Doctor Who Enemies:
Autons | Cassandra | Cybermen | Daleks | Homo Reptilia
Ice Warriors | The Master | Omega | Ood | The Rani | Raston Warrior Robot
Sabbath | Sil | Silurians & Sea Devils | Slitheen | Sontarans | Time Lords | Zygons
Updated in 2015
I am the Master, and you will obey me!
Suave, evil, often goateed and usually dressed entirely in black, for many the Master is the definitive 'evil genius' of the Doctor Who series. His Machiavellian schemes and callous disregard for the lives of those he considers inferior (ie, everyone else) made him one of the most popular of all the Doctor's foes. Hints that he was formerly a close friend of the Doctor during their youth serve to add extra interest to the character.
Like the Doctor, the Master is a renegade Time Lord. However, the Master has chosen a life of crime; seeking power no matter the cost to others. As a Time Lord, the Master has the ability to regenerate, and has been played by a series of actors.
He was introduced during Doctor Who's eighth series in 1971, while the Third Doctor was trapped on Earth. Although this exile had budgetary advantages, it did lead to an implausible number of groups of aliens invading the Home Counties. The production team therefore decided that a recurring villain should be introduced: a Moriarty to the Doctor's Sherlock Holmes, according to producer Barry Letts and script editor Terrance Dicks.
Unlike most of the Doctor's foes from this period, the Master seems to have a cordial relationship with the Doctor based on mutual respect and loathing: each recognising the other as a reflection of themselves. In several episodes, the two Time Lords express their mutual admiration for each other and even occasionally work together. Yet curiously when exposed to the Keller machine, a device that kills by exposing its victims to their most dreaded nightmare, the Master is shown the Doctor laughing at him.
Little is known of the Master in his childhood on Gallifrey, other than that he knew the Doctor from very young and both were at the same academy. While the Doctor had a modest upbringing, the Master's childhood was much more privileged. Though the Doctor describes his own mountain home as being bleak, covered in sludgy snow and decorated only with a solitary 'daisiest daisy' near where a hermit lived beneath a tree, the Master reminisces about his father's Red Grass pastoral estate across the slopes of Mount Perditon, which he and the Doctor ran across as children.
At the age of 8 the Master was taken to stare into the Untempered Schism, part of a Time Lord's initiation. This is a gap in the fabric of reality that allows Time Lords to see into the time vortex, yet this drove him mad. It was then that he first heard a drumming-noise in his head, the four-beat heartbeat of a Time Lord. It was later revealed that this constant drumming noise was purposefully implanted by Rassilon.
The First Master - Roger Delgado
I am usually referred to as the Master... universally!
The First Master, played by Roger Delgado, appeared eight times during Jon Pertwee's tenure in the show. The first five stories were all in Season Eight (1971). The Master then appeared three more times, twice in 1972 and for a final time in 1973. Having been captured by UNIT at the end of 'The Dæmons', he escaped at the end of 'The Sea Devils', cropped up again in 'The Time Monster' and was seen for the final time in 'Frontier in Space', alongside the Daleks. Although a final return leading to the deaths of both the Master and the Third Doctor had been planned, Delgado was tragically killed in a traffic accident on 18 June, 1973, while filming near Neveshir in Turkey.
The Delgado Master was short, compact with greying dark hair and a neat beard and widow's peak that gave him a devilish appearance. The Master possesses his own TARDIS, one more advanced than the Doctor's, complete with a working Chameleon Circuit1. Hoping to repair his own TARDIS, the Doctor sabotaged the Master's by stealing a key part2, which also strands him on Earth.
The Master's favoured weapon was originally a stubby ray-gun which destroyed the spaces within its victims' tissues, causing great pain and leaving a tiny corpse. This was first used in 'Terror of the Autons', initially as a one-off. Other stories that season did not feature the weapon and instead the Master carried a laser gun, as these were written before 'Terror of the Autons' aired. In later stories he returned to what became the Master's signature weapon and was referred to as the Tissue-Compression Eliminator.
Despite this, though the Master will not hesitate to use weapons when required, he considers this to be almost vulgar, preferring deception whenever possible. To this end, he is adept at disguise and hypnosis. On several occasions, he allied with other alien menaces3 in the often mistaken belief that he can manipulate and control them. He has a habit of using either riddles or anagrams to disguise his name; for example, in 'The Dæmons', he passes himself off as a Mr Magister.
In his spare time one of his hobbies was watching children's television, especially puppet programme The Clangers.
Perhaps the greatest accolade to Roger Delgado's Master can be seen in story 'The Dæmons'; despite being the villain, one episode's cliffhanger ending takes place when the Master is in danger.
Interregnum – The Skeletal Master
Only hate keeps me alive!
The character of the Master was revived for the 1976 Fourth Doctor story 'The Deadly Assassin'. Played by Peter Pratt, this skeletal version of the Master was grotesquely disfigured and bore no physical resemblance at all to the Delgado version. Stripped of his dashing appearance and desperate to preserve his own life, this Master is also more vicious than Delgado's, and seems to lack the attitude that his schemes are a 'gentlemanly game' he is playing against the Doctor, irrespective of their cost to others.
Geoffrey Beevers took on this role in the 1981 story 'The Keeper of Traken'. At the end of this story, the Master used his new-found powers to possess the body of Tremas4, the father of new companion Nyssa.
A new body at last!
Ainley's Master physically resembled Delgado's, though many fans regard him as an inferior imitation. He faced the Doctor ten times, and was generally more camp and 'pantomimey' in attitude. Ainley was not happy with this portrayal of the Master, and favoured a more low-key performance than he was allowed to give on-screen. Despite this, the events of 'Logopolis', where the Fourth Doctor regenerated after failing to prevent the Master accidentally destroying a sizable part of the universe, make this Master one of the most destructive foes the Doctor ever encounters.
This version of the Master retained the original's penchant for anagrammatic disguises (Sir Giles Estram in 'The King's Demons', for instance) and rubber masks. The former was taken a step further by the production team who began to use anagrams of Ainley's name in TV listings to hide his presence in a serial. He is rarely seen without his Tissue-Compression Eliminator and TARDIS, the latter now has a dark interior, but is otherwise similar to the Doctor's. He even has his own robot, called Kamelion, who can change his appearance to become the duplicate of any living person. Though Kamelion is rescued by the Doctor, the Master retains his influence over him and the Doctor is forced to destroy him.
A miniaturised Master was trapped on the planet Sarn at the end of the Fifth Doctor story 'Planet of Fire', in what was intended to be his final appearance. However, the character was resurrected without explanation other than to boast that he is indestructible for the next season. Here he formed an alliance with another renegade Time Lord, the Rani. She is not impressed, stating,
What's he up to now? It'll be something devious and overcomplicated. He'd get dizzy if he tried to walk in a straight line.
He appeared again to save the Doctor at the climax of the 14-part epic Trial of a Time Lord, apparently simply because he preferred the Doctor as a rival to villain The Valeyard.
Ainley's final television appearance as the Master was in the final Seventh Doctor story: Survival. This story deals with the effects of a planet that gave its inhabitants cheetah-like characteristics, and during the story the Master too is affected. Like much in the Master's continuity, this was never resolved on-screen.
Anthony Ainley died in 2004 at the age of 71.
Call me... Master!
The Master was revived for 'Doctor Who: The Movie' in 1999. The Master appears briefly in the opening scene, his trial by the Daleks on Skaro. Played by Gordon Tipple, this Master has no dialogue and is seen mainly in long shot. Sadly we have no explanation as to why the Daleks were trying the Master on screen, although various non-canonical spin-offs have suggested reasons for this, most of which contradict each other.
For most of the movie Eric Roberts, Julia Roberts' brother, played the role. Bearing no physical resemblance to his predecessors, he was the first Time Lord to speak with an American accent. Both can be explained as he has survived his extermination by the Daleks by taking over the body of Bruce, an American ambulance driver, having turned into a snake-like creature. How the Master gained his power to turn into a snake is never explained5, however the Master retains the glowing animal eyes first seen in 'Survival'.
The Master was killed - again apparently permanently - by being sucked into the Eye of Harmony, a vortex of power that provides the motive power for the TARDIS.
During the 'Missing Years'
A strong character such as the Master, with such large gaps in continuity, provided a tempting target for authors when the BBC began to licence books and audio-plays during the Missing Years following the demise of the original television series. These continue to be created since Doctor Who's restoration.
On the Web and Television
The character was played by Jonathan Pryce in the classic Red Nose Day6 sketch Curse of the Fatal Death, written by Steven Moffat. In the climax of this story, the Master encounters a female Doctor played by Joanna Lumley. Sir Derek Jacobi later played the Master in the animated BBC webcast Scream of the Shalka.
The New Series
When Doctor Who was revived in 2005, showrunner Russell T Davies announced that he felt that the Master had dominated Doctor Who for too long and would not be appearing in the show. This was a bluff, in order to maintain the surprise when he appeared three years later.
During the episode 'Utopia', the Tenth Doctor, Martha Jones and Captain Jack Harkness met a human called Professor Yana, living trillions of years in the future. It is revealed that Yana is in fact the Master, who has made himself human and stored his Time Lord essence in a fob watch. The name 'YANA' had been an acronym for 'You Are Not Alone', the last words of the Face of Boe7, which are now revealed as foreshadowing the Master's return. At the climax of the episode, the Master's personality is restored and Jacobi regenerates into John Simm. Though this had apparently contradicted previous claims that the Master had run out of regenerations, the next episode, The Sound of Drums, resolved this by explaining that the Time Lords brought the Master back to fight in the Time War.
Here... come... the drums!
Following much rumour and speculation, John Simm took on the role of the Master at the end of the revived Doctor Who's third season. The Simm Master is very different to the Delgado or Ainley portrayal, being best described as 'bonkers'. We are told that he was exposed to the Time Vortex as a child, and this drove him mad. Although he is involved in his usual nefarious schemes, hoping to establish an empire using a mysterious race of aliens he calls 'The Toclafane', he is once again defeated by the Doctor in an epic three-part climax to the season.
This version of the Master is a distorted version of the Doctor in several ways; he uses a laser screwdriver to dispatch his foes and has a human companion, his wife Lucy, with whom he is implied to have an abusive sexual interest. He differs further from previous incarnations in that he is given to dancing to pop music and pulling faces, and complains of the constant sound of drums in his head. He does share one similarity with the Delgado incarnation, however, in his fondness for children's television; namely in this case Teletubbies.
The Master uses his hypnotic abilities to become Prime Minister, under the pseudonym Mister Saxon, an anagram of 'Master No. Six'. References to 'Saxon' occur throughout the third series, and even appeared in spin-off series Torchwood. He is eventually shot dead by his wife Lucy at the end of Last of the Time Lords, refusing to regenerate as an act of defiance against the Doctor.
An insert scene shows a ring falling from the Master's hand and being picked up, showing he once again found a way to cheat his apparent demise. -This is a homage to the similar death scene of Ming the Merciless in the classic film Flash Gordon.
The Master returns in the David Tennant's climactic last episodes, in which all the Universe dreams of the Master. Though the Master's body was burnt, a woman called Miss Trefusis, a member of a cult dedicated to The Secret Book of Saxon, rescued his Gallifreyan ring. They followed his instructions to create a 'potion of life' to restore him, with the unwilling aid of Lucy Saxon. As Lucy 'bore his biometrical signature imprint8', a trace of the Master still exists, embedded on her lips. This trace is used to reconstruct the Master. The cult sacrifice themselves to bring the Master back, but at a vital moment Lucy applies a ready-prepared Potion of Death in an attempt to kill him.
Although the Master survives, his body has been ripped apart and frequently fades out of existence, revealing a skeletal face beneath. Needing fat to survive, he becomes an insane cannibal, burning his life force up through flying and discharging electrical bolts at the Doctor, who tracks him down. They then discover that the Master had been used by Rassilon, legendary Lord President of Gallifrey, with the sound of drums in his head deliberately implanted. Before they can learn more, the Master is kidnapped and made to work on a billionaire's project to gain eternal life called the Immortality Gate. Instead he uses this to transform every human being on Earth9 into a carbon copy of the Master. This creates the Master Race, with the Doctor now facing 6,727,949,338 Masters.
Rassilon and other Time Lords return, having used the sound of drums in the Master's head to break out of the Time Lock at the end of the Time War. Although Rassilon's gauntlet restores mankind, the Time Lords have been corrupted by the Time War and are now determined to destroy the universe, starting with the Earth. Rassilon calls the Master 'a disease of our making' and the Master saves Doctor from Rassilon's wrath, blaming him for his insanity. He lets the Doctor end the link between Earth and Gallifrey, sending their homeworld back into the last days of the Time War. The Master then vanishes with Rassilon back to Gallifrey, which is then resealed behind an impenetrable Time Lock.
How may I assist you with your death?
Michelle Gomez appeared in the eighth and ninth series of the 21st Century's adaptation of the show as Missy, short for Mistress, as she is the Master in female form. Originally seen watching events unfold, she introduced herself by saying the Doctor was her 'boyfriend'. Her role was to introduce killed characters to 'the Promised Land'. Initially appearing as a garden of Eden, her Paradise soon became over-developed, full of parking lots and sky-rise blocks of flats.
Yet soon it becomes apparent that she is up to her old tricks. Her first act, before even being seen, was to give Clara the TARDIS phone number while masquerading as a woman in a shop, choosing Clara to be the Doctor's companion and arranging her first meeting with the Doctor. She then ensures that Clara and the newly regenerated Doctor rendezvous inside the half-face man's trap restaurant, keeping them together. Her motives for manipulating the two remain unclear, however the Doctor realises that he is being guided by someone he describes as 'an egomaniac, needy game-player.'
Missy comes across as an evil 'Mary Poppins' figure, yet her sweet, caring Nanny-like exterior full of wonder and magic hiding her evil intentions; Missy is practically pernicious in every way. She once again is delighted to be able to fool the Doctor, initially pretending to be a robotic 'Mobile Intelligent Systems Interface' before later revealing that actually 'Missy' is short for 'Mistress'.
Missy believes that she and the Doctor have a complicated relationship; she states that trying to kill each other is merely their way of communicating. Yet when the Doctor believes he is about to die, it is to Missy that he sends his last will and testament. Although Missy is willing to occasionally aid the Doctor, even at her own expense, this does not make her a good person.
The Master appears in the following stories. Stories in italics are minor appearances.
- Roger Delgado Master
- 'Terror of the Autons' (1971)
- 'The Mind of Evil' (1971)
- 'The Claws of Axos' (1971)
- 'Colony in Space' (1971)
- 'The Dæmons' (1971)
- 'The Sea Devils' (1972)
- 'The Time Monster' (1972)
- 'Frontier in Space' (1973)
- 'The Deadly Assassin' (1976)
- 'The Keeper of Traken' (1981)
- 'The Keeper of Traken' (1981)
- 'Logopolis' (1981)
- 'Castrovalva' (1982)
- 'Time-Flight' (1982)
- 'The King's Demons' (1983)
- 'The Five Doctors' (1983)
- 'Planet of Fire' (1984)
- 'The Caves of Androzani' (1984)
- 'The Mark of the Rani' (1985)
- 'Trial of a Time Lord' Episodes 13-14: 'The Ultimate Foe' (1986)
- 'Survival' (1989)
- 'The Movie' (1996)
- 'Scream of the Shalka' (2003 Webcast)
- 'Utopia' (2007)
- 'Utopia' (2007)
- 'The Sound of Drums' / 'Last of the Time Lords' (2007)
- 'The End of Time' (2010)
- 'Deep Breath' (2014)
- 'Into the Dalek' (2014)
- 'The Caretaker' (2014)
- 'Flatline' (2014)
- 'In the Forest of the Night' (2014)
- 'Dark Water' / 'Death in Heaven' (2014)
- 'The Magician's Apprentice' / 'The Witch's Familiar' (2015)
There have been many Doctor Who spin-offs. These are all considered non-canonical as they frequently contradict the television series and each other, but are an enjoyable look at the Doctor Who universe or 'whoniverse'. Many of these spin-offs involved those who would become writers involved in the new series.
Big Finish is a company that makes full-cast audio dramas, including a Doctor Who series. In 2000 Big Finish contacted Anthony Ainley to enquire whether he would play the Master for these, however Ainley made several demands including a fee out of Big Finish's price range, so Geoffrey Beevers was cast instead. More recently, Alex Macqueen has played the Master opposite Paul McGann's Eighth Doctor.
There have been two one-off Masters, one for the 'what if?' Doctor Who Unbound series. Another was an adaptation of 'The Hollows of Time', a 'lost story' originally written for the television series' cancelled series 23. This had originally been intended to feature Anthony Ainley as the Master, but as he had died in 2004 a different actor was cast for its audio adaptation.
The following Big Finish audio plays feature the Master:
- 'Dust Breeding' (2001) - Geoffrey Beevers
- 'Doctor Who Unbound: Sympathy for the Devil' (2003) – 'Sam Kisgart' (Mark Gatiss)
- 'Master' (2003) – Geoffrey Beevers
- 'The Hollows of Time' (2010) – David Garfield
- 'Trail of the White Worm' (2012) – Geoffrey Beevers
- 'The Oseidon Adventure' (2012) – Geoffrey Beevers
- 'UNIT: Dominion' (2012) – Alex Macqueen
- 'Mastermind' (2013) – Geoffrey Beevers
- 'The Light at the End' (2013) – Geoffrey Beevers
- 'Time's Horizon' (2014) – Alex Macqueen
- 'Eyes of the Master' (2014) – Alex Macqueen
- 'The Evil One' (2014) – Geoffrey Beevers
- 'The Death of Hope' (2014) – Alex Macqueen
- 'The Reviled' (2014) – Alex Macqueen
- 'Masterplan' (2014) – Alex Macqueen
- 'Rule of the Eminence' (2014) – Alex Macqueen
- 'Requim for the Rocket Men' (2015) – Geoffrey Beevers
- 'Death Match' (2015) – Geoffrey Beevers
- 'Master of the Daleks' (2015) – Alex Macqueen
The Master has appeared in many Doctor Who Novels. He featured in numerous novelisations of television adventures published by Target Books, many of which expanded on or created new scenes not seen in the television stories. As the Target Book range did not follow the television order when publishing books, the Master was first introduced in Doctor Who and the Doomsday Weapon, a 1974 adaptation of 'Colony in Space', before he was again introduced in the novelisation of his first appearance, Doctor Who and the Terror of the Autons in 1975.
After Virgin Books purchased Target Books, they created two Doctor Who book ranges. The first was known as the NA or New Adventures and featured the continuing adventures of the Seventh Doctor while the MA or Missing Adventures featured stories involving the first six Doctors. MA novel The Dark Path gave an origin story for the Master, revealing his name to be Koschei. The character portrayed here is a victim of circumstance, being driven by an insane desire to dominate the universe by betrayal and tragedy. He used all his regenerations at once at the climax of the book, leading to the conclusion that the Delgado version of the Master is the thirteenth and final regeneration. BBC Books' First Frontier and Face of the Enemy, also by author David A McIntee, continue this theme.
Happy Endings, the 50th Virgin NA, featured the Master as villain, attempting to disrupt Benny and Jason's wedding.
In 1996, the rights to publish Doctor Who novels returned to the BBC, who launched a range of EDA or Eighth Doctor Adventures and PDA or Past Doctor Adventures, featuring the first seven Doctors. The first of the EDA novels, The Eight Doctors, attempted to put some context around the events of the TV Movie, providing explanations for the Master's trial on Skaro and ability to survive his execution. Legacy of the Daleks fills another continuity gap, detailing how the Delgado Master became the skeletal version.
As well as walk-on parts as a man wearing a rosette in the EDA The Adventuress of Henrietta Street and as the Magistrate in the PDA The Infinity Doctors, the Master appeared in a further six PDAs. These were Deadly Reunion, Last of the Gaderene, Verdigris, The Quantum Archangel and Prime Time.
The Faction Paradox series of books refers to a very similar character called The War King. Many BBC-copyright characters are alluded to by pseudonyms in Faction Paradox materials, and it appears clear that this is one example.
Comics and Other Appearances
Sin wears many faces...
The Master has appeared occasionally in comic strips run in Doctor Who Magazine and other publications. His first comic appearance was in Nestlé chocolate bar wrappers published in 1971. Often the Master's appearance in comic strips is completely unlike that of any actor who has played the character in order for the comic publisher's to avoid paying the actor any royalties.
The Master has appeared in TV Action and Doctor Who Holiday Special in 1973, Doctor Who Annual 1974 and in occasional issues of Doctor Who Magazine (DWM) since 1991. The Delgado version defeats a collection of other fictional villains. In the Eighth Doctor story The Fallen, he is seen in the body of a lanky, balding black street-preacher, still using the Tissue-Compression Eliminator. He reappeared in this form a few stories later in The Glorious Dead. Here it is revealed that he was rescued from the Eye of Harmony by a being called Esterath, keeper of The Glory, an artefact that gives power over time and space and which the Master now wants to control. The Master disintegrates at the end of this story and control of The Glory passes to the former Cyberman Kroton.
In 1997 a Doctor Who computer game entitled 'Destiny of the Doctors' was released. This featured new video footage of Anthony Ainley as the Master, with the dialogue written by Terrance Dicks and adapted by Gary Russell.
For many years, fans theorised that the Meddling Monk, who encountered the First Doctor twice, might be the Master in a previous incarnation. Evidence for this was scanty at best - essentially simply because they are both renegade Time Lords. This theory has fallen out of favour, as it contradicts the origin stories for the Master presented in the books and audios, although these are non-canonical.
On equally flimsy grounds, The War Chief from the Second Doctor's final story, The War Games, was often viewed as a possible previous incarnation of the Master. After all, both share a fondness for black Nehru suits and beards. This too is disputed in NA publication Timewyrm: Exodus.
Throughout the history of the series there has been speculation that the Doctor and Master were brothers. It had been intended to reveal this in Jon Pertwee's intended last episode, however Roger Delgado's death prevented this. The closest that this idea got to screen was in the 1984 story 'Planet of Fire'. Apparently being burnt alive, the Master's last words are 'Won't you show mercy to your own…' with expectations high that, had he lived just a second longer, the last word would have been 'brother'. This theory, that the Master was the Doctor's brother, was dismissed on-screen by the Doctor early on during The Sound of Drums. Since Missy has referred to the Doctor as her 'boyfriend', fans have speculated whether the following word would have been 'ex', 'partner' etc.
Evidence to back this up includes how, on the planet of the Cheetah People the Seventh Doctor tells the Master, 'They do say opposites attract'. The Tenth Doctor cradles the Master in his arms after he is shot by Lucy Saxon, saying, 'It can't end like this, you and me. All the things we've done.' Later the Doctor tells the Master, 'You could be so wonderful… I wonder what I'd be without you.'
As a renegade Time Lord, the Master has his own TARDIS. This is a more advanced model than the Doctor's; notably, it has a mark II dematerialisation circuit while the Doctor's retains the mark I. While the Doctor's TARDIS is trapped looking like a police box, the Master's is able to blend in with its surroundings. It has successfully disguised itself as a blue horsebox, Concorde, a red spaceship, computer bank, marble fireplace, iron maiden, a police box, a bush and twice it has appeared as a clock. It does have a habit of being a doric column, though, which might be why the Master acquired a new TARDIS before he visited the planet Traken. As Traken was protected by a force that turned all evil to stone, the Master disguised his TARDIS as a frozen invader called Melkur, keeping his old TARDIS at hand inside the new one.
The interior of the Master's TARDIS has remained incredibly similar to that of the Doctor, with one key difference. Like a rebellious teenager, the Master has painted all the walls black.
The Master's hobbies usually involve taunting the Doctor, coming up with a scheme to conquer the Universe, adopting a disguise or manipulating others. Oh, and watching children's television. Most of his schemes involve finding a more powerful race or creature and trying to exploit them as a means to his own ends. He prefers to use the most powerful races whenever possible, even if just to find the means to hold the universe to ransom, such as by looking for the Uxarieus doomsday weapon. Unsurprisingly, many of these 'allies' turn on him and the Master often resorts to helping the Doctor defeat his own evil scheme.
Among those the Master has allied with are: Autons, Axos, Azal (a Dæmon) Cheetah People and Kitlings, Daleks, the Keeper of Traken, Kronos the Chronovore or Time Eater, Ogrons, Sea Devils, Time Lords, Xeraphin and, of course, several gullible or easily hypnotised humans.
Master of Disguise
Perhaps it is part of his theatrical nature, but the Master loves dressing up and pretending to be someone else, especially if he can fool the Doctor as part of the bargain. His impersonations know no bounds; he is perfectly happy to disguise himself as anything even if he has no reason to believe that the Doctor is anywhere near. As befits his perception of himself as someone important, his aliases are usually authority figures and have included Colonels, Professors, vicars, Naval officers, an Earth Adjudicator from the Bureau of Interplanetary Affairs, the Commissioner of Sirius IV and even an Emissary of the Gods of Mount Olympus. Yet he is also prepared to adopt a more humble disguise when needed, having twice disguised himself as a telephone engineer and even, on one occasion, spending time in the middle of a field dressed as a scarecrow for no apparent reason.
The Master has used a wide variety of methods to despatch his various victims. Although his favourite by far is by using his phallic Tissue Compression Eliminator, he has used a wide variety of other techniques including plastic armchairs and dolls, stabbing, poison, cannibalistic consuming, pushing people off things such as radio telescopes and stealing their bodies.
Although we do not know who his very first victim was, the Doctor does reveal that the Master started along his pernicious path by killing first those who threatened him.