Doctor Who Season 10 Finale Contains Tribute To The Masters Of The Classic Series


Is there anything that pleases Doctor Who fans more than a nod to the show’s illustrious history? If not, then this season has been one of the best fan-pleasing runs of the show. In the last two episodes alone, we have the return of the original design of the Cybermen – last seen in 1966 – and a comeback for John Simm’s Master.

While it’s great to see the actor back in the role, his return has also allowed him to pay tribute to the Masters of the classic series, specifically Roger Delgado (1971-74) and Anthony Ainley (1981-89). Both actors sported a traditional villainous goatee beard, which Simm was keen to bring back here.

He explained the following to Doctor Who Magazine (via DoctorWho.TV):

“Yeah, I just grew it, and turned up at the readthrough, and said, ‘You know, I fancy a bit of this,’ and Steven [Moffat, showrunner] was like, ‘Well, okay. Right, yeah. That’d be good. Yeah, why not?’ Everybody seemed fine with it. I just thought, ‘Give a little nod.’ It was a nod to the Delgado and Ainley Masters. There’s a line in the final episode where he mentions ‘old-school’, and I made sure to give the beard a little stroke – a small nod to the old Masters.”

Simm also notes that he originally wanted to sport a beard during his initial appearances opposite David Tennant’s Doctor. However, the showrunner at the time, Russell T. Davies, vetoed the idea, presumably to distance Simm’s portrayal from the character of the classic series.

The actor also made the intriguing reveal that the “sound of drums” in his head, which were the cause of the Master’s madness, are not affecting him anymore, which allowed him to play the part “differently.”

“Yeah, that’s gone. So he’s different. I had the opportunity to play it differently. Also because of the dynamic with Michelle, which was something that neither of us had envisaged in a million years – playing the same character at the same time. That was a new one on both of us. That had a big say in how I played him.”

This somewhat confirms the fan theory that the sound of drums disappeared from the Master’s head after the psychic signal’s function was fulfilled in 2010’s “The End of Time: Part Two” – to bring the Time Lords and Gallifrey back into reality.

Doctor Who‘s season 10 finale airs this Saturday on BBC America.