Doctor Who: What If Stephen Fry Was The Master? - Warped Factor - Words in the Key of Geek.

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Doctor Who: What If Stephen Fry Was The Master?

Christopher Morley imagines the possibilities...

Regular readers may note that on occasion we here at Warped Factor often like to play a little game of “what if..(insert name here) was the Doctor?” (See Andrew Scott, David Jason, Patrick McGoohan, David Bowie, and BRIAN BLESSED as examples). Time now to flip that on its head, just as Season Eight of Classic Who did with the introduction of a certain bearded badass into proceedings during Terror Of The Autons, as we consider a Master who never was!

The pantheon is well established - young William Hughes as the eight year old boy who first stares into the Untempered Schism, Roger Delgado as the first of the men he would become, Peter Pratt & Geoffrey Beevers sharing the honours as the decaying husk craving nothing more than the destruction of the Time Lords & a new body, Anthony Ainley as Tremas, the poor Trakenite taken as a host, Sir Derek Jacobi as Professor Yana, whose hiding in plain sight under that fob watch provides quite a reveal once its opened, John Simm as the product of a regeneration leaving him younger & stronger & Michelle Gomez as the first female Master.

But where to turn next? The merest of tweaks to Part One of Spyfall & a bit of imagination could have turned the spy Master into a Fry Master to boot!

Where we saw C, head of M16, killed & O, as played by Sacha Dhawan, eventually reveal himself as the latest male incarnation of the other end of the Time Lord moral compass, it isn't all that hard to swap the roles around - even taking into consideration the age gap between himself & Jodie Whittaker should it have come to pass. We could've had the Fry Master...

And while Fry Master will now forever sound like a brilliant chip shop, rather than the time the former portrayer of the Melchett family line across multiple series of Blackadder (in itself a remarkable feat of time travel) played the Master, consider his introduction to the Doctor. If Chris Chibnall could have been persuaded to swap Sacha for Stephen, the death of the driver of the car could've positively reeked of the Master from the off.
DOCTOR: I thought, let him take us to where we're going. That way, we find out who wants us.
RYAN: What if he kills us along the way?
DOCTOR: Look at him. He's obviously doing this at someone else's orders. Don't you want to know who that is?
SATNAV: In one hundred yards...
DOCTOR: Your equipment's not up to much.
AGENT: It shouldn't be doing that.
DOCTOR: Oh, God!
After all, the Master did previously inflict similar using a plastic chair, did he not?

MASTER: This plastic has got unique properties, Mister McDermott. Allow me to demonstrate.
McDERMOTT: It's unique, right enough. So, er, you're a magician as well as a Colonel.
MASTER: I am many things.
McDERMOTT: Aye, well, that's as may be, but you're not a director of this company, Colonel Masters. I am in charge of production here and I answer only to Mister Farrell and his father.
MASTER: Look, why don't you try it?
McDERMOTT: Well, you'll never sell that, I'll tell you that for nothing. Sure, it looks like like a black pudding.
MASTER: Try sitting in it.
McDERMOTT: It's got a cold clammy feel to it. Now plastic should be warm and dry with a....
MASTER: Sit down!
It doesn't take a great leap of the imagination to suggest that Fry could take on board that Machiavellian aspect of the Masterly personality. But to add another string to his bow, he could equally have proven himself to be Simm-level bonkers, if not more so following the reveal of his true nature, given his talent for a little comedy.

Where the man who started life on the floor of the stolen TARDIS with a scream chose a simple “AAARGH!!!”, the Fry embodiment could go one better than that with a “baah!” before regaining his composure & setting in motion his latest grand plan.

Which as penned by Chibnall would've involved him getting himself a nice high position in the British secret service, a literal spymaster who would've been revealed as the Fry spy Master, which just rolls delightfully off the tongue, does it not?

Could he have resisted the urge to put words similar to Simm's post-regenerative introduction into the mouth of the new man with an upper crust accent? “New voice. Hello, hello. Hello.” But where he's often said similar, particularly the repeated hello during his comparatively more sedate introductions as the former chairman of QI, sadly we'll never hear him follow them with the like of “Anyway, why don't we stop and have a nice little chat while I tell you all my plans and you can work out a way to stop me, I don't think...” More's the pity! But at least his Spyfall introduction would've given him a decent enough cover story, the C perhaps standing for Colonel in a nice nod to his first, if admittedly a tad uninventive alias?
RYAN: Who's talking?
DOCTOR: Your car just assassinated its driver and then attempted to kill us.
C: That's not possible.
DOCTOR: Tell me who you are, and I'll tell you face-to-face just how possible that actually was.
C: This is C. I was having you brought to London. To MI6.
RYAN: What? MI6 is trying to kill us?
While C answers no to that particular question, could the Fry spy Master (see, it really does sound rather wonderful) be tempted to gloat a bit & amend it to a big fat yes? Death by killer sat-nav! And how does he get away? Via TARDIS, of course. He could revisit a familiar tactic & attempt to steal his old friend's Type 40 as he first had in the final moments of Utopia, & then again in Spyfall having had it transported into the heart of M16.
“Ah! At least they managed to transport my TARDIS without damage.”
Or, does what initially seems to be his office serve as the newest of his exteriors for his own? There is also a final option, if Chibnall were willing to allow him to bring something of his own into play through the use of his personal black cab, bought to make driving easier as he could use bus lanes among other privileges......

Alas, the Fry spy Master & his taxi TARDIS are but figments of our Land of Fiction - in this case all the more heartbreaking for their very plausibility!

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