Six Smart Women Discussing Doctor Who

VerityEpisode20-300This week a slightly smaller Verity! crew tackles the Master (but not literally–except maybe in Deb’s dreams). Join Deb, Erika, and Tansy as we cover the different iterations of the Doctor’s arch enemy–from the classy to the crazy and everything in between. See who likes which Master. Find out which Master none of us likes (you can probably guess). Decide for yourself if Delgado’s Master is the same as Peter Pratt’s (we don’t agree).


Also covered:
The Memory Cheats – TMDWP 074!
Karen Gillan’s shaved head!
New podcasts: Reality Bomb! and Terminus!

Download or listen now (runtime 1:08:54) 

Comments on: "Verity! Episode 20 – Yes! Master" (37)

  1. Ray Adamson said:

    Ainleys’ Master never played to me as an impersonation of Delgado.Even with the costume callback,i tended to focus on him as a corrupted and possessed version of Nyssa’s father so i’ve never really felt it was a terrible thing that his version of the Master was not radically different in appearance from Delgado although he was supposed to be a different regeneration.I don’t think he was ever quite as effective as an adversary for the successive Doctors’ after Tom Baker and i think that,s largely because he knew Tom personally and the quality of writing wasn’t there in the way his character was used in later scripts,not really much Ainley could have done,it’s not like he wasn’t trying.Probably the lack of attention to that particular story point with Tremas after Bidmead left the programme is why it’s normal for people to assess his portrayal by comparing him with Delgado and i think it does him a disservice and isn’t appropriate critically.Initially there was a carefully handled Satanic quality with the references to Paradise Lost and the catastrophic destruction of the union of Traken because of his return.Note that James Gunn is getting hate messages on twitter for karen deciding to lose her hair for her character in Guardians now.It’s not a great demonstration of loyalty to karen since Gunn really has enough on his plate helming his first big studio film and selling an unfamiliar Comic book property to a general audience.There are any number of reasons for Karen to have made her choice even apart from being characteristically crazy and nobody’s said anything about it being conditional about her getting the part.She’s said she used to be teased about being ginger when she was growing up in interviews.She’s said she was impressed by Anne Hathaway’s work in Les Miserables on twitter.It could be a sympathetic gesture of commitment because Matt has just done a similar thing for the sake of playing a character or even shame about her remarks about pony tails in the confidential for Amy’s choice.[I’M GETTING DESPERATE,HERE.]You might as well blame Doctor Doom or Thanos.Just unleash the raccoon and give him a bigger gun,James.

    • It’s really disappointing to see that “fans” are being so stupid and entitled about Karen’s hair, though I can’t say I’m surprised. As I said in the podcast, celebrities (and in fact ordinary women too) often get this kind of crap simply for choosing a more practical short haircut, let alone for doing something quite so drastic as Karen.

      IT GROWS BACK, people! Also, she can afford expensive wigs now. And it’s not like we don’t already have a gajillion images of Karen with her long red hair to look at if for some reason we have some kind of emotional tie to SOMEONE ELSE’S HAIR.

      I think you’re right about the Anthony Ainley thing – I think I was an adult before I heard anyone suggest that it was a bit weird that both classic Masters had the same beard and clothing style. It had just never occurred to me before because – that’s how the Master looks. Maybe the Doctor’s the weird one for always going for different Looks every time. I mean, both Romanas had the same costume consultant…

      Maybe ALL TWELVE original incarnations of the Master had the dapper beard and a penchant for black suits. Maybe that’s why they kicked him off Gallifrey.

      • “Maybe that’s why they kicked him off Gallifrey.”

        Yeah, because the fashion sense on Gallifrey is just so awesome, right? I mean, no fancy hat? Kick him out!

      • Sarah B said:

        Remember Romana shopping for a body before choosing Lalla Ward? Presumably if they choose to regenerate when it’s not a matter of of stress or near death, there is a certain amount of choice involved. Perhaps the Master just likes that body type?

    • I vehemently disagree with your assertion that comparing Ainley with Delgado isn’t appropriate critically–and not just because I’m the one who did so. On the contratry, comparison is a large part of criticism. If we weren’t comparing and contrasting the different versions of the Master, we wouldn’t have been doing our jobs (and it would have been a very boring podcast).

      As for finding similarities between the two and seeing those as Ainley intending to mimic the former Master character, that’s a personal interpretation, and is no less valid than Tansy’s idea that he’s a much-later regeneration. Telling someone they’re criticising Doctor Who incorrectly is just as silly as telling someone they’re loving it wrong.

      Sorry if I sound grumpy, but your comment made me grumpy.

      • Ray Adamson said:

        Ah! In the interest of universal peace,i apologise for expressing my opinion in a way which provoked grumpiness but Ainleys’ portrayal of the Master is much more a corrupted version of Nyssa’s father rather than an impersonation of Delgado for me personally and i don’t think he’s really the character Delgado played which is why the comparison is dubious to me.I’m not denigrating your opinion or declaring that my subjective opinion is more important than yours but i’m afraid i am disagreeing because of my perception of how Anthony Ainley approached playing the character.We don’t have to be small about this,i would hope.Congratulations on your parsec podcast nomination and thanks for the debate and analysis as usual.

      • Elvis Omar said:

        Ray’s comment made me grumpy too, Erika, but in my case it was because there were no paragraph breaks in his post. Ray, buddy, I value your opinion, but please, it’s so much easier for people to read your writings if you use standard punctuation, standardized spelling and capitalization, and if you at least put spaces between sentences if you are not going to break up into paragraphs.

        Just sayin’

      • @Ray — That’s a relief! The internet is not a place where tone is easily decipherable, and there are plenty (PLENTY) of people out there who do think their personal opinion is superior to everyone else’s. Ridic, but true. So when things are phrased declaratively, I assume they’re meant the way they’re phrased. In verbal speech, it’s so much easier to note when that’s not the case. I’m glad I was misinterpreting. 🙂

        And yes, we’ll have to agree to disagree on Ainley’s portrayal–the way I saw it was the exact opposite of how you did. I love how Doctor Who is so infinitely interpretable!

  2. hello friend, i really like your this episode. It is very emotional story. As I think podcast, celebrities (and in fact ordinary women too) often get this kind of crap simply for choosing a more practical short haircut, let alone for doing something quite so drastic as Karen.

    • You’re quite right. It’s pretty ridiculous how much foofaraw can be caused by someone changing their appearance just a little bit. People can be really shallow. You make a good point about short hair being practical. I have longer hair, and it’s often a pain!

      Glad you liked the episode, and thanks for listening!

  3. Thank you so much for the mention! I might have squeed out loud like a dork. You guys totally made my day, because, yes, as you said, you guys directly inspired me to do my podcast in the first place. 🙂

  4. Me, I like the interaction between the Ainley Master and the Third Doctor in The Five Doctors.

    • Me too. You really get a sense of unseen history with them!

    • I haven’t seen that in ages! Now when I watch again, I’ll be paying extra-special close attention to the Master’s interaction with the Doctors. 🙂

  5. Right, so here goes.

    A few years ago, a couple of friends and I got to talking about the Master. Remember when the 10th Doctor is asked “Is he your brother?” and the Doctor denies this?

    One of my friends, a social worker, said that in her view, the Doctor was lying. She’d seen that behavior in her job with siblings who were fighting and in her mind, it was clear to her that was the dynamic at work here. The Doctor and Master are siblings, or were raised in the same household as same.

    The Last of the Time Lords suggests otherwise (which aired after the same theory was espoused to me) but I’ve never forgotten her idea.

    • Foster brothers could be an interesting dynamic. Or if Time Lords ship all their kids off to boarding school at a young age (would explain a lot) then they could have that relationship regardless of blood ties.

      But of course not knowing is a big part of the fun.

      • Elvis Omar said:

        According to the novel Lungbarrow, Gallifreyans are all raised in communal, clannish households. It had occurred to me that The Master and The Doctor were clan brothers.

  6. mikeb said:

    One of my favourite slightly leftfield theories about The Master is that, from The Master’s perspective, the TV movie happens before The Deadly Assassin (bear with me!).
    The theory goes that the Daleks put The Master on trial after the events of Frontier in Space and then (for some reason, possibly some kind of faulty time-space messaging system) the 7th Doctor receives the call to pick up his remains from Skaro and the exciting and much-loved events of the TV movie occur. After we see The Master swallowed up by the Eye of Harmony he is turned into the corpse-like Peter Pratt/Geoffrey Beevers Master, eventually returning to his ‘right’ place in time and winding up on Tersurus where he is discovered by Chancellor Goth and The Deadly Assassin happens.

    I’m sure that theory is probably full of holes but it’s quite fun to think about. You have to stretch it a bit to fit in the new Big Finish Companion Chronicle Mastermind (which is absolutely brilliant, by the way).

    • OMG that’s brilliant. It makes SO much more sense!

      I haven’t listened to MasterMind yet but very excited to.

    • Elvis Omar said:

      I agree with Tansy on this one, I love Mike’s theory.

      Personally, I’ve never been a big fan of The Master. I’ve always liked him (and Moriarty) in a Doylean sense; it’s necessary in mythology to have an arch-enemy, really. But from a Watsonian point of view I’ve always found Master (and Moriarty) stories to be a bit of a let down. And here’s why: The reason to have such a nemesis is to show the type of character needed in order to best our hero; but we still can’t have him win. So, when the arch-enemy loses a battle, we realize our hero will never lose.

      I’m certainly not suggesting I want the Doctor to lose very often, if ever. I just think since the nemesis is a reflection of, or maybe the inverse complement of our hero, the villain is more threatening and believable when he stays inside the black mirror.

    • Sarah B said:

      Oh, that’s great! I need to spend some time thinking about that. 😀

  7. I think the comparison of the Doctor and the Master to Perry the Platypus and Dr. Doofenschmirtz definitely has something going for it. (Also, did you know that the actor who plays Ferb was Tim Latimer in “Human Nature”/”The Family of Blood”?)

  8. fierceturtle said:

    You did an episode on the Master! (flaily-Kermit-hands) The Master is my favorite character in Doctor Who, and John Simm is the entire reason I am a fan. If he had never played the Master I don’t know if I ever would have thought to watch the show.

    However, I am the type of Geek that loves the history of things, so I delved into the classic Master stories even before I finished catching up on the new series, and I found that I may love Delgado as the Master even more than Simm! Plus Planet of Fire is top of my all time classic Who favorites, so just a lot of Master love all around, and happy to hear a Podcast devoted to that character.

    I had hoped that Robo-Master from Shalka would get at least a small mention. He was BBC canon briefly after all.

    • Every time I read a Doctor Who fan origin story like yours it makes me smile. Lots. 🙂

      As for the Shalka Master, I’ve never seen it! But you’re right, we could have tossed in a mention along with the Big Finish stuff and the books. I didn’t even know he was in it. I’m looking forward to the DVD release later this year!

  9. It’s very disappointing to hear about the negative reaction some fans are having to Karen’s haircut. How depressingly shallow these people must be. It’s only hair! It grows back! And she looks great with a shaved head anyway.

    Apart from that, thanks for another stimulating podcast! 🙂

    • Ray Adamson said:

      Tom MacRae has just described the combination of Gillans’ new tonsorial styling and her onesie as terrifying and i have to agree.Actually traumatised.I know she used to like Next Generation Trek as a kid but didn’t she realise she’s a different gender from Patrick Stewart and is never going to look like him whatever she does now?Fear her,Guardians Of The Galaxy.

      • I think she looks cute. And as her hair is growing back, she’ll be able to experiment with short pixie cuts and the like. Unless, of course, she decides that she likes the bald look and chooses to stick with it. Whatever makes her happy. There’s a lot more to the woman than her hairstyle. 🙂

      • Who cares what her gender is? If she wanted to look like Patrick Stewart, then more power to her! That’s like saying you shouldn’t cosplay as someone if you don’t have the same body type/coloring/gender/hair/etc… Silly!

      • Elvis Omar said:

        Why is it when Robert DeNiro puts on 50 pounds for a role, everybody says “Look how dedicated he is to his acting!” but when Karen Gillan shaves her head for a role, it’s all about how she looks!?! Rubbish!! The only difference there is: it’s slightly easier to grow hair than to lose weight, but then again we know DeNiro can afford a personal trainer if he wants one, so that balances it out.

        I admire Karen’s dedication to her acting, and I also admire the fact that she was totally okay with taking her terribly expensive wig off during a press event. It shows that in her OWN mind it’s not about the surface details. She likes her job, she commits to it, and she seems even to enjoy being slightly silly in front of large numbers of strangers (sort of an essential quality for acting, really).

  10. Just a correction on one of the points raised regarding John Simm’s Master. He didn’t specifically choose to return to the 21st century to spite the Doctor. The Doctor had managed to lock down the navigation controls so that it could only travel between 21st century Earth and the year 100,000,000,000,000 (ish).

    Excellent episode. For me, growing up, Ainley was The Master, and the idea of there being other Masters as there were other Doctors never entered my mind, but I’ve learnt to enjoy all his incarnations since then (even Roberts).

    • Ooh I forgot that bit. Still, the the 21st century is a big place… and the fact that he went for Britain is a bit of a direct dig.

    • I did think of that while we were recording, but I could see we were gonna run over on time, so I just let it go. I knew the internet would catch it! 🙂

      To the location angle, the TARDIS was locked to where it left from, so he’d end up in Britain no matter what. That said, the Master could have traveled elsewhere to take over a country that might have been an easier target, but he didn’t–I assume for the very reasons that Tansy described. 🙂

      • Oh, yeah. That’s exactly what he’d do. After all, he isn’t at all surprised that the Doctor and co manage to return to 21st century Britain. In fact he’s been waiting for it, so that he can rub his victory in their faces.

      • That’s what I’d always gone with – the Doctor locked the TARDIS specifically to the last space/time coordinates they had been at (refuelling in 21st century Cardiff) and the Master saw it as too good an opportunity to miss, given the Doctor’s affinity for Britain (“Only Britain’s great” – Voyage of the Damned)

  11. With Peter Capaldi now cast as the 12th Doctor, does anyone else like the idea of Helen Mirran or Olivia Colman as a new Master? I think either one would play really well off him and would make a canon timelord gender change (Doctor’s Wife doesn’t count thanks to Rule 1), which would open the door a little wider for a future female Doctor.

  12. […] Doctor’s costume before we get on with things. You’ll note that we don’t talk too much about the Master or the Rani. That’s ‘cause we’ve covered both of those fine miscreants in previous episodes. […]

  13. […] we did already talk about the Master, but now that Missy is here, it’s a whole new conversation! Join Deb, Erika, Liz, and Tansy […]

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