Is a major villain returning to Doctor Who?

News Louisa Mellor 9 Mar 2014 - 10:38

Has Sylvester McCoy let slip that a major villain is returning to Doctor Who series 8? Potential spoilers ahead...

Warning: contains potential spoilers for a returning character in Doctor Who series eight.

The whispers about this one have been doing the fan community rounds for a while now, part hopeful wish and part rumour: is The Master returning to Doctor Who in series eight? 

Oh yes, says Sylvester McCoy, who was reported to have let the 'news' slip at a recent Newcastle Film and Comic Con panel. And what's more, says McCoy, John Simm's role has already been recast. McCoy didn't reveal who he claims would be playing The Master, save for saying that the actor is "very scary".

Our hands currently overspilling with clutched-straws, could this possibly tally with the rumour that Michael Smiley is to appear in series eight as "Colonel Blue"? Nobody who's seen Smiley's previous work with director Ben Wheatley could deny that "very scary" is well within his wheelhouse. Doctor Who TV has cited Game Of Thrones' Charles Dance as another unsubstantiated possibility.

Without wishing to cast aspersions on the honesty or accuracy of McCoy's words, it's worth saying that he's a man with a healthy sense of humour and at present all this remains firmly in the rumour category. If it were to be confirmed though, and Capaldi's Doctor is due to face The Master in series eight, we hope you'll join us in a mass geek shiver...

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Don't trust Sly McCoy! His Doctor was The Great Chessmaster! It's all a great feint! (Do chessplayers feint?)

Charles Dance Vs Capaldi in shouty-shouty scenery chewing?! TV Gods, please make it so!

I've not seen any of Ben Wheatley's films, so I always think of Smiley as Tyres, the bicycle courier with a love for raving from Spaced. Not scary at all!

To be fair, Smiley's only been scary in A Field in England. In Wheatley's other films (which are works of pure unadulterated genius for anyone who's not seen them) there's been an awful lot of kitten petting and flower arranging going on.

how soon before Richie gets in here and invokes the Andrew Scott principle?

Tyres vs The Doctor...now that could be awesome.

Yeah I was there yesterday and McCoy definitely said he knew who it was and they were very scary but he wouldn't say who.
Both he and Paul McGann were very complimentary about Capaldi and how fantastic hes going to be as the Doctor. McGann also had a great idea for a five(ish) doctors reboot series of him, McCoy, Baker and Davison following Chris Eccleston around trying to get him involved in Dr Who again. Was a brilliant day McGann particularly seemed like a genuinely nice warm fun guy and was great with all us fans.

i could get behind the idea of Charles dance in the role. i would also like to see the return of davros (in charge of the daleks not as their pet. )

I hoped that Ian McShane might get a crack at being The Master against Capaldi's Doctor, but Charles Dance would be an acceptable alternative.

I like to imagine that Sylvester, Colin Baker and Peter Davison personally snuck into Roath Lock to acquire this information.

Oi Oi!

He was pretty unnerving on Black Mirror

couldn't agree more about Paul McGann, he was at Big Finish Day 4 a few months ago and was a super guest who appeared to genuinely have time for everyone. Very funny to boot

Hopefully never. I'm sick of that joke and would very much like it to die screaming in a pit of acid.

I AM hoping it somebody young and menacing though. Thespians are cool but I'd rather see somebody unknown and genuinely frightening in the role

It's a trick, McCoy's playing The Master! How else would he know?

Yeeeah... but that wasn't Ben Wheatley was it?

He was the highlight here in Auckland last year. McCoy was his usual self, Colin and Peter were cool but I wasn't expecting someone who spent eight weeks as The Doctor to be so engaging. Very well done (and I was delighted to see him revisit for the regeneration scene).

I'd agree. Kill List is a relentless, ninety-minute kitty pet-a-thon. 5 Stars.

I think Rafe Spall would make a sinister, young Master.

Ideal casting would be Tom Hiddlestone, of course, but zero chance of that.

Really, The master, can't the writers of DW come up with something new, some new big enemy for the Doctor to fight. If there is anything from the geeks it should be a mass yawn not a shiver.

I would be very intrigued and excited to see what Moffat could do with the Master. It could get really dark and really clever.

But of course, since the Master was last seen returning to Gallifrey with Rassilon, this can only mean one thing, given the return of Gallifrey. Bringing it back completely will open up an insane can of worms. Militaristic Time Lords, Rassilon, the Master....

Oh, dear, please let it be Charles Dance.

Please be Charles Dance, please be Charles Dance.

A frightening, highly talented and extremely versatile actor for the Master... Joe Gilgun gets my vote. He's one of the best actors working in Britain today, a huge geek and a fan of Who.

C'MON CHARLES DANCE! Why else would you go to Brian Cox's lecture goddamn it?!

Can we start the potition for the Master to get his camp goatee back here...

ohhh, just when I thought that old clunker had been retired...dang.

and look who upvoted your comment, Paul. it appears that heinous individual is still around and no doubt waiting for his chance to blight this place once again in the usual fashion.

How would McCoy have any inside information anyway?

Interesting you should say that about the thespians. Myself and a friend had several chats down the pub when the show first came back suggesting Timothy Dalton as the Master. We thought it would be perfect. Then Simm's casting took me by surprise, and while I thought the episodes he was given were a little weak, it was quite the revelation.

Obviously, since then, Dalton has appeared as Rassilon, and it suddenly seems to make more sense to have the more thespian types as the High Council Time Lords and your Rassilon/Omega types, with a younger, maybe unknown actor as the Master. After all, he's just as much of a renegade as The Doctor himself, who doesn't fit comfortably alongside his people and their ways.

The other bonus of lesser-know actors is that you will often find that it's easier to believe them in a role from seeing them in less and knowing very little about them outside of their acting.

Maybe he was told by Peter Jackson. Maybe Peter Jackson actually is directing an episode. That's probably not the case. It's very late...

Rafe would be awesome. Always thought Daniel Mays would have made a great Master opposite Smith, they both have a similar baby-faced-but-with-gravitas kind of energy about them.

I really, really, really don't want Moffat to write him! That would suck. He's already wrecked the continuity of both Old Who AND New Who. Who knows what he'll do to the Master?

Moffat's a shrewd fella, Sylvester McCoy didn't "let slip" the news, all part of the publicity machine to get folks talking about the new series.again. And it's working :)

Another good choice that's out of the blue would be Ben Kingsley. He's shown a lot of range and that he's not too serious to allow a little humor at his expense.

Go the opposite of having an older doctor by bringing in a younger Master. Bring in the actor who was Simon in Misfits. He had this cold stare when he was nervous or when things started happening on the show that would be perfect for a confrontation with the Doctor.

I see a major recurring speculation is missing, therefore - Not the Master, it's the RANI :-D :-D

"Would you like a Jelly Baby?"

"Nah mate, couldn't eat a thing, my stomach is the size of a walnut!"

Can't we just bring in Kiefer Sutherland? That would be ridiculously immense. And immensely ridiculous. It's a win-win.

Paddy Considine for the Master! Would be perfect casting!

I would like Richie to die screaming in a pit of acid.

Colonel Blue doesn't sound like a pseudonym the Master would use... Would be nice to see him back, and if 11 did restore Gallifrey, there's nothing to stop him returning either, just hope they don't reinstate the bromance stuff RTD started :/

Heartfelt, but the Doctor and the Master were always at loggerheads, but still had a respect for each other akin to colleagues...

Chris Addison

I just remembered you owe me twenty quid.

I'd love to see Patterson Joseph as the Master. Imagine the Marquis de Carabas and Alan Johnson as a Timelord who's deliciously Evil.

This was news from other sources a few months back. Also on the same character (minor spoilers - not particularly significant if you've already read the article and know which villain it's talking about):
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Apparently the Master will be getting his own regeneration episode this time around, so we might not have seen the last of Simms just yet. They've said that there's going to be a 2-parter scheduled for middle of the season, so I'm wondering whether the Master's regeneration will factor into that, with Simms doing most of one episode and giving the new Master a full episode after that.

I want that. Only for the Doctor to say he looks like a Quentin Blake illustration.

What the f*ck does McCoy know anyway??!!!

True enough, A Field in England was the most overt, but wasnt he kinda scary in Down Terrace? I cant fully remember, definitely need to re-watch it soon. Either way he has an unnerving quality about him, even in Spaced he's got that hair-trigger thing going on.

PMSL thats genius...he truly does.

But that would be pretty awesome, though. 'Lord of the Rings of Akhenaten'. 'Then And Back Again'. Don't know how he'd cope working with a BBC budget, though!

I am glad they are recasting the Master. I am a big fan of Roger, Anthony etc but felt that Time Lords should regenerate and the Master should be played by different actors. It adds to the mystery and is a great plot device.

Hopefully we might see the return of the Rani and The Meddling Monk at some point.

They could have Eccleston and Tom Baker locked in a room. With Tim explaining how he regrets his attitude to the show when he left.

On a side note Tom does seemed to have warmed up but him not returning Peter's emails to appear in the Fiveish Doctors Reboot still makes me think he has a stick up his backside. I would have much preferred Peter, Colin or Sylvester had appeared in the 50th rather than Tom. I appreciate it was to appeal to American Audiences but they have had shown much more love for the show then Tom ever has.

I like Eccleston as an actor but his attitude stinks and puts me off him as a person.

Peter probably called his connections

An interesting thought is now the Time Lords are locked in a Pocket Universe could this mean the sounds of drums in the Masters head be gone? Could this mean a Master which a whole different character.

Not just the American Audiences, I think most fans (and casual viewers) would agree that Tom is easily the most iconic Doctor from the Classic Series (if not the entire program.)
Not too mention the fact that he is the oldest living Doctor, so he remains the logical choice of all The Doctor's too take the elder statesman/ wise mysterious old stranger role for the special.
And while he was reluctant to be too involved in Doctor Who for many years, he has actually been alot more positive about it in recent years (a Big Finish series starring him was thought too be impossible for many years, but now he has worked on several!)
I'm sad he wasn't in the Five(ish) Doctors, but that program was close to perfect the way it was.

(As for Peter, Sylv and Colin appearing warmer to the program than Tom, over the years, I think it helps that all 3 of them were already proper fans of the program before even being cast in the role, while Tom probably hadn't even watched more than an episode or two when he offered the role.)

Well he offered to do it for no money as long as they gave him a Dalek, but it still seems a bit of a fantasy. On a budget side of things, he might be okay. If you look at his earlier movies, he can make good stuff out of nothing... although looking at Bad Taste and Brainded, maybe he'd have been better in the 80s era of Who.

I haven't noticed anybody mention it here, but other places have made mention of Steve John Shepherd being a strong rumour. Not sure how much truth there is to it, but I think he could be an interesting choice, he plays a good psycho.

In most polls I agree Tom comes out top of the classic Doctors. I also appreciate he has warmed to the show now he is older and his ego has mellowed. I think that is one difference between the two. Baker's issue was ego, Eccleston's seems to be he just didn't like the show or genre. That will be harder to deal with.

I do think Tom was picked more for his US appeal than age. This was the same reason they original wanted him in the US 90's movie instead of Sylv.

His appearance in the 50th jars at me a bit. It had no real context other than look it's Tom. I know a lot of people loved it and I can appreciate why but it could have had a bit of a plot line. There is a rumor it may be explained with the idea of how the Doctor's image shows up as different characters. That would be cool.

BTW Peter was my fav Doctor as like David T I grew up with him. He was my Doctor.

Tom was interviewed for BBC Two's The Lively Arts documentary - Who's Doctor Who? in 1977 (it's an extra on the Talons... DVD) He talks quite authoritively about Hartnell, Troughton and Pertwee, putting each performance into context alongside his own interpretation. This suggests he certainly watched more than just an odd episode before getting the part. He is most definitely an icon and a thoroughly decent chap too!

Pehaps they could get Tyler Butterworth as the Monk? What about the Black Guardian? The Celestial Toymaker, perhaps? Maybe Omega or the Valeyard or Drax or Magnus Greel and Mr Sin. Best idea would be Morbius before he was just a brain in a jar...

Exactly! But if they are stuck what about reviving some less well known villians like Tobias Vaughan or Fenric? Or maybe Simon Pegg could come back as the Editor?

Fenric!! McCoy villain. Perhaps it's that white dog thing, Fifi? Doctor Who's equivalent to Baron Silas Greenback's sidekick Nero! ;o)

He also mentioned on the Tom Baker years how sad he was when he left the part and his public recognition started to decline. Especially after his first hair cut.

Anyhow I would like to say I think he is a decent chap who I think just suffers from actors ego. Which if is your worse flaw makes you not that bad a human being :)

The Celestial Toymaker I always thought was a great villain. I recently listened to The Nightmare Fair and love it. There just something very dark about him.

I am very keen that any returning villains return has a plot line behind it. Time Lords are easy to bring back especially Omega. In the Arc he could have simply woken up in the Anti Matter Universe rather than dying as seen.

I am a bit sick of the Daleks seeming to never be dead for very long before they come back in their millions. RTD had plot reasons for their return. Moffat seems to have abandoned that idea in favor of them just being back.

I've met Tom Baker. He's lovely!!

He didn't just spend 8 weeks as the Doctor. He's been doing Big Finish audios since 2001. By my math, that's 13 years of playing the Doctor plus his time making the movie. He's spent more time playing the Doctor than any of the new series Doctors have.

on the budget side Peter Jackson may just get his own CGI studio Weta digital to do CGI for the episode on the cheap, if he really that desperate to do a Doctor Who ep.

That was by his own reckoning at the gig. Something like "who would have thought I'd still be doing this after a job that only lasted eight weeks" or similar. Still, you are quite right - the BF audios are tremendous and he's carved out his own Doctor through those.

If he wanted to, I guess he could, but you wouldn't want the episode to have a totally different look and feel from the rest of the series, I don't think. That can work for a special, but I think for a standard series run ep you want it to kind of fit. It's more a case of what he might be able to do with what the BBC give him. He's got imagination, though, look at The Frighteners.

Ok thats interesting to hear, and I'll definitely hunt that down!
I was just basing my assumption on his recent interviews, when talking about the part, where he talks about how he never watched an episode of Doctor Who (and hasn't watched one since) but was instead far more interested in playing the part.
(Which obviously contains some hyperbole on his part, given he would need to watch some of it to do the commentaries these days, but it'd be interesting to hear him talk about the first 3 in relation to his own Doctor.)

Actually it was the producer for the BBC, Jo Wright, who wanted Tom Baker for the older Doctor role because of the percieved short-comings of the McCoy era and, primarily, Tom's continued popularity with the British public (per Phillip Segal in Doctor Who: Regeneration.)

Not disputing that he would be the most popular of the Classic Doctors in the US, but his appeal goes far beyond the US market, and simply suggesting that he was chosen for Day of The Doctor because of the US is quite dismissive of how well associated his with the show internationally.

I would watch the Tom Baker Years. He does come off as having never watched the clips. :)

The fact is the BBC is pushing Doctor Who hard in the US due. For many reasons it is a much more lucrative and somewhat easier market for the BBC than other countries.

I agree Tom was picked for multiple reasons (there can be more than one) but ignoring that one was his popularity in the US market is also being quite dismissive of the modern BBC and its needs and ambitions. I know this annoys a lot of people on this forum as they feel the show belongs to the UK but I am just being honest about the world we live in.

As for why a classic Doctor popped up for little plot reason in the 50th? I would need a drink to discuss that one :)

It would have also been great to have Paul McGann appear. Maybe as an illusion to the War Doctor as he regenerates. At least plot wise that has some context.

I put up side by side images of Dance and Capaldi. It was beautiful.

Great actors and great depth. It's Who-perfection.

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