If John Simm’s upcoming appearances in Doctor Who weren’t enough ‘returning Master’ for you, then we have excellent news – because in a surprise twist, veteran actor Sir Derek Jacobi is also coming back to the franchise ten years after he briefly played the evil Time Lord (and his disguised human persona Professor Yana) in 2007 episode Utopia.
However, you won’t be seeing Jacobi on your TV screens alongside his later selves, because his return to the character will instead take place this December in a series of audio adventures produced by Big Finish, with the four stories taking place during the Time War with the Daleks and collected under the title Doctor Who: The War Master (in a play on the name of John Hurt’s War Doctor character).
Apparently the stories will explore the history of Jacobi’s incarnation before he fled the War and made himself human, and frankly the whole thing sounds pretty exciting.
Sir Derek Jacobi with director Scott Handcock (left) and writer Nicholas Briggs (right)
“I didn’t expect to come back to it all these years later,” Jacobi said in a release, “but I was thrilled to be remembered.
“The plots in all these episodes have been very good indeed, very interesting, very dramatic, and beautifully written. The whole process has been a delight!”
“His incarnation is very much the ‘Hannibal Lecter’ of Time Lords – intelligent, charming, but thoroughly ruthless – we had a lot of fun in studio bringing the War Master back to life,” added producer and director Scott Handcock.
“It’s been a gift of a project, and we can’t wait for listeners to hear it!”
And interestingly, this isn’t the first time Jacobi has lent his voice to The Master; in 2003, he provided the dialogue for a different version of the villain in animated Doctor Who adventure Scream of the Shalka, alongside Richard E Grant’s alternate version of the Ninth Doctor (at the time intended to be canonical, but this was retconned when the series returned to TV).
Jacobi also previously appeared in a 2003 Big Finish audio drama called Deadline (where he played an ageing TV writer trying to sell a series called Doctor Who, having previously met the Doctor as a young man) so really this whole thing is one big homecoming.
Doctor Who: The War Master will be available for purchase this December. Find more details here