Michelle Gomez


As Missy, aka the Master, did you ever think you’d get to play the longest-serving villain in showbusiness?

No. And I nearly didn’t. I was offered an audition for Ms Delphox, the villain in Time Heist, but I wasn’t available. [The role went to Keeley Hawes in the 2014 episode.]

I thought that was my only chance to be on the new Doctor Who and I was gutted. So I was moved to write to Steven saying I was such a huge fan and if in the future if he ever needed someone for a razor-cheek-boned villainess then it’s me. I didn’t think any more about it until my agent called and said, “You’d better sit down.”

What’s the Doctor Who audience been like?

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I’ve been to a few conventions and there are so many people giving it a bit of Missy cosplay. It’s a really moving experience to be part of that. I’ll be going to those for a long time to come.

What’s the hardest part of playing Missy?

I’ve been training for this my whole life. If you look at my career – from Irvine Welsh to Green Wing and Taming of the Shrew – there’s a little bit of Missy in all of it, from silly voices, to falling down, to some touching moments and the odd psychotic episode – sometimes all packed into just one speech. And in a corset.

How’d you describe your take on the Master?

I like to think of her as Mary Poppins’s evil twin. The loving part of the Master/Doctor relationship is just the fact that there’s a lot of history between them – they were incredible friends at one point, but the relationship just went sour. I mean, they’ve knocked around the universe together for hundreds of years.

She’s always talking about missing her friend. I think there’s a throwback to the relationship between Roger Delgado’s Master and Jon Pertwee’s Doctor [in the early 1970s]. Then you could see there was history between them, and a mutual appreciation of each other’s wit and intellect. Missy harks back to that.

Is it a coincidence that you, Peter and Steven Moffat are all Scottish?

It’s no coincidence – it’s a plot. Me, Peter and Steven are all basically from the same city. It’s because Gallifrey actually looks a lot like Glasgow. The Weegie sense of humour and attitude did give us almost a shorthand to communicate with – it’s a little bit of extra chemistry.

Which is the scariest monster?

When I was little, my brothers used to scare me by saying, “The Cybermen are coming.” Just that. I would freak out. Because that’s what’s so scary about the Cybermen – that they are coming.


The big reveal [during Missy’s first series in 2014] that the woman in charge of Heaven was really the Master, that I was in command of an army of Cybermen and I was surrounded by quite a large number of the metal men... That’s a day that will stay in my mind for a long time to come.