Just as in any species, there is light and shade in Gallifreyan society. Here’s a little list of naughty Time Lords (and Ladies). It’s not exhaustive but all of them even appear in some of the classic series: the Rani, Morbius, the Monk, the War Chief… You could also say Borusa and Rassillon were “bad apples”. And of course there’s also Salyavin.
But the renegade the Doctor encountered most often was the Master. Here at the Ood Cast, we think there are 4 distinct stages in the many lives of this shady figure: childhood; suave villainy; ridiculous re-birth as an A-Lister’s brother and finally the positively chilling Tony Blair impression (yes, even the bit where he went properly mental and leapt about eating people).
Sardonic, often beardy, always charming, the Master was the epitome of cool villainy in earlier stages of the Doctor’s lives, delighting in chaos and mostly using others to carry out his evil work for him rather like a well-dressed Simon Cowell. But he was not always so maladjusted.
He grew up with the Doctor, but was taken (as Gallifreyans chosen to be Time Lords are) at 8 for training and forced to look into the Untempered Schism. Some say this sent him mad, which might explain a fair bit. This event later came back to haunt the Master’s every waking hour in the form of a constant drumming sound in his head.
When the Doctor fled from Gallifrey, it is thought the Master was charged with pursuing and capturing him, following him to earth during his period of exile in order to defeat him. But because the Doctor had made friends in military circles, it was never so simple a battle. UNIT even managed to imprison him once – until he hypnotised the prison governor…
These inept soldiers (always happy to fire a gun but rarely hitting anything that posed any real danger) were always on hand to help send the Master off with his tail between his legs – even when he’d teamed up with Sea Devils, circus impresarios, Autons, convicts, and ancient demons to name a few. Not even his possession of WMDs or his renowned shrinking weapon could gain him enough of an edge to beat his compatriot.
He reappeared variously across the next few incarnations – including memorably using a professorial alias to conduct an experiment called TOMTIT (Brilliant – never mind the benefit cheats, it’s the psychotic aliens nicking taxpayers’ university science funding we need to deal with)… and stealing the body of the father of someone who would soon be a companion of his old enemy. And then there was the whole living with cat people on an exploding planet thing.
He was eventually tried and executed by the Daleks for being just as mean as they are (don’t tread on their skirting boards), and was being transported back to Gallifrey by the Seventh Doctor – as that had been his final wish. He forced the TARDIS to land on earth, took the body of Julia Roberts’ less-famous brother and almost had the Doctor defeated… until he fell into the Eye of Harmony.
Frightening Blair Impressionist
The Time Lords somehow resurrected him (because every civilisation needs a Bruce) to help fight the Time War, only to see him desert them as soon as it got a bit hairy, disguising himself as an elderly professor until the Doctor got him to check the time and his memory came back… He regenerated into the Prime Minister of Great Britain, took the Doctor prisoner (making him elderly and tiny but refusing him winter fuel allowance) and conquered the earth with some floating footballs and a “Paradox Machine”. He was then shot by his own wife and refused to regenerate… and died.
A sinister cult worshipped him and eventually brought him back using a Potion of Life – a process jeopardised when his wife turned up with a Potion of Death… but he was then simply kidnapped to work on an Immortality Gate, which he fixed to turn every human into another one of himself. He then brought the Time Lords back too, although Rassilon undid his GM work. He disappeared back into the Time War with Rassilon and the other Time Lords when the Doctor broke their link with the earth by destroying the White Point Star diamond.
You know, summing that up just sort of clarifies for me how much more ridiculous the “nu-Who” Master stories have been…