PertWeek: The Doctor vs The Master in THE FINAL GAME

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In 1974 Jon Pertwee's Doctor was to have one last showdown with Roger Delgado's Master. To close out our PertWeek celebrations Christopher Morley explores what would've been 'The Final Game'.


As we near the end of our week long celebration of Jon Pertwee's era of Doctor Who', we head into what could have been a very different end for the Third Doctor. You see, Planet Of The Spiders wasn't first choice as Jon Pertwee's send-off. But for the tragic death of Roger Delgado, we would have actually seen the Master face off with his old foe once more. The stakes were high for The Final Game! Just how high will become apparent...

The original plan for the ending of Season 11 was to reveal that the Master was either brother to the Doctor, or his darker side personified- the idea of which was of course recycled in the form of the Valeyard for the Sixth Doctor's Trial Of A Time Lord arc. Earlier, vaguer hints to the idea that the goatee bearded agent of chaos was a 'dark half' of the Doctor's personality had also been included in Logopolis by the Fourth Doctor himself while explaining the nature of his exact relationship with his old foe to Adric & Nyssa. Of course, there's also the Dream Lord from Amy's Choice....

But back in the proposed 1974 adventure, in a then unthinkable twist, the Master was to have sacrificed himself, followed shortly after by the Doctor's regeneration into his newest incarnation! So while we actually saw this as Third became Fourth...



...the original idea was to have something similar to what the Tenth Doctor would go through in The End Of Time - John Simm's Master dragging himself back into the Time War, allowing for the Doctor's survival and subsequent changeover into his Eleventh incarnation...


Serves Rassilon right for basically using the Master as a stooge, we say!

There was also a hint at a brotherly link between the two enemies in Planet Of Fire, the Master making the suggestion to the Fifth Doctor and Peri. Shame on you if you thought the trip to Sarn was only worth it for the sight of Ms Brown in a bikini!

Had he not died in a car accident in Turkey, Roger Delgado had previously expressed a desire to leave the series anyway, having told producer Barry Letts he would make a final appearance in the role after Frontier In Space but no more.


However, his death came after a car he was traveling in during shooting on an unfinished and never completed film named Bell Of Tibet fell into a ravine - and so Planet Of The Spiders was made in place of The Final Game.

The character of the Master would of course return in The Deadly Assassin, but Roger left an indelible mark on the part over the four seasons he played the role. Indeed, it's this part which made his reputation.
Delgado and Jon Pertwee were close friends off-screen, and his untimely death was one of the spurs for Jon's decision to leave. It's testament to all the Who crew that the substitute story is so well remembered today, and a fitting tribute that Delgado's widow Kismet lent her vocal talents among the spidery throng...



A certain crystal as first seen in The Green Death makes its return, the Brigadier gets embarrassed by the clairvoyant Professor Clegg & the Doctor is forced to risk life & limb to stop those nasty arachnids...what's not to like?


The knowledge that the Master might have been involved had Roger survived might lead some to speculate as to whether or not he'd have tried to seek an alliance with the Spiders, as he did with the Autons and Axons. Instead we get Lupton, eager to gain power beyond his means by working with them. We also get two Time Lords for the price of one! The Doctor's old mentor K'anpo Rimpoche ( or the Hermit) left Gallifrey to live in peace on Earth as a Buddhist monk- a reflection of Letts's keenness to explore aspects of the faith. His 'assistant' Cho-Je is actually his future self, too. Trippy! You might notice that the ritual/incantation used to bring Spiders to Earth is remarkably similar to Buddhist spiritual meditation/chanting...



Of course, if you've had the pleasure of taking a gander at The Abominable Snowmen, you'll know this isn't the Doctor's first experience of the teachings of the Buddha. Back then he was in his Second incarnation, footloose and comparatively fancy-free.

Whoever plays the character today or in the future, and whatever sex he or she may be, we shouldn't forget the man who made the Master what he is, and the incredible on screen rapport he shared with Jon Pertwee...




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