Only a handful of actors have played the Doctor in Doctor Who, and fewer still have played the Time Lord's nemesis, the Master – but only one actor can say they've played both roles.
In the BBC sci-fi drama's centenary special The Power of the Doctor, viewers saw the Master capture the Doctor and force her to regenerate – but more than that, the elaborate device constructed by the villain forced the Doctor to regenerate into him.
The twist means that, technically, Sacha Dhawan is the only actor to have played both the Master and the Doctor in the series' entire history – something that isn't lost on him.
"Chris [Chibnall, Doctor Who showrunner] in our early chats told me about this and explained how it’d work – forced regeneration," Dhawan told RadioTimes.com. "I was really overwhelmed and really excited that I get to be the Doctor, albeit briefly.
"Being the Master’s been amazing but I've always thought, would I ever get the chance to be the Doctor? So it was amazing and, actually when I came to do that scene, there's a lot of my own reaction in it. Obviously, the Master is so moved and there's a lot of my own reaction in that, because it's an amazing moment.
"Being the first British South Asian actor to be playing the Master, and then to kind of be the Doctor, I felt really proud to do it."
Following the regeneration, the Master – in the Doctor's body, but still with his own intellect and personality – attempts to ruin his foe's reputation by causing chaos across the universe in the Doctor's name. Part of him, though, seems to genuinely want to be the Doctor of old, encouraging companion Yaz (Mandip Gill) to remain at his side.
"I suddenly felt this immense pressure, because I'm in the TARDIS and I had to say to Mandip, ‘So what does Jodie do? How do I operate it?’," Dhawan recalled. "That felt odd, but kind of exciting. But also, yeah, quite overwhelming.
"It felt odd in the sense that I'm so comfortable playing the Master and I think that's what happens with the Master – he's waited for this moment and actually, it doesn't quite feel right, because he person he's chased the majority of his life and the person that he sparred with no longer exists. I think it throws him slightly."
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Though The Power of the Doctor is expected to mark his final appearance as the Master, the actor revealed that he'd be open to reprising the role to face off against Ncuti Gatwa's Doctor.
Read more about Doctor Who:
- Jodie Whittaker says "rage" over Doctor Who casting was "terrifying"
- Doctor Who "would not exist" outside of the BBC, says Chris Chibnall
- Billie Piper: 'I'll treasure my time on Doctor Who for rest of my life'
- Doctor Who's Jodie Whittaker says Ncuti Gatwa will be "extraordinary"
- Doctor Who showrunner promises "very different" regeneration scene
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