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All televised incarnations of the Master from 1971 to 2014

The Master is a recurring villain from the British science fiction show Doctor Who. He is a renegade Time Lord from the planet Gallifrey and was once a childhood friend of the Doctor, but would become his most cunning and powerful enemy. Unlike the Doctor, the Master is not content with merely exploring the universe; he has an insatiable appetite for power and domination over others and has hatched many elaborate and diabolical schemes to conquer the universe. While his plans are always thwarted by the Doctor, the Master also has an uncanny talent for escaping justice and even cheating death.

Incarnations

A Time Lord has thirteen lives, but the Master has lived well beyond a Time Lord's biological limits. He was already on his thirteenth life when he made his first appearance in the series and has since prolonged his life by possessing the bodies of other beings and even being resurrected through both scientific and arcane means. A list of the Master's major TV incarnations has been compiled below.

Original incarnation

The Master was portrayed by Robert Delgado between 1971 and 1973. This original incarnation was already on the final stage of the Time Lord's natural life cycle when he made his first appearance in the Third Doctor story "Terror of the Autons". Throughout this period, the Master spent most of his time on Earth, devising numerous schemes to conquer the planet whilst confounding the Doctor and the global peacekeeping force UNIT.

In the TV story "Frontier In Space", the Master forges an alliance with the Daleks in order to increase tensions between Earth and the Draconian Empire, hoping for both sides to go to war and cripple one another, allowing the Master to dominate both worlds whilst they are weak. This plot was foiled but the malevolent Time Lord was able to escape yet again after wounding the Doctor with a gunshot.

Deterioration

When the Master next appeared in the Fourth Doctor story "The Deadly Assassin", he was portrayed by Peter Pratt. He appeared in a heavily rotten, corpse-like state, revealing that he was at the end of his final regeneration. Desperate to prolong his life, the Master had attempted to acquire the artifacts of the ancient Time Lord leader Lord President Rassilon which would allow him to gain a new regeneration cycle. His plan to manipulate the Eye of Harmony was thwarted by the Fourth Doctor and he was presumed dead afterwards, but had escaped once more.

Appearing once more in "The Keeper of Traken", the Master - now portrayed by Geoffrey Beevers - was still in an emaciated state. He attempted to usurp the Source, centre of power of the Traken Union, and use it to prolong his life. While his scheme failed, he was able to transfer his consciousness into the body of a Traken scientist called Tremas. Tremas' own mind was completely overwritten by the Master, who would keep his body for several years.

Tremas

With the body of Tremas, the Master - now portrayed by Anthony Ainley - continued his quest to conquer the universe and to prolong his life. On several occasions, he came into conflict with the Doctor and even tried to manipulate his own people, the Time Lords. He even played a major part in the Sixth Doctor's trial on Gallifrey.

In an un-televised story, the Master was eventually captured and forced to stand trial. Taken to the Dalek homeworld Skaro and sentenced to death, his body was disintegrated and his remains were to be taken back to Gallifrey by the Doctor.

Bruce

In Doctor Who: The Movie, the Seventh Doctor was tasked with taking the Master's remains back to Gallifrey. However, as posited in the novelization of the television movie, the Master's self-alterations to extend his lifespan allowed him to survive his execution by transferring his mind into a snake-like entity called a "morphant".

Using his morphant body to break free from the container holding his remains, the Master sabotaged the TARDIS console to force the vessel to crash land in San Francisco at the start of Earth's new millennium. From there, the Master has the morphant enter the body of a paramedic named Bruce (portrayed by Eric Roberts) to take control of him. However, the Master finds his human host to be unsustainable as the body slowly begins to degenerate, although the Master has the added abilities to spit an acid-like bile as a weapon and a snake-like ability to hypnotise. The Master attempts to access the Eye of Harmony to steal the Doctor's remaining regenerations, but instead is sucked into it and supposedly killed.

Professor Yana

During the Time War between the Time Lords and the Daleks, the Time Lords resurrected the Master, giving him a new set of regenerations. The Master was brought back because the High Council believed that he would make the perfect warrior, but he instead fled from the war and went into hiding at the ends of the universe - literally. Travelling trillions of years into the future to the collapse of reality itself, the Master used a chameleon arch to turn himself human, concealing his Time Lord essence inside a fob watch.

For decades, the Master lived his life as a human, taking on the name of Professor Yana (portrayed by Derek Jacobi). Throughout his life, however, he was plagued by the constant sound of drumming inside his head, a condition he could never explain or fully comprehend.

In the episode "Utopia", the Tenth Doctor and his companions Martha Jones and Jack Harkness arrived in the year 100 trillion on the planet Malcassairo where Yana was constructing a rocket that would take the last of mankind to the fabled promised land of "Utopia" where they could survive the extinction of the universe. When Yana and the Doctor met, they seemed to form an immediate rapport and worked well together. The Doctor was clearly impressed by Yana's genius, though he had no idea of the Professor's true nature. That would change when Martha discovered that Yana carried a fob watch scrawled with Gallifreyan symbols, identical to the one that the Doctor had once used to turn himself human. Because of Martha's questions regarding the watch, Yana became curious and the perception filter on the watch was broken, allowing the Master's consciousness to reach out and urge Yana to open the watch, releasing his Time Lord essence.

Restored, the Master immediately began working to escape Malcassairo, electrocuting his assistant Chantho and sealing the Doctor and his friends outside of his lab with the cannibalistic Futurekind. Chantho, however, survived long enough to shoot the Master just as he was about to steal the Doctor's TARDIS. This caused the Master to regenerate into his next form.

Harold Saxon

After being fatally wounded by a laser blast, the Master underwent regeneration after locking himself inside the TARDIS. He was reborn with a younger, stronger body (portrayed by John Simm) and attempted to steal the TARDIS so that he could continue his plans for universal conquest. The Doctor managed to lock the TARDIS flight controls remotely, preventing the Master from going anywhere except the TARDIS' last location: 21st century Earth.

After arriving on Earth, the Master forged a new identity for himself under the name "Harold Saxon". He created false documents to throw off suspicion and went to work designing new technologies for the British military and UNIT. He also created Archangel, a global telecommunications network sustained by fifteen orbital satellites which transmitted a low-level psychic field that affected the whole planet, encouraging them to trust Saxon and vote for him in the upcoming British general election.

In 2008, Harold Saxon became Prime Minister of Great Britain. With his wife Lucy by his side, Saxon made the final preparations for his conquest of Earth. After turning the TARDIS into a paradox machine, he travelled forward to the end of the universe and found Utopia, where the last of humanity had fled. The Utopian humans had all but cannibalized themselves as they struggled to outlast the end of all creation, but thanks to the Master's paradox machine, they were able to travel back in time without completely destroying the flow of time. Naming these creatures as "Toclafane", Saxon presented them to the people of Earth as a benevolent alien race. In truth, they would be the Master's army and he would command them to decimate Earth's population. Despite the efforts of the Doctor and his friends (who had only managed to return to the 21st century after modifying Jack's vortex manipulator) the Master succeeded in conquering the entire planet.

Over the next year, as the Master ruled the world through fear, Martha Jones travelled across the Earth telling the story of the Doctor to the frightened masses, giving them a glimmer of hope. Just as the Master is ready to wage war on the rest of the universe and forge an empire, the Doctor is restored to strength by the efforts of Martha using the Archangel network. After the paradox machine is destroyed, all the events of the past year are erased from history with only the people on the bridge of the Valiant having any memory of what transpired.

The Master is then captured and the Doctor intends to keep him prisoner aboard the TARDIS, but this plan is dashed when the Master is suddenly shot by his emotionally broken wife Lucy. While the Master could have easily regenerated, he chooses not to in order to spite the Doctor. Before dying, he says to the Doctor "I win." The Master's body is later cremated, but an unseen individual later picks up the Master's ring from his funeral pyre.

The Master Race

In the 2009 Christmas special "The End of Time", the Master is resurrected by a group of fanatical zealots known as the Disciples of Saxon. Lucy Saxon, who was an essential part of the resurrection, manages to disrupt the ritual at the cost of her own life. She does not succeed in killing the Master outright, but the ritual was interrupted before completion and, as a result, the Master's physical form destabilizes. Though he gains superhuman abilities such as increased speed and the power to cast blasts of bioelectricity, his life force depletes at a constant rate, leaving him with an insatiable hunger. Ruined in body and mind, the Master flees to an abandoned construction site where he feeds on London's homeless.

The Master is later tracked down by the Doctor, but at the same time he is captured by the private army of Joshua Naismith. The wealthy aristocrat has come to possess an alien medical device which he is having repaired and intends to use in order to make his daughter immortal. Aware of the genius of "Harold Saxon", Naismith puts the Master to work on repairing the machine. The Master reconfigures the Immortality Gate for his own purposes and uses it to imprint his genetic template onto every human being, turning every man, woman and child into an exact duplicate of himself.

The Master race could all hear the incessant sound of drumming, the same noise that the Master had been hearing throughout his life ever since he looked into the Untempered Schism on Gallifrey, seeing the entirety of time itself. On the night of December 25th, an object fell to Earth which the Masters identified as a white-point star, a diamond that originates from Gallifrey. Realising that the drumming he had been hearing was actually a signal, the Master used the diamond to boost the signal by fitting it to a nuclear bolt. Because of this, the time-lock that the Doctor had put over the Time War was broken, causing Gallifrey to appear above the Earth.

As the Lord President Rassilon and his council arrived through the Immortality Gate, the Master announced he intended to transplant himself into the entire Time Lord race, just as he had done to the human race. Rassilon, using his gauntlet, reversed the effects of the Master's transplantation, and watched as Gallifrey returned to the universe on a collision course with Earth.

The President revealed his plans from the final days of the Time War, but the Doctor stepped in with a pistol given to him by Wilfred Mott. He shot the nuclear bolt, shattering the link. Rassilon prepared to kill the Doctor, but the Master told the Doctor to step out of the way. He unleashed his bio-electric blasts at the President, roaring that the Time Lords had manipulated him and made him the monster he had become, counting the beat of the rhythm that had resounded in his head and tormenting him all his life. The Time Lords, Gallifrey, and the Master then vanished in a burst of white light, and Gallifrey and the Time Lords were sent back into the hell of the final day of the Time War.


Genesis of the Cybermen

Whatever horrors awaited beyond the threshold of the Gate, the Master would survive them. He would later steal a TARDIS from the Time Lords' citadel and use it to escape the pocket dimension that Gallifrey was trapped in. He reappeared aboard a Mondasian colony ship where he took over Floor 1056, ruling the city as a tyrant. The Mondasians under his rule eventually rebelled and he was forced to flee, but because the colony ship was too close to the event horizon of a black hole, his TARDIS' dematerialization circuit had been burned out, leaving him stranded aboard the ship. With no way off the ship, the Master disguised himself and took on the identity of "Razor". Under this new guise, he infiltrated Operation: Exodus, the project that saw the Mondasians being converted into the original generation of Cybermen.

During Operation: Exodus, the colony ship was boarded by the Twelfth Doctor and his companions Nardole and Bill Potts, as well as the Master's next incarnation Missy. After Bill was mortally wounded on Floor 0000, she was taken to the hospital on Floor 1056 where she received a cybernetic chestpiece to replaced her disintegrated heart. "Razor" greeted Bill inside the hospital and told her about the patients undergoing cybernetic modification in order to survive the harsh environment they would be travelling to. He later brought her to the Conversion Theatre so that she could be fully upgraded into a Cyberman.

"Razor" later encountered Missy who was hacking into the ship's computer network. After meeting her, he removed his disguise and revealed himself to be Missy's former incarnation. Concerned for his future by the fact that Missy was trying to turn over a new leaf, the Master won her over with his own charm and the two villains regrouped with the Doctor just after he found the cyber-converted Bill, gloating over his failure to save her.

After two weeks of searching, the Master and Missy found disguised lifts, but Missy accidentally summoned the Cybermen in her attempt to escape. Unable to return to the Doctor's TARDIS due to how quickly time was moving on the floor of the Cybermen, the Doctor insisted that they had to prepare for a confrontation.

As the Doctor prepared to fight, the Master explained to Missy how he had blown the dematerialization circuit in his TARDIS, which was surrounded by Cybermen on the bottom floor. Missy, recalling an instance where a very scary woman had pushed him up against a wall and insisted that he always keep a spare dematerialization circuit, pushed the Master against the wall and insisted that he always keep a spare dematerialization circuit, revealing the spare circuit she kept on her person. Before departing, however, the pair asked what the Doctor's plan was, knowing that he wouldn't be able to save everyone on the ship. As the Doctor explained that he wanted to save these people simply because it was the right thing to do and tried to implore the Master to stand with him in the battle, the Master made his refusal of the offer known, and he left with Missy.

As they prepared to depart, Missy offered to hug the Master and, after stating her enjoyment for being him, she stabbed the Master in the back, mortally wounding him in order to force his regeneration into her. However, Missy made the wound precise so that the Master would have time to reach his TARDIS before the regeneration occurred. As he was helped into the lift, the Master asked Missy to explain herself, and she told him she planned to stand with the Doctor, believing they had been leading towards it their entire lives. Furious, the Master declared that he would never stand with the Doctor, and shot Missy in the back with his laser screwdriver at full blast, mortally wounding his future incarnation in a way he claimed had put her past the point of regeneration. Laughing, the Master declared that their perfect ending was always going to be "shooting themselves in the back." Still laughing and in pain, the Master returned to Floor 1056 in the lift, leaving Missy to allegedly die alone.

Missy

At some point after his botched resurrection, the Master regenerated again, this time into a woman (portrayed by Michelle Gomez). Adopting the nickname "Missy" (short for "Mistress"), she somehow managed to escape from the pocket dimension that Gallifrey was sealed in following the events of the Doctor Who 50th anniversary special.

Missy arrived on Earth in the 21st century and appeared briefly in several episodes of the eighth season, appearing before several individuals after their deaths. In the season finale episodes "Dark Water" and "Death in Heaven", it is revealed that Missy is the head of the 3W Institute, a worldwide funerary service for the rich and elite, at least on the surface. In truth, 3W is a cover for Missy's plot to build an army of Cybermen by transplanting the digitized minds of the dead (using a Gallifreyan trans-dimensional computer drive) into Cyber-converted cadavers.

Missy released an army of Cybermen from St. Paul's Cathedral in London and revealed her true identity to the Twelfth Doctor. She would later give the Doctor the choice of taking the Cyber-army for himself so that he could dominate the universe and keep it safe from any future threats. The point behind this scheme was that the Mistress wanted to prove that she and the Doctor were very much alike in spite of their rivalry, and in her own strange way wanted to salvage their past friendship. The Doctor refused the Mistress' offer and handed control of the army over to the Cyber-converted Danny Pink, who commanded the Cybermen to disperse the Cyber-pollen clouds in the atmosphere and destroy themselves.

Enraged by Missy's actions, the Doctor's companion Clara Oswald threatened to kill the Mistress with her own disintegrator weapon. The Doctor refused to let her do it, opting to do it himself to spare Clara's soul. However, the Doctor did not get the chance as Missy suddenly vanished into blue mist, apparently vaporised by a rogue Cyberman. However, Missy was not dead and had merely teleported away just before the Cyberman's blaster bolt struck her.

After a series of misdemeanours across time and space, Missy was captured by the inhabitants of a nameless planet and put on trial for all her crimes across the universe throughout all her lives. Her jailers decided that the Doctor was to carry out her execution. However, he sabotaged the execution machine so that she was knocked unconscious instead of being killed. After swearing an oath to guard Missy's "body" for a thousand years, the Doctor scared the executioners away and had Nardole place her inside a Quantum Fold Chamber.

While Missy was being held prisoner, the Doctor attempted to rehabilitate his old nemesis. In fact, Missy would provide valuable information for the Doctor on several adventures, gaining enough trust to be released from the Vault temporarily to provide more hands-on assistance. However, when the TARDIS materialized aboard a Mondasian colony ship, Missy would run afoul of her former incarnation who had become involved with the creation of the Cybermen.

While the Doctor was prepared to stand his ground and fight against the Cybermen, the Master attempted to manipulate Missy into leaving the Doctor's side. Missy appeared to agree with the Master and left with him, but later she drew a knife and stabbed him in the back, deciding that it was time to finally change and end her long-standing feud with the Doctor and told the Master to accept this destiny. The Master angrily stated that he would never side with the Doctor and drew his laser screwdriver, shooting Missy when she turned her back on him. As Missy lay dying, the Master gloated as he withdrew into an elevator that took him back to the ship's lowest levels where his TARDIS was waiting.

The Lumiat

Despite taking a full blast from the Master's laser screwdriver, Missy was still able to regenerate. Her regeneration takes place in the Doctor Who audio drama, "The Lumiat". This incarnation was voiced by Gina McKee.

Missy was able to create an Elysian field to "kick start a new regeneration cycle". The process of cryogenetic extraction destroyed her body but retained a copy of her consciousness before regeneration. The regenerated Missy, inspired by the Doctor, went out to do good in the universe and abandoned her previous identity as the Master to go under the name "the Lumiat". The Lumiat foiled several of her immediate predecessor’s schemes, causing Missy to believe the Lumiat was the Doctor. After revealing her identity, the Lumiat accompanied Missy on some trips, trying to act as a good influence on her. She also stole Missy's newly-rebuilt Tissue Compression Eliminator. However, she was mortally wounded by Missy after she "grew bored" of her, and was forced to regenerate, with Missy speculating that the next incarnation would not share the Lumiat's good nature. She subsequently dumped her on a random planet, where she completed her regeneration, screaming in pain, in view of some baffled villagers.

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