This Saturday’s Doctor Who will see the return of John Simm’s evil Time Lord The Master, and perhaps to keep up with his younger successor (Michelle Gomez’s Missy, who plays a later incarnation of the character) the villain seems to have completely updated his sartorial style.
In a new picture that gives us our best look at him yet, we get a decent impression of his new goatee (which seems to pay homage to classic series Masters Roger Delgado and Anthony Ainley, who had similar facial fuzz) as well as the rather snazzy new outfit he’s sporting, which is a far cry from either of his previous looks (sharp-suited New Labour type or hoodie-wearing bleached-blonde tramp) in the sci-fi series.
The Master's new appearance
The Master’s former looks in 2007 and 2010
Instead, it looks to us like his new unusually-cut coat is something of a play on Peter Capaldi’s own dark-suited Twelfth Doctor costume, with the merest hint of a red lining in Simm’s collar recalling the similarly vivid interior of Capaldi’s own suit jacket.
Oh, and Simm also now looks a bit like Jonathan Pryce's version of the character from 1999 Red Nose Day spoof Doctor Who: The Curse of Fatal Death, a sketch penned by current series showrunner Steven Moffat (though as far as we can tell, Simm's Master still lacks the 'Dalek bumps' of Pryce's, below).
But fans of Simm’s Master need not worry that it’s all change, because one popular feature of the character’s former appearances is making a comeback (and can be seen in his right hand in the new image). Yep – it’s his laser screwdriver, created by former showrunner Russell T Davies for use in 2007 two-parter The Sound of Drums/Last of the Time Lords and not seen in Simm’s later 2010 appearances.
Created by the Master from Earth components to rival the Doctor’s trademark sonic screwdriver, this weapon can shoot a concentrated energy beam that kills or destroys whatever it touches, and was also previously equipped with artificial ageing technology that could rapidly cause victims to grow older.
The screwdriver was also designed to be isomorphic, meaning it only worked for the Master himself, and all in all it was a pretty deadly device that we can’t wait to see back in the hands of evil.
It’s a little unclear how the Master got it back, whether he built a new one that looked that same or why he didn’t just pack the awesome Tissue Compression Eliminator instead, but hey – if we could make our own versions of the sonic screwdriver and carry them around, we would too.
Doctor Who continues on BBC1 this Saturday 24th June at 6:45pm