Origin : Gallifrey
[Describing the Doctor]"Do you know? He has an excellent brain, that man ......! Though a little pedestrian! But oh dear, what a bore the fellow is!" The Master
The character of the Master was the next logical step up from the Meddling Monk, who had appeared in the First Doctor serial The Time Meddler - 1963.
The Meddling Monk himself was a bumbling, time travelling opportunist, who was attempting to alter Earth history for his own ends.
The Master on the other hand; was more intelligent, more calculating and every much the Doctor's contemporary. They were both Renegade Time Lord's on the run from the Time Lord's.
However, that's were the similarities ended, as the Doctor was looking to travel and for a quiet life. The Master on the other hand, was looking for total power - in one form or another, with himself at the centre, as absolute ruler.
He was a calculating Machavellian character, nefarious in his purposes and happy to use alien races as pawns in his diabolical schemes.
He was a master of disguise and could hypnotise victims into carrying out his evil bidding. He also carried a modified sonic screwdriver, which could stun or kill his opponents.
He did, however hold a begrudging respect for the Doctor (as the Doctor did for him) and on the few times the two agreed to work together, (to get them both out of a pickle!) they bounced off each other brilliantly.
The Master had a Tardis, (like the Doctor) but it was a fully functioning MK-II model, with a working Chameleon circut; which allowed him to conceal it within any environment he chose to land it in.
The Master first appeared during the Third Doctor's reign, in Terror Of The Auton's - 1971, played by Rodger Delgado.
During this time, the Master became very much a thorn in the Doctor's side and one of the most popular Who villains. He appeared in 8 of the Third Doctor's first 20 episodes. He was a regular fixture right throughout season 8 and underpinned the storyarc of the whole season.
Mind Of Evil - 1971, Claws Of Axos - 1971, Daemons - 1971 and Sea Devils - 1972.
[When asked how to survive a Nuclear explosion] "....Oh nothing very much.... I suppose you can take the normal precautions against a nuclear blast, like sticky tape on the windows and that sort of thing!" The Master
He would usually be revealed aiding and abetting an Alien race, for his own undisclosed purposes : Nestene, Dalek's, Axxon's, Daemon's and Sea Devils. Usually leaving them to their fate, when the tide turned against them.
In Colony In Space, 1971 the Master masqueraded as an Adjudicator between warring Human Colonists and a Mining Corporation on the planet Uxarieus. What he was really looking for, was information on a Doomsday Weapon, buried in an Ancient city which he planned to acquire and threaten the cosmos with.
Frontier In Space - 1974, was the Delgado Master's last appearance, attempting to stoke up a war between Humans and Draconian's, involving the Dalek's (Delgado died shortly after). The Master character did not then figure again until the Fourth Doctor's reign. He did however, end the serial on something of a cliffhanger, shooting the Third Doctor and leaving him for dead.
There was a problem in retiring the Master character - after Delgado's death, he was too brilliant a character to relegate to Who history. The Master was someone who could equal and even surpass the Doctor, this made him the perfect enemy.
One must rule or serve. That is the basic law of life! Why do you hesitate? Surely it's not loyalty to the Time Lords, who exiled you to one insignificant planet?" The Master
However, who could follow in Delgado's footsteps? In The Deadly Assassin - 1976, the decision was made to bring the Master back but with a difference. His 13th and final regeneration was up, but instead of accepting his Timelord fate, he somehow managed to preserve his body unnaturally, till it began decaying and falling apart.
It worked round the Delgado problem (somewhat) and this time the Master was behind a koo d'tau on the Gallifreyan high council. Attempting to take over whilst implicating the Fourth Doctor as an assassin of the High Chancellor.
Now, the Master had acquired and developed tissue shrinking technology and his discarded victims were usually shrunken to doll size and their lifeless bodies stashed somewhere for the Doctor to find later.
The Corpse Master returned again in the Keeper Of Traken - 1981, using his Tardis in chamelion form to impersonate a gollum alien rock beast on the planet Traken. He was attempting to harness a Trakenite energy source (known as the Source) to give himself new Regenerations.
The Fourth Doctor was able to foil him again but the Rotting Master corpse was able to secure a new temporary host body - a Trakenite Scientist called Tremas, by melding his mind to the unfortunate victims body.
The new Master - played by Anthony Ainley; was reinvigoured enough in his new body; to set out to destroy the Doctor once and for all.
"You killed my father? [Tremas]" Nyssa "But his body remains useful!" Master
In Logopolis - 1981, the Fourth Doctor was visited the Logopolitan's, to use their advanced mathematical equations to repair his own Tardis Chamelion circut. Whilst the Doctor was busy with this, the Master struck.
Using his tissue compactor to kill the whole race of Logopolitan's one by one, the resulting gap left the Universe about to collapse in on itself (the Logopolitan's mathmatics balanced the Universe out seemingly).
The Doctor returned to Earth, in a desperate attempt to use a giant Satellite tracking dish to close up the resulting black hole which was sucking in and destroying the Universe.
The Master followed him and in the ensuing fight on top the Satellite relay tower, the Fourth Doctor plunged to his death, where he was forced to regenerate into the Fifth Doctor. The Master looked on and then promptly took off in his Tardis.
The Fifth Doctor was suffering from serious post regeneration stress disorder and took the Tardis to Castrovalva in Castravalva - 1981, a planet of eternal peace and quiet, in an attempt to rest and overcome his regeneration stress.
Castravalva was another Master trick and the Doctor was lucky to escape being trapped in a temperal time loop, as the illusion crumbled around him.
The Master was lucky to escape from Castravalva aswell and was bounced back into Earth prehistoric times in Time Flight - 1982, his Tardis damaged.
The Master then turned up in The King's Demon's - 1983, using a shape changing robot called Kamelion to impersonate a king and meddle in the affairs of Medieval England.
The Fifth Doctor was able to wrestle Kamelion away from the Master and steal it away in his Tardis.
The Master was then summoned by the Timelord's in The Five Doctors - 1983 to go into the Games Of Rassilon in the Timelord Death Zone and retrieve all 5 incarnations of the Doctor. They had all been 'scooped' out of time and trapped in the deathzone to do battle with a host of monsters, which had also been scooped out of time.
The end of the game was when somebody or something survived long enough to reach the Tower of Rasillon and gain the prize of immortality. Like Alice I try to believe three impossible things before breakfast!
In return for saving the Doctor, the Timelord's promised the Master a new set of Regenerations, something he couldn't turn down as he was still using the 'temporary' body of Tremas.
On entering the Death Zone, the Master was unable to persuade his Third and Fifth Incarnation's he was there to aid them. Instead, he sidelined himself with the Cybermen after being captured by them and then double crossed them later, murdering them all in a Rassilon electrified floor trap.
The Master next appears in Planet Of Fire - 1984 sporting a cool black Tardis interior, attempting to reconnect his mind with Kamelion (the shape changing robot) to help him after a disastorous experiment with his tissue compactor had shrank him and his Tardis to Borrower size.
The Master Journeyed to the volcanic planet of Sarn, to use 'Numismaton' Gas to restore his size. With the Fifth Doctor's interference, Kamelion is destroyed and the Master apparently burns or shrinks whilst trying to harness the Numismaton gas in a chamber.
The Master was to return in The Mark Of The Rani - 1985, aiding the female renegade Timelord - the Rani to subdue an 18th Century Earth mining village. The Sixth Doctor was able to boobytrap the Rani's Tardis, whilst the Master and the Rani were busy bickering. This sends it hurtling forward in time at a great rate of knots.
The Master returned, wreaking havoc on the Tinelord High Council in Trial Of A Timelord - 1986 by stealing control of the Timelord Matrix. This time, the Master wasn't particularly out to get the Doctor, namely the Valeyard - the Doctor's evil alter ego. After stealing control of the Matrix and plugging it into his Tardis, the feedback overwhelmed the Master causing tine and space to slow to a near standstill. Afterward, the Doctor left the Master in the capable hands of the Timelords to be punished.
The Master then appeared in the Seventh Doctor's serial called Survival - 1989. This serial was notable on two counts : it was Anthony Ainley's last original series appearance and the very last episode of Doctor Who before the show was axed.
The Master, having been trapped on an alien world populated by human-like cheetah's, was slowly turning into a Cheetah being himself, caused by exposure to the strange planet.
He used his resourcefulness to summon the Seventh Doctor through a time portal on Earth, for a final showdown.
"You are all animal now! You're so weak, your will devoured!... a stronger mind will hold on to itself longer. A will as strong as mine... how much longer? If I am to suffer this degradation, this humiliation, if I am to become an animal then like an animal I will destroy you, Doctor! I will.... Hunt you, trap you, and destroy you. Probably my favourite of all!" The Master
As the planet began to break up around them, the Doctor and the Master fought for survival. The Doctor was able to escape the Cheetah world, leaving the Master to his fate.
The last appearance of the Master character played by Gordon Tipple and Eric Roberts was in Doctor Who - The Movie, 1996. This was something of a confused twisting of the Doctor Who history.
Judged by the Dalek's on Skaro, the Master was sentenced to death and exterminated. His last request was for the Seventh Doctor to pop by and pick up his ashes and return them to Gallifrey.
Whilst transporting them, the master escapes the casket as an energy being in the shape of a snake and forces the Tardis to crashland in San Francisco. The Seventh Doctor is mortally wounded and regenerates into the Eighth Doctor, whilst the Snake form Master possesses one of the Paramedic's that come to his aide.
Using this new body, the Master gains entry to the Doctor's Tardis and attempts to open the Tardis's central power source, known as the Eye Of Harmony.
The Eighth Doctor manages to return to the Tardis and in the struggle that follows, the Master falls into the Eye Of Harmony and is destroyed (seemingly!).
And that marked the end of the original series Master character. There were hints that he and the Doctor had much previous history. The Master talked a lot of their times at the Academy together during their meetings. Indeed, in Planet Of Fire, as the Master burned in the Numismaton fire he was about to suggest that the Doctor and he might have even been related. Although, this could have been a desperate last minute plea for mercy.
But the Master was a constant thorn in the Doctor's side always turning up like a bad penny - with another diabolical scheme to beat the last one.
The Master was always trying to tempt the Doctor to join in with his plans. One can imagine that sometimes the Doctor may have been tempted to, even if somewhat fleetingly. Especially where the scheme was against the Timelords themselves; who both the Doctor and the Master were on the run from.
Introducing the Master was... to use a pun - a masterstroke! He could out think the Doctor which made him dangerous and interesting to opponent to watch. Sometimes, the Doctor could be arrogantly derogatory about lesser races but he couldn't be about the Master, as in the end - they were much the same; only separated by a thin line of brilliance/insanity.
“[Anthony Ainley on playing the Master]
It is an added hazard doing parts somebody else has done. The obvious risk is that you may be compared, thought not to be as good. I don’t think I was ever in real trepidation because the Master is such a good part and such a joy to do.”
Master's Pick :
Terror of the Autons, 1971 - Master's Delgado's opener
Claws Of Axos, 1971 - The Master dodges Unit and Axonn's to save his own neck
Colony In Space, 1971 - Master cameo steals the show looking for the Doomsday weapon
Deadly Assassin, 1976 - Rotting Corpse Master plays the Timelords
Logopolis, 1981 - The Master finally gets the better of the greatest Doctor of all
The Five Doctors, 1983 - The Master hams it up gloriously
Planet Of Fire, 1985 - Cool black Tardis and a very Delgado-ish costume for Ainley
Survival, 1989 - His last, terrible serial but strangely watchable