Top 10 Actors who should play The Master in Doctor Who

Here are my top 10 choices for who the Master in Doctor Who. This is of course assuming John Simm (who is still as of the writing of this article the incumbent in the role) does not want to come back. Contrary to popular belief, Simm does not shun Doctor Who or its fans. He says he is very proud to have been a part of it, however I think, though I am not 100 percent sure, that he is done with the character. He generally seems to talk about it as though its in the past, rather than as if he is still the current Master. If Simm did want to reprise his role, I would be more than happy. I enjoyed his performance as the Master tremendously. However since he does appear to have left the role, these are the men who I think would be good as his replacement.


10/ Michael Wincott

Michael Wincott is an actor who is known for playing mostly villains characters. By far and away my favourite performance of his is as Topdollar, the main villain in “The Crow”.  Topdollar is a truly loathsome character. Among his many crimes include stabbing his lackeys in the throat with a sword, throwing young girls off of roof tops for fun and organising the rape, and brutal murder of the main heroes girlfriend. And to top it off he regularly shags his sister too!

If Wincott were to be cast as the Master, I think he would take us back to the Peter Pratt/Geoffrey Beavers type of Master. Their version of the character was more gritty, hands on and in some ways terrifying than the other Masters. Most interpretations of the character portray him as a gentlemanly type of villain, but the deformed Master is a truly degenerate, pathetic creature, who is only kept alive, even when in the worst agony, by his intense hatred of his mortal foe.

Wincott I think would similarly give us a more degenerate Master one who was a lot more hateful and frightening, which would mark a good contrast with John Simm, who arguably gave us the most sympathetic version of the character to date.

9/ David Warner

Now I was not sure to put him here as Warner I honestly think would be a great Doctor too. He has played the Doctor in two Audio stories set in an alternate universe, and he was excellent in them. With Capaldi’s casting, the door has been opened for an older actor to play the role once again, why not Warner?

However I am going to put his name here anyway, as I really do think he would be a perfect Master too.

Throughout his career Warner has played a number of charming, affable villains, though at the same time as his performance in Hornblower attests he could also bring a really fanatical side to the character too. Too date Warner has only had one on screen role in Doctor Who, but it was a relatively small one, so he could still play the Master and I think he would ace it.

8/ Jason Watkins

Now Watkins has been in Doctor Who before in the episode “Nightmare in Silver” as a very minor role. Personally I think he should be given a bigger role even if he doesn’t get to play the Master, as he is a damn fine actor who was criminally wasted in that episode. Watkins is most famous for playing the evil Vampire Herrick in “Being Human”. Watkins was perfect at playing the charming, intelligent, icy, sly villain who is a master at manipulating people and flies into a vicious rage when provoked. His Master would be comparable to Donald Pleasance as Blofeld.

7/ Benedict Cumberbatch

Not an original choice I know. Cumberbatch was rumoured to play the role back in 2011. Many felt he would have been the perfect Master opposite Smith’s Doctor. Sadly however this never happened, and most fans appear to have given up on Cumberbatch as the Master.

I still say though that he could be quite a good match for Capaldi’s Doctor too. It might be quite good to have the Master played by a much younger actor than the Doctor.

Cumberbatch could easily play a villain. I was not too happy with his Khan, but I think that was just because he was miscast. He would be a much better fit for the Master. I must admit though whilst I think he would be good, it would feel like it was pandering to the fans wishes for a Doctor Who/ Sherlock crossover too. Maybe its best to go for someone else.

6/ Reece Shearsmith

Now I know what your thinking that Shearsmith is a comedic actor and wouldn’t take the role seriously enough. However you’d be wrong as he is actually a very talented serious actor as well, as evidenced by his stellar performance as the serial killer Malcolm Webster. Shearsmith is a lifelong Doctor Who fan too, and thus if given an opportunity to play such an important and iconic character would treat it very seriously. However if Shearsmith were given the role, due to his close friendship with Gatiss I suspect most people would probably think it was because of nepotism.

5/ Christopher Heyerdahl

Now I know many of you will probably not know who this is. He is a character actor who has been in a number of tv series, with his most famous role arguably being that of the twister Demon torturer Alistair in Supernatural. Personally I found him to be the most frightening villain in the entire series. He would play the Master as a genuinely unhinged character like John Simm, but again it would be in a less sympathetic and more grotesque way.

4/ Charles Dance

Yeah I know you’ll all be thinking why isn’t he number 1. Well personally I wouldn’t rate him number 1 and that is my opinion. Also everyone else has rated him the as number 1 choice anyway. By this point if he doesn’t play the role, I imagine there will be a national outrage! With this in mind I don’t have to explain why Dance would be perfect do I? Very few people are as menacing and have as commanding a presence as Charles Dance. Dance I think would be a real return to the Delgado type of Master, the older more charming villain which would make him a great match against Capaldi’s Doctor, who I feel has a touch of Pertwee.

3/ Paul Darrow

Paul Darrow is best known for playing televisions greatest anti hero, Kerr Avon on Blake’s 7.  Darrow would be a very ruthless Master. In complete contrast to Simm’s overly emotional performance I see Darrow as being a very cold, practical Master who cares for literally nothing but himself. Somewhat similar to Jacobi’s brief performance. I always felt it was a shame we didn’t get to see more of Jacobi, not that Simm wasn’t great. With the casting of Capaldi as an older more ruthless Doctor, then I think Paul Darrow would be a brilliant match for him.

2/Simon Templeman

Simon Templeman is an English actor, whose voice is probably better known than his name. He played the Vampire Kain in “The Legacy of Kain” video game series. He is also known for voicing Doctor Doom in the 1990’s “Fantastic Four” and”Incredible Hulk” animated series.

He has also had many prominent live action roles too. He played the evil spectre Parvayne in the “Angel” episode “Hellbound” as well as the Angel of Death on “Charmed” and also had a starring role on the American Sci Fi comedy “The Neighbours”.

Templeman has an amazing voice and can make a villain seem, affable, witty and charming, yet menacing at the same time. Like Dance, Templeman would be a return to the Delgado type of Master.

Templeman I think would be able to capture the Master’s sneering arrogance, and fanatical lust for power, just like he did with Doctor Doom.

Seriously imagine this guy playing the Master. With that voice he would just be perfect. I can imagine him meeting Strax and telling him he had a “very left brain personality”.

1/ Robert Carlyle

Now once again I wasn’t sure on whether to include him here, as Carlyle I think would also be a perfect choice for the Doctor too. Carlyle’s name has been linked to the Doctor many times in the past. He even expressed an interest in the role back in 2008. He would have made a brilliant Doctor too.

Sadly though I don’t think we will ever see him as the Doctor. Even if he is available after Capaldi leaves (which hopefully wont be any time soon.)

I can’t imagine them casting him after Capaldi. He would be too similar, another older, intense Scottish guy. Sadly even though up until recently, he would always be among my top choices for the Doctor, I now don’t think we are ever likely to see him in the role. However that does not mean we can’t have him in Doctor Who at all, and I think he would be equally brilliant as the Master now more than ever.

Carlyle is excellent at playing villains. He has played some of the nastiest villains on television and film. Seriously the last thing you ever want to be is at the mercy of a Robert Carlyle villain.

Here are some of the most horrible and disgusting ways Carlyle has killed people.

Its safe to say that Carlyle would probably give us the darkest version of the Master seen yet, which would match perfectly with Peter Capaldi’s darker Doctor. Truly out of everybody in this list Carlyle would be the best match for Capaldi. Both very experienced high profile, intense Scottish lunatics facing each other down it would be a truly epic confrontation.


Seriously you don’t think that would make an epic showdown.


Of course there is always the possibility that the Master may have already returned. Its early days yet, but many people think think that the mysterious season 8 villain Missy is in fact the Master.

Personally I hope this isn’t true. I don’t think it would be a good idea to turn the Master into a woman for a number of reasons. Firstly I am not a fan of Time Lord gender bending. It not because I have a problem with transgender characters, but time lord gender bending is a different thing as it to me seems to contradict what we have seen before. I know there was that one line in “The Doctors Wife“, that said they can gender bend, but that was one line, and all of the Time Lords we have seen before that haven’t.

The Doctor who burnt out an entire regeneration cycle, Azmahel who burnt out a whole regeneration cycle, The Master who burnt out an entire regeneration cycle, Romana who has regenerated 3 times, Borusa who regenerated twice, River who regenerated twice. It also doesn’t seem logical as Time Lords do have a gender identity. Gender identity exists. I am not saying that men and women aren’t equal but gender identity does exist and to say it doesn’t is quite frankly, a denial of reality.

Also I don’t like gender blind casting either, again not because I have a problem with strong female characters, but because I think that its a lazy and boring way to offer better representation towards women. Its much better I think to create new female characters like Xena, Buffy, Wonder Women etc rather than just briefly turn male characters into women. Its almost as though writers today can’t be bothered to think up new female characters.

Also I don’t want Missy to be the Master as she refers to the Doctor as her boyfriend. Now again I have no problems with gay characters, I love Xena and Gabrielle, Willow and Tara and Jack and Ianto, but I am getting very bored with people always making out that the villain and the hero have to secretly be gay for one another. Batman and the Joker, Sherlock Holmes and Moriarty, Buffy and Faith, and Xena and Callisto. Its become an awful cliche, and most of the time it leads to nothing but childish gay jokes anyway, like 10 making the joke about the Master’s “beard” in “Timecrash”.

People often argue that there was always sexual tension between the Master and the Doctor in Classic Who, but there wasn’t. Roger Delgado and Jon Pertwee had always believed from the beginning that the Master and the Doctor were secretly brothers and Ainley also believed this too. In fact its implied in “Planet of Fire” that this is the case. Russell T Davies rubbished this in “The Sound of Drums”. Still the fact that the previous actors and writers in the role viewed it that way shows that they obviously didn’t play them as secret lovers!.

If they need to give the Doctor a female villain, then either bring back the Rani, or better yet invent a new female villain!

Personally I hope Missy is something new, as we could be doing with some more prominent new Who villains rather than just the Weeping Angels. So far we have only had one season where the main villain didn’t originate from the classic Who.

I personally hope that Missy is the Time Lord Clara, who told the Doctor what TARDIS to steal, that we saw from The Name of the Doctor.

I think it would be interesting if this version of Clara, after having regenerated into Michelle Gomez’s form, fled Gallifrey and in a further desire to help the Doctor. Began downloading the minds of people that the Doctor had failed to save into a Matrix like virtual world.

They could also have Missy be the one who brought Clara and the Doctor together, as she would need them to meet in order to be born too.

However those are just my opinions, and I am sure you have yours. Let me know what you think in the comments section.


One thought on “Top 10 Actors who should play The Master in Doctor Who

  1. I love your choices! Robert Carlyle would make a fantastic Master! He was well cast as Rumpelstiltskin on Once Upon a Time and after I saw him on that show, I wanted to see him as The Doctor! David Warner and Charles Dance would also be great choices, I love David Warner’s voice, it’s so sophisticated and commanding!

    Liked by 1 person

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