Our Top 5 Picks on Who Could Play the Master on Doctor Who

Back in March,  Sylvester Mc Coy–who portrayed the enigmatic seventh Doctor in the classic Doctor Who series—gave an interview with Zap2it at the Newcastle Film and Comic Convention, where he reported that he had inside information on the return of the Doctor’s arch rival, the Master. According to McCoy, the newest incarnation of the Master will be “very, very  scary”.  Furthermore, there is a picture from this season of a shrunken TARDIS (see below) and we all know that in the classic series, the Master loved to shrink things.


Even if McCoy is just having some fun at the expense of the fans, the Master could return eventually. If so, who should be the new Master if Doctor Who Executive Producer/Show-Runner Steven Moffat decides to bring the character back to vex the Doctor again?

The key to casting the Master is to make him a dark mirror image of the Doctor himself. He needs to be a shadowy reflection of the Doctor. Look at the original Master, so excellently played by the late Roger Delgado. He was a perfect match for the third Doctor as played by Jon Pertwee—Suave, elegant, cool, urbane, classy, debonair and charming. A‘gentleman villain’. He was about the same age as Pertwee and had the same aura of confidence and authority. In every way, he was a perfect foil.

Anthony Ainley’s Master began during the later Tom Baker era, but developed mostly over the course of the Peter Davison years, and so he was a younger, more in-your-face and  blatant version of the character, which contrasted well with Tom Baker’s larger-than-life grandeur and Davison’s overt emotion. John Simm was totally manic, frenzied and frantic, in order to out-hyper the hyperactive David Tennant. The two were about the same age and build.

Of course, we don’t know exactly what Capaldi’s Doctor will be like as yet. However we do know—based on what Moffat has said—that he will be “mad and difficult and dangerous” and more in the style of classic Doctor’s than his immediate predecessors David Tennant and Matt Smith. We also know his age and physical type.

With that in mind, here are a few suggestions for who could play the Master opposite Capaldi…

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Iain Glen-Fans of Game of Thrones will know him as Jorah; brave warrior and adoring follower of Daenerys Targaryen. True he’s been in Doctor Who before, as Octavian in “Flesh & Stone/Time of the Angels”, but that’s not a deal breaker. After all, both Colin Baker and Peter Capaldi appeared as other characters in Doctor Who before portraying the Doctor. (So did Nicholas Courtney, Ian Marter and Freema Agyeman) Besides, he’s a Scotsman and it would be fun to hear the backlash from those irate fans who complain about Moffat’s “Scottish agenda”. 1-rickman 7

Alan Rickman-I don’t think I have to say very much about this man’s history of playing nasty villains. He’s made a career out of portraying sinister bad guys. From Die Hard to Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves to Harry Potter, Rickman has always been masterful as the guy you love to hate.


Idris Elba-A powerful actor with great intensity. He’s been a God (Thor), and monster fighter (Pacific Rim) a maverick cop-on-the-edge (Luther) and Nelson Mandela (Mandela: the Long Walk to Freedom). He has the range to play the nefarious Master. Since so many people wanted a black Doctor and didn’t get one, how about a black Master instead. The only problem with him being cast as the Master is that it means he couldn’t be the 13th Doctor.


Charles Dance-Another Game of Throne alumni. Since he was killed off on that show, the BBC should snatch him up quickly to play the next Master. If he brings the same gravitas to the Master as he did to Tywin Lannister, he’d be an incredible Master.


Bill Nighy-A talented and versatile veteran actor. He always has a lot of work lined up but hopefully he could fit some time for Doctor Who into his busy schedule. Like Glen, he’s been on Doctor Who before, but as explained above, that’s easily overlooked. It’s happened before and no one had a problem with it. Nighy is always good and he’d make a great Master.

Who would you like to see as the next Master?