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Currently reading: My Top 10: Who Should Play ‘The Master’ Next?

My Top 10: Who Should Play ‘The Master’ Next?

With less than 24 hours to go until we watch the final outing of Peter Capaldi‘s iteration as The Doctor, and subsequently opening the T.A.R.D.I.S. doors to Jodie Whittaker – the first female Doctor (no, I’m not counting Joanna Lumley from the 1999 Comic Relief episode “The Curse of Fatal Death“) – I’m left wondering… Who will be next to play her arch-enemy; The Master?

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Who would “Master” the Role?

In the past we’ve had the deranged Time Lord portrayed by the likes of Roger DelgadoPeter PrattAnthony Ainley and Eric Roberts.

But, since Doctor Who‘s 2005 revival, The Master has been a more prominent villain of the show – certainly over the past few series. Since the show returned to our screens over 12 years ago, we’ve had…


Derek Jacobi:

Although only playing The Master for a fleeting moment; in 2007’s Doctor Who episode; Utopia. When I sat watching with my parents (over 10 years ago now), I was overjoyed that he was in-fact The Master.

It’s just a shame he didn’t get to portray the character across several episodes, rather than pretty-much – upon his reveal as the iconic villain – immediately regenerating into…


John Simm:

A surprisingly local Lancashire lad, who literally grew up less than 10 miles from where I live. His portrayal of The Master was good, and showed true potential for having a menacing side. But, in my opinion; was let down by weak writing, and the BBC’s want for forcing in unnecessary (almost slapstick) comedy.

That said, his return; facing off against the Doctor and another regeneration of himself, was handled much better, and gave his Master a strong send off.

And now to my personal favourite…


Michelle Gomez:

Now, I fully understand why some Whovians may be nervous about a female Doctor.

Doctor Who fans have grown-up managing to tolerate the Time Lord regenerating; and allowing someone else to take over the iconic role. But to have the role change gender?? Yeah, sure. I’d have been worried a few years back.

But all you have to do, is look at how Michelle Gomez took over the role, and made it her own.

The first female Master, who goes by the nickname… Missy (short for Mistress). Unpredictable and unnerving with her performance, she left audiences never quite knowing which way the clock would tick!

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The Master (left to right): Derek Jacobi, John Simm and Michelle Gomez.

Anyway, Missy‘s time has now come to an end; and for anyone who knows Doctor Who well enough, will now be wondering who will be the one to play the 25th regeneration of the twisted Time Lord; The Master?

Well, here are my top 10 actors who I’d like to see play ‘The Master‘ next…


10. Benedict Cumberbatch

In at #10, is Benedict Cumberbatch. His true rise to becoming one of the most-popular actors of today, started with another hit BBC television show called; Sherlock.

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His cold, calculated and sarcastic portrayal of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle‘s iconic detective is superb, and if you add to that; the twisted-ferocity he brought to his take on Khan, in the science-fiction reboot sequel; Star Trek Into Darkness, you can’t deny he’d be great as The Master.


9. Winona Ryder

At #9 I’ve chosen the wonderful Winona Ryder. Sure, not the most immediately obvious choice, but that said; she can play crazy really well.

And if to follow a similar trajectory with a female Master being somewhat “doolally”, then Winona fits the role perfectly.

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She has played crazy before as Veronica in 1989’s Heathers, as well as the weird Lydia in Tim Burton‘s Beetlejuice.

Plus, now she is back in the Hollywood spotlight thanks to her role as paranoid mum; Joyce Byers, in the hit Netflix show; Stranger Things.


8. Christopher Walken

Now, we all knew that Christopher Walken would have to appear on this list. No matter what role he plays, he always captivates the audience; whilst also having that air of “complete psychopath”.

A bit random, but can you imagine finally going back to meet your new girlfriend’s parents; only to find that Mr Walken is her father?! Terrifying.

That’s why he’s #8 on my list.

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Anyway, Christopher Walken has always carried himself as someone who is not to be messed with, but can also lure you into a false-sense-of-security with his calm and overly polite demeanour.

Plus, if he was to portray The Master, I’d be desperate for him to have a sentimental attachment to his watch – being a Time Lord and all.

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From Pulp Fiction and True Romance, to Seven Psychopaths, his roles have always made my skin crawl – in a good way – and I’d love to see him join Doctor Who as The Master.


7. Bryan Cranston

The man who helped make roof-top-pizza-throwing a sport (just kidding, I think), as well as making meth-dealers look cool, Bryan Cranston‘s portrayal of Walter White; in the hit television show Breaking Bad, is absolutely spectacular.

Managing to turn a loving family-man, into the determined, unstoppable force that is Heisenberg, shows the range Mr Cranston is capable of. He was born to play a psychopath – hence, the #7 spot on this list.

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The Master needs to be someone who is universally feared. Personally, I believe that the only way to help break the worry that Jodie Whittaker‘s Doctor will be timid and vulnerable, is to have her rival; and of-course get-the-better-of, an enemy that really is an intense force-to-be-reckoned-with.

Oh, and just putting this out there again, Bryan Cranston should have been the one to play Lex Luthor in the DCEU, not the snivelling, god-awful Jesse Eisenberg.


6. Joseph Gilgun

Yep, I know, you think I’ve gone mad – but hear me out.

Joseph Gilgun is one of those actors who is a hidden-gem of the entertainment industry.

Another local Lancashire lad, born a mere nine months before myself; Joseph plays the role of “dangerously unstable” to perfection, whilst also clearly enjoying what he brings to the characters he portrays.

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He has played many memorable and dangerous characters. From Woody in This Is England, Hydell in Lockout to my personal favourite; Proinsias Cassidy – a 119 year old, unhinged nut-job of an Irish vampire in Preacher.

To quote Cassidy

“Take me for example, right? I have zero hopes in this world mate. And I’m bloody fantastic! Really, I am.”

… and I believe he would be just that. Fantastic!


5. Kate Beckinsale

Although it is natural for me to initially think of male actors, when considering who I’d like to see portray the villainous Time Lord. There is one actor (or actress – if you prefer) who I think would make a brilliant Master or Mistress.

Kate Beckinsale would not only be a surprise for most people, but she could also bring a level of physical threat to the role. Having portrayed many strong female characters in the past, I believe she would face-off against Jodie‘s Doctor perfectly.

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Probably most well-known to the youth of today as latex-clad Selene – the Vampire Death Dealer – from the Underworld movies, Kate has also portrayed other roles that show an evil side.

Personally, I liked it. But I appreciate many fans were somewhat irked by the 2012 Total Recall remake. Still, regardless of your opinion on that movie, her portrayal as the relentless Lori Quaid was great. Sexy and scary – all at the same time.

Lastly, to quote her character Selene:

“I have lived a thousand years, I may live a thousand more…”

Rather apt for a Time Lord, wouldn’t you say?!


4. Steve Buscemi

Where to begin with Steve Buscemi?! He is without-doubt one of my most-favourite actors, and it absolutely beggars-belief; that he isn’t in every single movie and TV show going. The guy is just brilliant.

His most prominent role of recent years has to be his turn as Enoch ‘Nucky’ Thompson, from the hit HBO show; Boardwalk Empire. But, he has owned the screen many times before…

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From playing “Mr Pink” – the best character in Quentin Tarantino‘s Reservoir Dogs, the deranged and hilarious killer Garland Greene; in Con Air to voicing the crazy old-man Nebbercracker, in the children’s animation; Monster House, and of-course; Randall in Monster’s Inc.

Oh, and for you Escape from L.A. fans – he’d no longer need a ‘map to the stars’, as he’d be flying amongst them.


3. Anthony Hopkins

Do I really need to explain this one?! Anthony Hopkins is renowned for playing the likeable gentleman, with an essence of psychopath.

His work as Dr. Hannibal Lecter will most-certainly be one role that comes to mind when you think of Mr Hopkins, not to mention his turn as Dr. Robert Ford in HBO‘s science-fiction epic; Westworld.

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Plus, the idea of him portraying The Master isn’t too unrealistic.

Over the past few years he has delved into what could be considered more ‘geeky’ roles, having played Odin in all three of the MCU Thor movies, as well as a main supporting role in Transformers: The Last Knight.

I think it was in 2002’s Red Dragon, where the protagonist says to Hannibal Lecter (Hopkins):

“I might not have time.”

To which Anthony HopkinsLecter responds:

“I do. I have oodles.”

Simply reading that gives me the shivers. So just imagine what his delivery of lines as The Master will do.


2. Charles Dance

Now this was a difficult decision, as the positions of 1st and 2nd place on this list are extremely close. I’m talking a decimal point difference, rather than a whole number. Still, I had to be brutal, and as a result; Charles Dance only made the top 2.

Look at the picture below. Doesn’t he look terrifying?!

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I grew up having watched several films featuring Charles Dance. But, the one that sticks with me the most – even to this day – has to be his portrayal of the one-eyed henchman/hitman; Benedict, from the Arnold Schwarzenegger classic Last Action Hero.

More recently, he has played the role of Tywin Lannister in another hit HBO show; Game of Thrones – based on the popular A Song of Ice and Fire novel series by fantasy author; George R.R. Martin.

He was born to play the bad-guy, and is extremely comfortable doing-so. So let’s have him play The Master in Doctor Who.

To paraphrase his character from Last Action Hero:

“You see Doctor, in this world, the bad guys can win!”


1. Cillian Murphy

Well, here we are, #1. Cillian Murphy. He’d be spot-on as The Master.

Young enough to satisfy the need to cast younger actors in the role to ensure the BBC don’t scare off the younger audience. Plus, he plays “terrifyingly deranged and unhinged” perfectly.

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From his portrayal of Dr. Jonathan Crane (a.k.a. Scarecrow) in Batman Begins, The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises, to his more recent hit as Thomas Shelby, in the superb TV show; Peaky Blinders. Cillian Murphy plays the psycho quite naturally.

His piercing-blue eyes, and the twisted way he delivers his lines, add to that; the fury in which he carries himself would be perfect for The Master in the next series of Doctor Who.


Time for a few Honourable Nods

Now, it wasn’t easy choosing the Top 10 mentioned above, and as a casualty of limiting myself to a shorter list.

Still, I didn’t want to leave here without at least mentioning some of the other actors who I’d like to see play The Master.

They may not have made my Top 10, but I’d still be happy to see one of them step into shoes of the iconic villain: David Hyde-Pierce, Gary OldmanChristoph Waltz, Daniel Day-Lewis, Rowan Atkinson, Cate Blanchett, Crispin Glover, Vera Farmiga and Jackie Earle Haley.


Who Do You Want?

Do you agree with my list?

Who would you like to see portray The Master?


Spare the time, and drop a comment below. There’s plenty of space down there.

As always, for all things Doctor Who and TV – stick with GoneFullGeek.