One of the biggest surprises for Doctor Who series 10 was the reveal that John Simm would be returning to the role of the Master, with the villainous Time Lord (who last appeared in that form in 2009 episode The End of Time) apparently set to join forces with his female regeneration Missy (played by Michelle Gomez since 2014) in future episodes.
And now current Master/Missy Gomez has spoken for the first time about the meeting of the two characters (or rather, one character at different points in their own life), with the Scottish actress suggesting their encounter could be less than cordial.
“Well, you’re going to find out that everything that happens is all a bit odd,” Gomez told RadioTimes.com, adding that it was “exciting” to see the two versions of the evil Time Lord meet on screen.
She also hinted that the two versions of the Master might not initially get on that well, with the Time Lord and Lady finding themselves at odds in keeping with the tradition of the series’ previous multi-Doctor stories (which often saw different incarnations of the Doctor falling out whenever they teamed up).
“Well, it’s not going to be very exciting to watch if there’s no conflict,” she teased, while also expressing her surprise at the audacity of the storytelling in general.
“That’s the thing about [head writer] Steven Moffat – you never know what’s going to happen next,” she said.
“And even when you’ve been in the show – like 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.”
A series trailer including Michelle Gomez and John Simm’s Masters
Gomez went on to discuss the process she and Simm faced in portraying the same role on screen, with the pair finding common ground having both played the Master for a number of years.
“What happens is if you’ve both played the same role, then you both have a shorthand about what it’s like to live that, in a way,” Gomez said.
“So that was interesting. We could easily relate to one another because we’ve both been there. “It was nice to be able to have that kind of comfort with each other, even though we’d never worked together before.
“We kind of knew where we were coming from.”
It sounds like no matter how much they may quarrel onscreen, the presence of another Master has encouraged Gomez to up her game – in a way that even she didn’t think was possible.
“I think the dynamic with the fact that there’s sort of two Masters in one brings a weirdness that even I didn’t think I could reach,” Gomez laughed.
“And it really was like John and I were presented with an acting challenge, which was really exciting. You think you know a character and you think you know a job because you’ve been doing it for three years, and then it’s completely up-ended and is changed beyond recognition.
“That brings with it change. And I think it’s good – I think change is good. I don’t think we can ever, when we’re in the realm of telling stories, stay in the same place. I think there’s always something new to say.”
We’d completely agree – especially if that new thing is being said by not one but TWO evil Time Lords with a nefarious plan to carry out.
Doctor Who continues on BBC1 on Saturday at 7.25pm