It can be argued that a hero is only as great as the villains he faces. And with someone as intelligent, as cunning and evil as The Master, its easy to see how the Doctor has become so popular. He has proven to be a worthy adversary of the Doctor for 46 years with 8 different incarnations of the villainous time-lord appearing on screen. But who played the best Master? I will be rating the portrayals from worst to best. It has to be said I don’t have a least favorite version The Master but I defiantly have a number one.
Please note that this is just my personal opinion and should not be mistaken for anything else.
Related Post: Who is the best incarnation of The Doctor?
8/8) Derek Jacobi’s Master
This incarnation of The Master was brilliantly played, the only reason he is last on my list is because Jacobi was only really The Master for about ten minutes. I loved the change from the sweet, good natured Dr Yana to the evil and bitter Master. However, sadly his time was very short lived.
7/8) Geoffrey Beever’s Master
I don’t believe there is a bad portrayal of the master however Beever’s portrayal is my least favorite. After how much The Master was present in ‘The Deadly Assassin’ I felt like this version of the master took more of a backseat within the story. However it should be noted that the master did achieve his goal of gaining a new body and he brought so much to the role.
6/8) Eric Robert’s Mater
This version of The Master is what made the TV-Movie so brilliant. He was evil, manipulative, melancholy and looked like The Terminator and Dracula all rolled into one. I was genuinely frightened of this master when I was a child. He was a creepy snake like creature who strangled his wife with his bare hands. He is not higher on the list because he only made the one appearance and although it was great, it left me pondering what could have been.
5/8) Peter Pratt’s Master
This Master was so brilliant because he was the polar opposite of his predecessor. This Master lost his elegance and charm and became driven solely on survival acting like a caged animal. I believe that if Pratt had portrayed The Master beyond the one story he would have become one of the best actors to portrayals The Master. However it has to be noted that his one portrayal was in one of the best story arc in Doctor Who history.
4/8) Michelle Gomez’s Missy
I love almost everything about Missy. I loved the whole season eight build up, to finally reveal who she actually was. I love the way Gomez plays the character and how brilliant her evil schemes are. However she falls short of the top three because of poor writing. I was really disappointed with the conclusion of ‘Death In Heaven’ and although her appearance in ‘The Magician’s Apprentice’ and ‘The Witches Familiar’ defiantly livened up the show, she didn’t really add anything to the story as Davros would have been enough for the story to progress. However she plays the character fantastically different way to her predecessors.
3/8) Roger Delgado’s Master
This is arguably Delgado’s defining role, and with good reason. He is the original, he is the reason the Master became a popular character and was brought again and again. He portrayed the character with charm and sophistication, but you could always see the evil in his eyes. He delivered each line brilliantly and had a fantastic chemistry with Pertwee which made every appearance a classic one.
2/8) John Simm’s Mater
Simm’s Master was so brilliant because for me he broke the mold. He was the youngest actor to play The Master by at least 15 years and brought with it a new burst of energy and life. I loved how The Master and The Doctors relationship had developed through out his time on the show and how The Time War had effected them both. This Master concord planet earth twice and became some what of an anti-hero by stopping his own race to save it. So I think he deserves the number two spot.
1/8) Anthony Ainley’s Master
There could be no other portrayal at number one for me. Ainley lived for the role of The Master and it showed in every appearance he made. This master faced 4 incarnations of The Doctor, proving him to be the most versatile of the incarnations. He was a master of disguise and often predicted the moves of The Doctor, setting up countless plans and back up plans, providing The Doctor with a truly formidable adversary. It should also be noted this Master is the only one to have successfully killed The Doctor making him the obvious choice for the top spot.