The Doctor’s arch-nemesis is a Time Lord of impeccable sartorial tastes.
What the seven onscreen incarnations of The Master have lacked in kindness, compassion and empathy, they make up for in tailoring. And, in the end, isn’t that what really matters? We think so. Which is why we’re taking a thorough look at The Master’s styles down the ages. And keep a snake-eye out for some bonus versions thrown in just because we can.
The first Master to bear the title kicked off the tradition of the Time Lord switching up his look to suit his schemes. When not in disguise, this Master had a range of getups but often favoured a black Nehru jacket that evokes a Bond villain. On more than one occasion, he donned a dapper suit and even once had a cape to match his rival and old friend The Doctor.
Bonus: William Hughes
In several flashbacks, William Hughes has portrayed the Master at a young age being initiated into the Time Lord Academy. The dark haired, blue-eyed incarnation of the Master was only ever seen wearing Gallifreyan robes. It’s worth mentioning that this is not a young version of Delgado, since that incarnation was on his last legs (quite literally). Which would prove to be a problem when the role was taken over by…
Peter Pratt & Geoffrey Beevers
The version of The Master played by Peter Pratt and Geoffrey Beevers didn’t have a look so much as a style — crispy! Arguably, this is the same incarnation as Delgado but let’s not confuse ourselves. There are two different explanations for how this daring new look came about, depending on who you ask. But the result was this, the Crispy Master was a walking corpse: burnt, emaciated and driven mad by constant agony. Unable to regenerate, he set off the look with a cloak for maximum evil.
When The Master finally got his hands on a body…that came out wrong. While he kept the beard and even went in for the occasional cape, this new Master was more theatrical than any of his predecessors. Indeed his high-collared velvet tunic, puffy sleeves and black gloves would be at home in a production of ‘Richard III‘. After being stranded on the Cheetah Planet, his style shifted with a muted dark jacket being set off with a grey waistcoat and a blue cravat. He would also start experimenting with the cat eyes at this point.
Bonus: Jonathan Pryce
Seemingly taking inspiration from the Ainley incarnation, Jonathan Pryce and Steven Moffat constructed the campest Master yet. For the 1999 Comic Relief spoof ‘The Curse of Fatal Death‘, The Master donned Time Lord robes for a day of time travelling and architect bribing. When his evil scheme comes to fruition, he ditches it for a classic black jacket and breasts etheric beam locator bumps on his chest.
The Terminator called, even he thinks you’re trying too hard! When The Master clapped eyes on dishy paramedic Bruce, played by Eric Roberts, he simply had to have his body. That came out wrong. In this guise, The Master donned a dark coat and began peeling his fingernails off as a bold fashion statement. The sunglasses were both stylish and practical – they covered up the telltale demon cat-eyes! Given the chance, however, he ditched the grunge-era Village People look for elaborate Time Lord robes.
Jacobi’s tenure as the Master was intolerably brief (though Big Finish will soon fix that). He spent most of time as the bumbling, affable Professor Yana before his suppressed evil identity was unlocked. Sir Derek summoned more menace in those two minutes than Eric Roberts did in 90. And he did it all dressed up as a Victorian university lecturer. A little pretentious in amongst the last remnants of humanity where everyone else wears rags and mud. It’ll be interesting to see what style Big Finish craft for him. Speaking of Big Finish…
Bonus: Alex Macqueen & Mark Gatiss
Big Finish have created two Masters so far in their licensed audio adventures. The most prominent is probably Alex Macqueen’s incarnation who has faced three different Doctors so far. The first Master to rock the bald look, his style was otherwise more understated than his predecessors – a simple black suit with a white shirt and striped tie. Mark Gatiss’ Master – of the Unbound Universe – was less dignified. In his first appearance, he steals one of his victim’s clobber including a garish Union Jack tie.
The Simm Master was the first to inherit his debut look from his predecessor. However, he soon took on a plain suit with ominous black tie for his Harold Saxon persona. Vying to get elected Prime Minister, it isn’t surprising he adopted such a unremarkable style. His first ensemble oozes charm, stability and trustworthiness. Things got more interesting later. The half-dead and all-crazed Master made a bold statement with tattered hoodie and bleached blonde hair. For his imminent return, however, we’ve clocked a stylish black number not unlike his Delgado jacket. His comeback look features a beard very reminiscent of early incarnations and greying hair speaks to many adventures since his blonde phase. Luckily, the Simm Master has regained the laser screwdriver which was a staple of the incarnation to call back to old times.
Which brings us right up to date with The Master’s most daring look yet. The first Master to incorporate a woman’s body (though, oddly, not the first to have breasts) meant it was all change in the wardrobe. The Gomez incarnation (better known as ‘Missy’ for now-defunct dramatic reveal purposes) has been described as ‘Master Poppins’ for her signature umbrella and Victorian Nanny chic. She wore her hair up most often and set the style off rakishly with a selection of boater hats. Her main look comprised of a starched purple blouse, high-waisted skirt and brooch made of a dark star alloy. She was also the second Master to speak with an non-English accent, adopting a Scottish brogue that mirrored the Doctor’s current incarnation. After being imprisoned in the Vault for many decades, she began wearing her hair looser and occasionally sported driving gloves for TARDIS trips.
Bonus: That Snake!
That snake! Technically it’s a Deathworm Morphant, native to the planet Skaro. When executed by the Daleks, which is never a good look, the Master narrowly avoids extermination by taking over a passing creature. This version of the Master rocks a classic snake look with head, tail, teeth, vomeronasal and ability to shapeshift into a puddle of goo. Last seen following Eric Roberts home and forcing himself down the man’s throat. That came out wrong.