Jeff of Earth-J said:
The Time Lords resurrected The Master to fight in the Time War? I guess I had forgotten that detail. Okay, from Derek Jacoby onwards, then, definitely a Time Lord. The “burn victim” Master (as played by Geoffrey Beevers in “Traken”) was said to be at the end of his 12 regeneration. Does that make Roger Delgado the 11th or the 12th? Here’s how I look at it: Roger Delgado played the 12th and final regeneration of The Master. Then something (something as yet unrevealed) happened between “Frontier in Space” and “The Deadly Assassin” causing him try to regenerate a 13th time. The regeneration failed, but he somehow survived in a hideously deformed state.
“Tremas,” then, is the 14th Master (the 13th “regeneration,” although I’m not sure this technically counts as such. It is the 14th Master which bedevils the Fourth through Seventh Doctors, and is presumably the one put to death after his trial on Skarro in the TV movie (which I still haven’t watched since it was recently released on DVD). Somehow (I forget the specifics) he was able to regenerate into the 15th Master, as played by Eric Roberts. Presumably it is this Master who regenerates into the 16th, Derek Jacoby, making John Simm the 17th Master. Right?
We first encounter the Master(as played by Roger Delgado) in "Terror of the Autons". We have no notion as to what incarnation of the Master this is. It could, in theory, be any of them. The Doctor seems to know the Master. There have been fan theories that the Meddling Monk and/or the War Chief were earlier incarnations of the Time Lord who later became known as "The Master". I don't know that anything in the stories outright contradicts this, but I don't buy it - it's all a little too "Roy Thomas ties it all together" for me.
We last see the Delgado Master at the end of "Frontier in Space". When we see the Master again, it's in "The Deadly Assassin" and he's played by Peter Pratt and is all decayed, and is said to be at the end of his final life.
What happened to the Master between "Frontier in Space" and "The Deadly Assassin"? It's possible that the Delgado Master was the Thirteenth Master and the Pratt Master is the Delgado Master in extreme decay or in the aftermath of some failed attempt to prolong his existence. It's also possible that the Delgado Master was an earlier incarnation, and had several "off-screen" incarnations before becoming the Pratt Master.
We next see the Master In "The Keeper of Traken". He is now played by Geoffrey Beevers, but looks enough like the Pratt Master that I for one am willing to posit that the Pratt Master and the Beevers Master represent the same "incarnation". At the end of the story, he somehow usurps the body of Councillor Tremas (played by Anthony Ainley), thus gaining a new lease on life. Why he chose Tremas' body in particular, I leave as an exercise for the student. It may be that Trakenites were particularly resilient - Tremas' body did seem to last the Master quite awhile.
The Ainley Master has several adventures battling the Doctor and is last seen at the end of "Survival", under the influence of the Planet of the Cheetah People. We next see the character again at the start of the TV Movie, where he's played by Gordon Tipple. Is the Tipple Master the same incarnation as the Ainley Master? Maybe, maybe not. They have a sort of similar look. It's also possible that at some point the Master may have for some reason hopped to a new body or bodies and that the Tipple Master is one such. The Master somehow manages to survive extermination by the Daleks and become a sort of snake thing, which possesses the body of Bruce the Ambulance Driver (played by Eric Roberts). The Roberts Master seems to be in a hurry to transfer his"essence" to the Doctor's body - saying "This body won't last long" and thus implying that Terran bodies are somehow less robust than those of the Trakenites. (Which raises the question - if, in "Journey's End", Donna Noble's "human" body could not contain a Time Lord intellect, how is it that Doctor 10.2's "human" body can?)
At any rate, at the end of the TV Movie, the Roberts Master is sucked into the TARDIS' carburetor Eye of Harmony and apparently digested by it!
We next see the Master in "Utopia", where we find that he has used the MacGuffin Arch to disguise himself as the "human" Professor Yana (played by Derek Jacoby). In the course of that story, he is exposed to a Thunderstone and evolves into shot and regenerates into the John Simm Master, who, in "The Sound of Drums" explains that the Time Lords "resurrected" him to fight in the Time War and that eventually he ran and hid when he saw the Dalek Emperor take possession of the Cosmic Cube or whatever the hell it was.
Now - what, if anything, happened to the Master between the the end of the TV Movie and the point in time when the Time Lords resurrected him to fight in the War?
Answer the First: Nothing. He was genuinely dead at the end of the TV Movie and stayed so until the Time Lords resurrected him.
Answer the Second: He somehow survived being eaten by the TARDIS (Hey, we've seen him get out of worse spots!) only to be subsequently deaded at some other point in spacetime.
Which is right? Who knows? I like the first answer better, though.
Another point - we don't know for sure that the Jacoby Master was the first post-Resurrection incarnation of the Master. It's possible that he regenerated a number of times before he cutted and runned. Possible, but no way to prove it either way.
At any rate, we see the Simm Master killed at the end of "Last of the Time Lords", although we also see the business with the ring, which made it quite clear to any long-term fan of the show that he'd be back. It's not quite clear to me what exactly happened to him at the end of "The End of Time", but surely, when the time is right, whether played by John Simm or someone else, the Master's evil chuckle will be heard again.
As a long time Doctor Who fan myself, starting when the Tom Baker episodes were first syndicated to America, I would like to take a crack at this if I may.
Once upon a time, it was established that ANY Time Lord was allowed 12 regenerations, or 13 chances at life, but the Roger Delgado version was portrayed as being the last one of that character, thus part of his motivation during the Master's adventures against the Third Doctor (Jon Pertwee) was to forcibly obtain our favorite Time Lord's remaining lives, since he used his more sparingly than the Master apparently did.
Delgado sadly died in a car crash after "Frontier In Space", although there were plans afoot (or so I've heard) to have them face off again and make the Master responsible for the switch between Pertwee and Tom Baker.
When the scarface one appeared, if I remember correctly, it was stated he was the result of trying to prolong that last life. Of course you see how well that went.
Tremas (and the character name has since been reported as just an anagram upon the part of someone behind the scenes trying to be 'cute' ) had his existence hijacked by the scarface version, granting the Master a new lease on life. So we are definitely on his 14th life at this point, but I'm unsure if you can count this as his 13th regeneration.
Anyway, during the 20th anniversary adventure, "The Five Doctors", the Time Lords hijacked The Master from wherever he was (like they have done in the past with the Doctor) and demanded he help his adversary.
"What's in it for me?" was the obvious result, with the Time Lords offering Anthony Ainley's Master ANOTHER full set of regenerations! Now he never attempted to collect his reward, thus making fans wonder if another set was even possible.
The antics of Ainley's Master are recorded in his appearances between the 20th anniversary and the end of the Sylvester (Doctor) McCoy run on the series. When next we see the Master, it is during the Fox 1996 TV movie. Now why the Master was more successful with Tremas than he was Bruce is beyond me, but the grand finale still involved the Master trying to steal the Doctor's remaining regenerations.
But there is a lot of speculation involved between the gap between Anthony Ainley and Eric Roberts, let alone between Roberts and Derek Jacoby/John Simm; because while there was some attempts between the novels and the audio plays, the BBC considers only the TV show canon.
With that in mind, the Master fell into the access portal to the Eye of Harmony at the end of the movie, thus providing a convenient deus ex machina to cover anything between the TV movie and the show's revival in 2005.
The mysterious ring served basically the same purpose as the fob watch, although something was lost in translation, as seen during David Tennant's last outing as the Doctor ("The End of Time").
BUT, all the rules regarding just how many regenerations a Time Lord is supposed to have are apparently out the window with the old continuity!
Since there are very few Time Lords officially left in the universe since the end of the Time War, the Doctor now allegedly (at least in a flippant response to the question by Matt Smith as the Doctor during an appearance on The Sarah Jane Adventures) a Time Lord now has 527 regenerations! Or in other words, unlimited life, something previously only found in some video games.
Granted, something had to be done to address the issue today. Matt Smith is the eleventh actor in the role, making his Doctor the result of the character's 10th regeneration. Leaving the BBC only two more actors available before they would have to cancel the series outright under the old regime.
Now whether this open ended count on regenerations is a result of the Time War, since there is not as many Time Lords drawing upon the regeneration energy as there used to be, or a more sinister reason: like say, the upper echelon of Gallifrey intentionally kept the lower ranks believing that there were only 12 regenerations available, remains to be seen.
If I'm right, why Lord President Borusa wasn't in on the secret (as seen by the ending of "The Five Doctors") is unknown.
It must also be pointed out for those keeping score that after the question was first raised during "The Brain of Morbius", William Hartnell's portrayal was established as the very first Doctor just in the twilight of a very long life. There were NO other regenerations before his.
But whatever the correct answer(s), it's a good program and I'm looking forward to the new season, and wondering how Doctor/Professor River Song might fit into all of this!
Jeff, et al:
My mention of the Sarah Jane reference is based upon another news source's coverage of it when that episode first aired in England. Sadly, no American TV network has shown any of the SJ Adventures since the first season, and while available on DVD, you are paying a higher price for the imported series than a home grown program.
Watched the TV movie last night. We see so little of the Tipple Master at the beginning of the film (and what we do see looks so much like a "burn victim") that I'm willing to assume he's the Ainley Master, finally burning out of Tremas' body. I don't know how he pulled off the body transfer trick (either time), but I don't consider them to be "proper" regenerations (what ever those might be). I tally it this way...
Ainley/(Tipple): 13.1 (or "14")
Roberts: 13.2 (or "15")
Jacoby: 14 (or "16" or "1" in a new cycle)
Simm: 15 (or "17" or "2" in a new cycle)
I wouldn't like to ever see an American Doctor, but I liked Roberts as the Master.
Netflix, Schmetflix. If you really want to watch "The Death of the Doctor," it can be easily found ... ummm ... elsewhere, if you look for it. Granted, it won't be on YOUr tv TUBE, but still.
I'm just sayin'.
By offering him a new set of regenerations in 'Five Doctors', this supports the idea that regeneration isn't a natural trait of the Time Lords, instead a genetically-engineered process created by them. (Of course, this implies a form of immortality if they are endlessly able to do this, which is what Borusa wanted in 'Five Doctors' so if he could do it that way, why go through all the trouble with the Games? Yet another discussion)
So I wouldn't find it completely unfeasible that after the Movie, but during the Time War, the Time Lords were somehow able to recover the Master's essence and restore him with a new set of regenerations.
Of course, the speculation over human bodies being unable to support Time Lord genetics blows apart the Movie's rather audacious explanation of the Doctor being half-human (although in a tiny way, that would help explain his own difficulties with regenerating. But you can't have your cake & eat it too, right?)