Roger Delgado
Roger Delgado

The Doctor has faced many foes over the years – Davros, the Daleks, the Cybermen, and the Sontarans, to name just a few… but only one has truly stood the test of time as his equal in almost every possible sense. What if The Doctor hadn’t used his Time Lord privileges for good, but instead for evil? That’s the impetus behind The Master, the renegade Time Lord gone wrong, who was first portrayed by 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, beginning his reign as The Master in the Third Doctor serial Terror of the Autons, which also saw the introduction of Katy Manning as Jo Grant. Following this success, Delgado reappeared in a number of subsequent stories such as The Claws of Axos, Colony in Space, The Daemons, and Frontier in Space, in each case acting as the like-minded menace attempting to thwart Jon Pertwee’s Doctor.

Originally, it had been planned that The Master’s story arc would be tied up and his character written out of the show in one last serial, The Final Game. However, in 1973 while filming another project, Delgado was sadly involved in a car accident and passed away at the age of 55. As such, he could not make his planned farewell appearance on the show, and The Final Game never saw the light of day.

Roger will continue to be dearly missed from the world of Doctor Who – indeed, Jon Pertwee has stated that Delgado’s passing was a reason behind his decision to leave the series – but his influence on the show will never be forgotten. His performances remain a fan favourite, and The Master lives on as one of the most prolific and iconic adversaries that The Doctor has ever had to face. The character may have regenerated countless times since then, but the blueprint laid out by Delgado’s incarnation still remains for all to see.

Please join us in celebrating the work of Roger Delgado, who would have turned 98 today – truly, he was a Master of his craft!


  1. If my memory serves me correctly my first recollection of Roger Delgado was in the ITV series “Sir Francis Drake” (Spanish Ambassador?) prior to becoming “The Master”. In my opinion he and John Simm have been best in that part, I’m not a “Missy” fan!

  2. He was a brilliant Master. Just phenomenal. I’ll be honest–my preference is for Ainley (though I think everyone who’s played the part has been great).

    But the role ultimately belongs to Delgado. He made one hell of a mark, and he is fascinating to watch in action: The epitome of cool, calm menace. It’s clear that he enjoyed the role, and it’s a pity that he died so young.

    Happy Birthday. Wish you were with us.


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