When it was revealed that John Simm’s villainous version of the Master was returning to Doctor Who many fans were completely knocked sideways, with the news coming as a complete shock to the majority of viewers.
Well, turns out their surprise was shared by none other than Michelle Gomez, who has played a later incarnation of Simm’s character (called Missy in shorthand for The Mistress) since 2014 and was completely blindsided by the news herself when production on the episodes began.
“Well, you’re going to find out that everything that happens is all a bit odd,” Gomez, who appears in this Saturday’s episode of Doctor Who prior to a team-up with Simm towards the end of the series, told RadioTimes.com. “And it’s all about the shock yes, it’s all about the shock.
“Because I didn’t really know that was happening until the read-through, because I hadn’t read the script. I thought, ‘Oh I’ll just leave it this year, and at the read-through I’ll really enjoy it all unfolding as we all get together.’
“And I walked into the read-through and John was sitting there. It didn’t even register – I thought ‘Oh it’s John, it’s nice to see John.’
“And I was sitting next to him, and then we started reading and it was obvious that I hadn’t read the script, because I started shrieking at things, as various events unfolded in that episode.”
A series trailer including Michelle Gomez and John Simm’s Masters
“It’s fantastic,” the Scottish actress continued. “That’s the thing about [series showrunner] Steven Moffat – you never know what’s going to happen next.
“And even when you’ve been in the show – this has been three years now – there’s no time to ever get too comfortable, or rest on your laurels, because there’s always going to be something. He always pulls the rug from under your feet.
“And he presented John and I with a really exciting acting challenge, which I think hopefully has worked.”
Sign up to the Radio Times newsletter for the latest TV and entertainment news