

  16. Mike Perrin

    Roger Delgado IS The Master

    I'm sorry, but who are these impostors trying vaguely to carry off his look (and failing)?

    Roger Delgado was a fine actor over many years (e.g Quatermass II) and I am sure that the reason he was re-used in so many stories in the Pertwee era was because he made a good (evil) foil for Jon Pertwee's decent chap. Delgado had great screen presence, and was a favourite with the fans at the time, as I recall. "You will obey me.." I still remember it forty years on.

    It's like original Davros versus the subsequent diluted versions; the original is the best. RIP Mr Delgado, I still miss you.

  17. David Given

    The Mark of the Rani?

    Please tell me we haven't skipped over the Master's ultimate least great moment, which is when he gets kneed in the groin by the Rani? (Who, for my money, is a much more interesting antagonist than the Master --- she's not evil, just amoral. And her total lack of patience for the Master's moustache-twirling is a joy to behold.)

  18. William Boyle

    Yes, they were cheesy...

    But they were sooo much fun! RIP Roger.

  19. ChristinaRomana

    Regarding The Master, you may be interested in this;

    There's a youtube clip going around of the apparent next 'regeneration' of The Master who will be facing off against Capaldi in the forthcoming series.

    According to several tweets by tweeter '@jamesstoker1963' The Master maybe returning for the Christmas episode and beyond.

    He's tweeted a youtube audition clip with these details:

    "I got this apparent audition clip from a youtube user account IzzyAlive (which now seems to have been deleted) who claimed: "A friend of mine in an actors co-operative agency got sent this clip with 4 others in an email that they'd been 'CC'D into when casting another show I can't mention. The other 3 clips were relevant to the show they were casting but this one was marked:

    'The Master DW2014' (Moff select final review clip).

    I don't know who the actor is but maybe they're going with an 'unknown' to play The Master after casting a 'known' actor in Peter Capaldi to play the 12th Doctor? I guess we'll find out soon enough"

    You can see the clip at:

    Looks pretty cool for an audition clip and this 'Master' certainly has a creepy edge.

    Happy 50th Doctor Who and here's to the next 50!

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