Doctor Who: a salute to renegade Time Lords

Fifty years ago this Summer, the landmark Doctor Who story The War Games was transmitted on BBC One. Notable for being the last adventure to star Patrick Troughton as the Doctor, the serial also introduced us to the Doctor’s alien race: The Time Lords. We learn the Doctor is a renegade, albeit a benign one. To celebrate this anniversary, Den Of Geek looks at some of the other renegade Time Lords the Doctor has encountered over the years.

The War Chief

Played by: Edward Brayshaw

Appearance: The War Games (1969)

The War Chief (aka Magnus) had an intense, almost magnetic personality. His heavily oiled jet-black hair and stylised beard and sideburns seem vaguely familiar. Fond of the odd “007 baddie” quote: “So you see, I’m not so evil after all, Doctor” The War Chief helped create the SIDRATs, a version of a TARDIS, which transported huge armies from across history to each War Zone.

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The late Edward Brayshaw had previously appeared in Who as Leon Colbert in The Reign Of Terror five years earlier. However, his most famous TV role was only a few years away: Harold Meaker, the frustrated landlord (and often unwilling victim) of the members of Rentaghost. There is some evidence that Terrance Dicks and Malcolm Hulke retrospectively suggested the War Chief is an early incarnation of the Master. See Hulke’s Target novelisation “The Doomsday Weapon”.

The Master/Missy

Played on TV by: Roger Delgado (His wonderful full moniker being: Roger Caesar Marius Bernard de Delgado Torres Castillo Roberto) (1971-3), Peter Pratt  (1976), Geoffrey Beevers (1981), Anthony Ainley (1981-9), Gordon Tipple (1996), Eric Roberts (1996), Derek Jacobi (2007), John Simm (2007-10 & 2017), Michelle Gomez (2014-17)

TV Appearances:

(The Master)Terror Of The Autons, The Mind of Evil, Colony in Space, The Claws of Axos, The Dæmons (1971), The Sea Devils, The Time Monster (1972), Frontier In Space (1973), The Deadly Assassin (1976), The Keeper Of Traken, Logopolis (1981); Castrovalva, Time-Flight (1982), The King’s Demons, The Five Doctors (1983); Planet Of Fire (1984), Mark Of The Rani (1985), The Trial Of A Time Lord (1986), Survival (1989), Doctor Who (1996).

Utopia, The Sound Of Drums, Last Of The Time Lords (2007);  The End Of Time (2009/10), World Enough And Time, The Doctor Falls (2017)

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(Missy) Deep Breath, Flatline, In the Forest Of The Night, Dark Water, Death In Heaven (2014); The Magician’s Apprentice, The Witch’s Familiar (2015); Extremis, The Lie Of The Land, The Empress of Mars, The Eaters Of Light, World Enough And Time, The Doctor Falls (2017)

Played on audio by: Alex McQueen (2012-2017), James Dreyfus (2017)

Audio stories: Dominion, Dark Eyes 2, Dark Eyes 3, Dark Eyes 4, Vampire Of The Mind, The Two Masters, The Destination Wars

The Master is the ultimate renegade Time Lord. Often in disguise, he was behind a series of universe-threatening plots, foiled by the Third Doctor and UNIT. A decaying Master, in his last incarnation, framed the Fourth Doctor for murder and later set about destroying the utopian paradise of Traken, disguising his TARDIS as malevolent statue Melkur. The Master takes over Nyssa’s father Tremas, he achieves “a new body at last”, then takes revenge on the Doctor sending him to his death… 

The Master tries to destabilise the Fifth Doctor, convincing gullible Adric to create Castrovalva as a trap. The Master’s love of disguise continues as he portrays the elderly Portreeve, magician Kaled and King John’s champion Sir Giles Estram. After apparently being burned alive, the Master returned alongside the Rani only to be defeated by the Sixth Doctor, whose subsequent trial, the Master attends. The Seventh Doctor and the Master, with help from the cheetah people, are locked into a potentially fatal battle.

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The Doctor, is tasked by the Time Lords to transport the Master’s ashes back to Gallifrey after his extermination by the Daleks. Escaping his confines as a “snake” of energy, the Master eventually possesses an Ambulance worker, into whose body he regenerates causing problems for a newly regenerated Eighth Doctor.

The Tenth Doctor encounters Professor Yana and reminds him of his true identity. Regenerating, the Master becomes Prime Minister, Harold Saxon. Resurrecting himself after apparently dying and being burnt on a pyre he clones his face across the entire population of the world. The Twelfth Doctor encounters Missy: Acknowledging her gender she explains “Well I could hardly continue to call myself the Master…” Later, in a nod to the 1996 TV movie, the Doctor is asked to guard Missy in a special vault. Gradually, she appears to side more and more with the Doctor. The Master returns and unable to accept this “change of heart” by his successor, decides to end her life, only for Missy to return fire… Have we seen the last of this character? Unlikely. The Doctor needs an “evil twin” – somehow, somewhere the character will return. 

Roger Delgado had tried unsuccessfully get a part in Doctor Who on four previous occasions. When the Master was created, as a “Moriarty” figure to the Doctor’s “Holmes”, Producer Barry Letts knew exactly who to cast. Anthony Ainley loved to use his alter-ego to prank people. Often he would call the Doctor Who production office and announce himself as “The Master”.

Omega

Played by: Stephen Thorne, Ian Collier

Appearances: The Three Doctors (1973), Arc Of Infinity (1983)

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Omega, a Time Lord engineer expelled from Gallifrey long ago, proves so strong an opponent for the Doctor, two previous incarnations are pressed into service to help defeat him. Later, as revenge, Omega alters the Doctor’s bio details in the Matrix with potentially fatal consequences.

Stephen Thorne, who sadly died recently, played Omega in The Three Doctors, having previously been used to great effect as Azal in The Dæmons. He later played Eldrad in The Hand of Fear.

K’Ampo Rimpoche/Cho-Je

Played by: George Cormack, Kevin Lindsay

Appearance: Planet Of The Spiders (1974)

The Doctor’s mentor, K’ampo Rimpoche, is a Time Lord Priest, who, foreshadowing the denouement to the serial, is seen to become “a new man” – regenerating his body to resemble Cho-Je. Later at Sarah’s request, he gives the Doctor’s own transformation (as of this serial, known as regeneration) “a little push” and the fourth Doctor emerges – in a scene first transmitted 45 years ago this month.

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Kevin Lindsay had previously appeared as Sontaran Commander Linx in The Time Warrior (1973/4) and (because Sontarans are clones) he appeared as Field Marshall Styre in The Sontaran Experiment (1975). Sadly, Lindsay succumbed to a fatal heart condition, just two months after the latter serial was broadcast.

Morbius

Voiced by: Michael Spice

Appearance: The Brain Of Morbius (1976)

Morbius, a very influential Time Lord with his own cult no less, exists as a brain in fluid being kept alive in a jar by noted Karn scientist, Mehendri Solon. Hopeful of discovering a suitable head to ultimately encase the brain, Solon finds the Doctor and Sarah’s sudden arrival serendipitous…

Michael Spice’s shrill, demanding voice conveyed, very effectively, the anger and frustrations of Morbius, trapped in a jar for centuries. Spice played Magnus Greel in 1977’s The Talons Of Weng Chiang,  his features hidden deep beneath a latex mask.

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Goth

Played by: Bernard Horsfall

Appearance: The Deadly Assassin (1976)

Chancellor Goth was identified as the traitor who, under duress from the Master, framed the Doctor for the murder of the Time Lord  President. The Doctor, in a bid to prove his innocence, enters the psychological nightmare world of the Matrix, where he is hunted down by Goth, who is seen, seemingly drowning the Doctor.

A misjudged “freeze-frame” at the end of episode three of The Deadly Assassin, raised strong objections by Mary Whitehouse, which eventually led to Who Producer, Philip Hinchcliffe being job-swapped with the producer of (detective drama) Target, Graham Williams. Bernard Horsfall played Nicky Gore’s father the previous year in the memorable children’s drama, The Changes.

Borusa

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Played by: Angus Mackay (1976), John Arnatt (1978), Leonard Sachs (1983), Philip Latham (1983)

Appearances: The Deadly Assassin (1976), The Invasion Of Time (1978), Arc Of Infinity, The Five Doctors (1983)

Borusa, a member the Prydonian Chapter, was the Doctor’s tutor at the Academy, where he also taught the Master, the Monk, the War Chief, the Rani and Drax. Borusa altered Gallifrey’s historical records once the Doctor was cleared of murdering the President, writing favourably about disgraced Chancellor Goth. As Chancellor Borusa, he helped the Doctor triumph over the Sontarans’ invasion of Gallifrey.

Borusa was part of a cover-up with the corrupt, Councillor Hedin, which allowed Omega to access the Matrix and exact revenge on the Doctor. Borusa abused his powers as President, using a time scoop in a botched attempt to place five incarnations of the Doctor, companions and enemies in the Death Zone to create a path to the Tower and Rassilon’s tomb. However, Borusa had been tricked and despite Rassilon granting him the “immortality” he seeks. Borusa suffers a “waking death” trapped in Rassilon’s sarcophagus.

Angus Mackay returned to Who in Mawdryn Undead (1983) as Turlough’s Headmaster.

Drax

Played by: Barry Jackson

Appearance: The Armageddon Factor (1978)

Drax claimed to be an old chum from the academy. He addresses the Doctor as “Thet” – a nickname for his academic moniker “Theta Sigma”. Drax, is not the cleverest of Time Lords, misinterpreting the Doctor’s plan to escape the fearsome Shadow, Drax shrinks the Doctor and himself instead of the antagonist!

The late Barry Jackson had previously appeared in early Doctor Who serials The Romans, Mission To The Unknown and Galaxy Four but will be perhaps best remembered for his role as the pathologist, Dr George Bullard, in Midsomer Murders.

Professor Chronotis (Salyavin)

Played by: Denis Carey

Appearance: Shada (1980, not transmitted)

Chronotis is an absent minded, tea loving, Regius Professor of Chronology at Cambridge University… and has been for three centuries! In reality, a retired Time Lord, living a quiet existence as a Cambridge Don, this seemingly benign renegade was actually Time Lord “criminal” Salyavin, once (wrongly) imprisoned on planetoid Shada.

The creation of Douglas Adams, Chronotis also features in Adams’ 1987 novel Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency. Partly as recompense for the loss of his work on Shada, Denis Carey was offered the role of the Keeper (of Traken) the following year.

Professor Edgeworth (Azmael)

Played by: Maurice Denham

Appearance: The Twin Dilemma (1984)

Professor Edgeworth was better known to the Doctor as Azmael, Master of Jaconda, whom he first met in his fourth incarnation. His powers have been usurped by Mestor, an evil Gastropod. Edgeworth forces twins Remus and Romulus to use their genius to bring two outlying planets into the same orbit as Jaconda, with the aim of forcing Mestor to relinquish power.

Maurice Denham was one of the most experienced actors to have taken part in Doctor Who. He was encouraging to the young actors playing the twins and attempted to improve their performances. Sadly this isn’t especially evident on screen!

The Rani

Played on TV by: Kate O’Mara (1985-87, 1993)

TV appearances: Mark Of The Rani (1985), Time And The Rani (1987), Dimensions In Time (1993 charity special)

Played on audio by: Siobhan Redmond (2014-)

Audio stories: The Rani Elite, Planet Of The Rani

The creation of Pip and Jane Baker, in an attempt to redress the fact all the renegade Time Lords were male, The Rani is teamed with The Master in Victorian Killingworth, experimenting on the locals and turning people into trees. Her skills lie in the biological field: She successfully harvested the brains of history’s top scientists inTime and the Rani and those of the first two Doctors in Dimensions In Time.

Kate O’Mara had previously worked with Colin Baker on The Brothers and despite her starring role in Dynasty, she asked to return to the show in 1987, declaring she missed working in a wet, muddy quarry! O’Mara was keen to work with Big Finish, sadly she passed away before the recording of a Rani audio could begin. It was her wish that the character should live on – regenerated and Big Finish invited Siobhan Redmond to record The Rani Elite.

The Valeyard

Played by: Michael Jayston

Appearance: The Trial of a Time Lord (1986)

The Valeyard was an amalgam of the darker sides of the Doctor’s personality. The character exists between Doctor’s 12th and 13th incarnations (bear in mind Robert Holmes wrote this in 1986).

Michael Jayston had worked with Tom Baker on the 1971 film Nicholas and Alexandra, in which Jayston starred as Tsar Nicholas II and Baker portrayed Rasputin. Jayston had always harboured ambitions to work on Doctor Who and in 1986 his wish was granted.

The Curator

Played by: Tom Baker

Appearance: The Day Of The Doctor (2013)

The Curator may possibly be a “retired version” of the Doctor, who like the “War Doctor” didn’t use the title. The Curator appears to have assimilated the face of a (somewhat older) fourth Doctor as his own, in the same way the Doctor had previously appropriated the face of Commander Maxil for his sixth incarnation and that of Caeilius from Pompei for his twelfth.

The Curator, was a clever way to allow Tom Baker a pivotal role in the Fiftieth Anniversary Special of Doctor Who, without having him specifically play the Doctor.

Other Renegades?

The Doctor has encountered a number of characters, who could very possibly be fellow Time Lords, however, this isn’t explicitly stated in the programme – in some cases because the serials in question predate the use of the term or because the character is deigned to be deliberately ambiguous and their motives are open to interpretation.

The Meddling Monk

Played by: Peter Butterworth

Appearances: The Time Meddler (1965), The Dalek Masterplan (1965/6)

The Monk (aka Mortimus), undoubtedly holds the strongest claim to being considered a member of the Doctor’s race. Not least because he also owns a TARDIS. The Doctor first encounters the Monk, who might have been in disguise, in a priory on the Northumberland coast in 1066. He is clearly a time traveller and by the end of the serial he is threatening to get even with the Doctor, who has shrunk the interior of the Monk’s TARDIS making it impossible to enter.

Peter Butterworth was best known for his comedy roles, especially as part of the Carry On… team. His first two films: Carry On Cowboy (1965) and Carry On Screaming! (1966) – both co-incidentally featuring Jon Pertwee – and were produced around the same time Butterworth was working on Doctor Who.

The Dream Lord

Played by: Toby Jones

Appearance: Amy’s Choice (2010)

The Dream Lord is an “influential” personality, his powers are manifest in getting into the unconscious minds of others. Many fans speculated, he was possibly the Valeyard in disguise, however, it seems he was there to initiate suspicion and mistrust between the TARDIS crew. Arguably, he operated on a similar level to The Master of the Land of Fiction, whom the Doctor meets in The Mind Robber.

Toby Jones followed up his role as the Dream Lord by playing Kotris in the 2012 Big Finish drama Dark Eyes.

Krasko

Played by: Josh Bowman

Appearance: Rosa (2018)

Krasko, a rehabilitated murderer, described by some as a “space racist”, recognised the police box as a possible TARDIS. It is unclear whether he identified the Doctor as a Time Lord on sight – a skill common to all Time Lords.

Krasko’s tattoo suggests he spent time in Stormcage prison, where River Song was held for the “murder” of her husband.

It is worth noting, Susan and Romana could also be described as “benign renegades” as they left Gallifrey and didn’t return – a great offence in Time Lord culture, witness Romana’s anxiety on being recalled to Gallifrey in Season 18. The Chancellory Guard are lower caste inhabitants of Gallifrey and not Time Lords. Andred, who married Leela and Commander Maxil being the most visible examples.

So, there we have it. 16 renegade Time Lords. This isn’t a definitive list, so who else could be added? Please share your thoughts in the comment section.

This article was amended on 18/06/19 to remove an erroneous paragraph referring to The War Lord.