Thursday, April 8, 2010

The Master says Relax... I mean Obey.

There have now been plenty of Masters on Doctor Who, but by far, the best Master of all would have to be Roger Delgado.
I have a soft spot for the Jon Pertwee era, considering it was when I first saw the show. ABC in Australia replayed Pertwee and Tom Baker episodes for what seemed like decades while I was growing up.
Roger Delgado's Master was the nemesis of Pertwee's Doctor, and the character was, even back then, a bit of a moustache-twirler, but Delgado gave it such style.
Delgado had a back catalogue of movie and TV roles, playing a range of swathy types and probably the odd vicar. He could play suave and sophisticated in his sleep. Narcolepsy aside, he had the chops.Delgado's Master had the same issues as the other Masters: a deep, seething hatred of the Doctor's ability to win both the day and the affections of everyone around him without resorting to underhanded dealings.
Oh, and wanting to rule the universe. Natch.
He also had the complete inability to kill off his nemesis with a simple bomb or gun, preferring the more intricate, ornate, sophisticated and ultimately escapable trap. Consider "Terror of the Autons" - the Master's first story. After cleverly disguising himself as a phone technician to infiltrate the UNIT base, the Master could just whip out a gun, add some witty quip, and blow his fellow Time Lord away.
But instead, he installs a phone.
Sure, it's a bit of a killy phone, what with the remote-controlled strangling cord and all, but still...
since Delgado's tragic death in a car accident while shooting a movie in Turkey, the character has been resurrected in both the classic and new versions of the show, plus appearances in the McGann movie of 1996 and online stories. But as each new version of the character appeared, the subtleties of the character diminished, from Anthony Ainsley's 80's appearances resembling Dick Dastardly, to John Simm's wildly grimacing portrayal in the new series.
None have suitably matched the gravitas that Delgado brought the role. For me, he was the original and the best.
To misquote Time Crash: "He was my Master."
This t-shirt design harks back to the bad old days of 2003. I travelled to Whovention in Sydney. To subsidise my expenses, I decided to try selling some merchandise, including keyrings with the Gallifrey symbol, posters and some t-shirts. One design was a dalek design that has since disappeared on one of my hard drives. the other was this design, a mash-up of Doctor Who and Shepard Fairey.

Considering the Master was a skilled hypnotist, I thought it was a perfect match.

The sale, by the way, was a disaster, and on top of that, I successfully (though accidentally) insulted one of the visiting celebrities in front of a room of fans. So all in all, the weekend was not a huge success.

But I was always happy with the finished version of this design. So I've made it available for purchase again through redbubble.

So, if Roger Delgado was your Master, you know what... you... must... do...

(I'm fiercely staring at you through the screen right now, btw)

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