The Doctor has faced many foes over the years: Davros, the Daleks, the Cybermen, the Sontarans. But only one has truly stood the test of time as his equal.
What if The Doctor hadn’t used his Time Lord privileges for good, but for evil? That’s the impetus behind The Master, the renegade Time Lord gone wrong. Bringing this iconic Doctor Who villain to life was the job for the late, great Roger Delgado.
Delgado – already an established actor on stage, TV, film, and radio – made his debut appearance on Doctor Who in 1971. He began his reign as The Master in Third Doctor serial Terror of the Autons. This story also saw the introduction of Katy Manning as Jo Grant. Delgado later reappeared in a number of stories including The Claws of Axos, Colony in Space, The Daemons, and Frontier in Space. In each case, Delgado acted as the like-minded menace trying to thwart Jon Pertwee’s Doctor.
“You’ll do nothing! Or I’ll put a bullet through both your hearts…”
Originally, The Master’s was going to be written out of the show in one last serial, The Final Game. However, Delgado was sadly involved in a car accident in 1973 and passed away at the age of 55. This meant he could not make his planned farewell appearance on the show. And, as is obvious from history, The Final Game never saw the light of day.
Roger continues to be missed from the world of Doctor Who. Indeed, one of Jon Pertwee’s reasons for leaving was due to Delgado’s passing. However, his influence on Doctor Who lives on. His performances remain a fan favourite, and The Master is now one of the most prolific adversaries to The Doctor. It also paved the way for future regenerations such as Anthony Ainley, John Simm, and currently Michelle Gomez. The characteristics may be different, but the Delgado’s impact still remains for all to see.
Please join us in celebrating the work of Roger Delgado, who would have turned 99 today. Truly, he was a Master of his craft!