Today’s a day for mischief and mayhem, as The Mistress herself (couldn’t very well keep calling her The Master now, could we?) celebrates her birthday!
Before taking on the role of Missy, Michelle Gomez numerous appearances in British film and television. She played a staff liaison officer in The Green Wing and the deputy head in Bad Education. In 2014, she was revealed to be playing the part of the “Gatekeeper of the Nethersphere” in Series 8 of Doctor Who. This enigmatic character had a big secret to hide. She was, in reality, the rebellious Time Lord (sorry, Time Lady!) that everyone loves to hate!
Originally, Gomez was a potential castings for the character of Ms Delphox in Time Heist, (later played by Keeley Hawes). Steven Moffat saw Michelle’s name and knew she would be perfect for The Master. She simply couldn’t refuse! Missy made her debut at the very end of Deep Breath, welcoming the Half-Face Man to “Heaven”. She would repeat this greeting throughout the series to introduce deceased characters to the afterlife. It wasn’t until Dark Water/Death in Heaven that her true identity was revealed.
“Hello. I’m Missy. Welcome to Heaven. Would you like some tea?”
Missy was seemingly vaporised by the Cyber-Brigadier, only to reappear in the opening of Series 9, The Magician’s Apprentice/The Witch’s Familiar. Somehow, she escaped the Daleks, and became a focal point of Series 10’s story arc. Locked inside the Vault, The Doctor tried to turn her good – a plan that ended in the tragic World Enough and Time/The Doctor Falls…
Michelle received much acclaim for her portrayal of Missy as the bonkers, dastardly genius. Of course, she goes down in history as the first female incarnation of The Master, as well as the first on screen gender-swap regeneration. In a sense, she pioneered the way for Jodie Whittaker’s Thirteenth Doctor! Her impact on the Whoniverse doesn’t stop there though. She was secretly the “woman in the shop” who put The Doctor and Clara together in The Bells of Saint John. She also killed Osgood (well, one of them!) in cold blood on board the presidential plane. Bananas!