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Elizabeth Sandifer

Elizabeth Sandifer created Eruditorum Press. She’s not really sure why she did that, and she apologizes for the inconvenience. She currently writes Last War in Albion, a history of the magical war between Alan Moore and Grant Morrison. She used to write TARDIS Eruditorum, a history of Britain told through the lens of a ropey sci-fi series. She also wrote Neoreaction a Basilisk, writes comics these days, and has ADHD so will probably just randomly write some other shit sooner or later. Support Elizabeth on Patreon.


  1. David Anderson
    July 1, 2019 @ 10:01 am

    If Chibnall isn’t planning to cast Jodie Comer as Missy as we speak my sense of the man is all wrong.
    I want Comer as the Doctor when Waller-Bridge takes over as show runner.


    • Vadron
      July 1, 2019 @ 10:27 am

      Personally, I’d much rather the Mistress stay dead for a while yet. Such a fantastic ‘Definitive Master Death Scene’ deserves better than to be treated as just as disposable as “oops I tripped and the TARDIS ate me” or “oops I let myself die to spite the Doctor but don’t worry my cultists have got my magic ring I’ll be back mwahaha”.

      Also, I shudder to think what a Chibnall-written Master would be like. I mean, maybe he’d surprise me, but I don’t want to chance it.

      (Of course, it may already be too late. I do give him enough credit that his comment about classic-villains now being fair game for Series 12 cannot plausibly refer to just the Judoon of all things — though I suspect the ‘Vote Saxon’ posters are just a fan prank.)


      • Przemek
        July 2, 2019 @ 7:57 am

        If Chibnall ever brings back the Master, I expect him to be an obnoxious social justice warrior. Y’know, just so that the Doctor can prove him wrong.


        • Vadron
          July 2, 2019 @ 10:02 am

          …You know, I just love how Chibnall is so inept at writing political commentary that the leftists can make jokes about how they expect the villain to obviously be a “SJW” piece of cardboard that the Doctor can prove wrong, and the rightists can make jokes about how they obviously expect the villain to be a racist sexist piece of cardboard that the Doctor can prove wrong.


    • David Claughton
      July 1, 2019 @ 12:30 pm

      Hmm, Jodie Comer as Missy … maybe. Although it wouldn’t do to keep the Eve/Villanelle feel for the Doctor/Master pairing – it’s a very different dynamic, in many ways the exact opposite of Doctor/Missy.


    • prandeamus
      July 2, 2019 @ 8:23 am

      I want Waller-Bridge as Missy. (Which is not to say she can’t be show runner)


  2. Vadron
    July 1, 2019 @ 10:39 am

    “The End of Time” did gesture at the whole Master-Doctor-as-friends thing, what with the Harold’s quiet sadness at the thought that the Doctor could really bring himself to kill him, and his subsequent risking of his own life to save the Doctor from Rassilon. I think that helped Moffat’s reinterpretation considerably because it now seemed to stem organically from the circumstances in which we had last seen the Master.

    (In this regard, “WEaT/TDF”‘s retcon that Harold had time to fully revert to his sociopathic Doctor-loathing self before he turned into Missy kind of harms the arc, delightful as it was as an excuse to see John Simm again.)



    “Missy, Harold, Emile, Giles, Bruce, and Pizza-Face”

    I may be thick, but which one’s Emile and which one is Giles? Peculiar order, at any rate. Did you rank them by preference here? Or by perceived fan preference? You’d think so, except you yourself have noted that there’s a sound argument that Pizza-Face was the Master at his best in the classic series, so…

    …and unless I’m very wrong, you left out Derek Jacobi. Leaving out Jonathan Pryce, Gordon Tipple, Edward Brayshaw, Itzy Friedman and Philip Newton, I can understand. I disapprove but I understand. Jacobi, though?


    • Titus Brendronicus
      July 1, 2019 @ 10:48 am

      Emile I believe is a “Mind of Evil” reference (Emile Keller), while Giles is a “Kings Demons” one of I’m not mistaken (Sir Giles Estram)


      • Vadron
        July 1, 2019 @ 11:53 am

        Ooh… Good lord, you can’t expect a fellow to remember all of the rubbish anagrams, can you? Thanks.

        Doesn’t explain the lack of Jacobi, however.


    • Dan L
      July 1, 2019 @ 12:22 pm

      (Disclaimer: obviously none of this matters, but my brain enjoys sorting and categorising so here we are.)

      Jacobi’s Master is at least easy to fit into that scheme – he’s Yana.

      “Bruce” and “Pizza-face” fit less well, though, since unlike Missy, Harold, Emile and Giles they are not names the Masters took for themselves, with Bruce being the name of the man he stole the body from and Pizza-face being entirely out of universe. We could call the Beevers Master “John”, as he took the pseudonym “John Smith” in the audio play “Master” (which happens to be by far the best pre-Missy Master story, and also prefigures the modern emphasis on their former friendship), but we do struggle with Roberts because he wasn’t around long enough to don any ridiculous disguises, so I think Bruce is the best we can do there. It does suit him, too.

      I’m now racking my brains trying to remember whether or not the Alexander Macqueen Master adopted a pseudonym in Dark Eyes. Pretty sure he did but I can’t remember his name.


      • Vadron
        July 1, 2019 @ 12:33 pm

        I prefer “War Master” to “Yana” as the name for the Jacobi Master, because Yana was the name of the human he became, who should, I think, be considered a person in his own right, just like John Smith from “Human Nature”. Heck, as soon as he’s himself again at the end of “Utopia”, the Jacobi Master seems downright enraged by people calling him “Professor Yana”. (“THATISNOT! MY NAME!!! I…am……the MASTER!”).

        As for the Masterminator, I do know Big Finish brought him back in a River Song story, and he does also appear as a ghost-in-the-TARDIS in a couple of novels, according to the Tardis Data Core Wiki. So maybe there is a pseudonym to be found somewhere in there — I’m fairly sure the River Song story has him disguising his true nature from her for a while.

        Plus, he did technically use “Bruce” as an “alias” of sorts, inasmuch as he used the fact that he was wearing Bruce’s body to get into the hospital. (Or am I misremembering? Been a while since I watched the TV movie, really.)


        • Daibhid C
          July 1, 2019 @ 8:07 pm

          Looking at the TARDIS Wiki page “The Master’s aliases” (because of course there is), it seems that the Roberts Master called himself “Richard” in a River Song audio, and the Maqueen Master called himself “Harcourt De’ath” in “Eyes of the Master”.

          (Also, apparently there was an audio trilogy where the Macqueen and Beevers master swapped bodies, and they both had aliases, but it’s probably simpler if we don’t use those…)


          • Elizabeth Sandifer
            July 1, 2019 @ 8:16 pm

            As you can imagine, there is no way in hell I’m using Big Finish audios to name incarnations of the Master, which helpfully tidies up the Big Finish exclusive incarnations as well.

            I’m pointedly not fond of the War Master. The War Doctor is named such because he breaks numbering and because it acknowledges the degree to which he does not consider himself to be the Doctor for the bulk of that incarnation. The Jacobi iteration of the character does not have either problem, and giving him a name rooted in symmetry with the Doctor seems misguided, especially since it’s difficult to argue that the two incarnations ever met given Tennant’s complete failure to go “hey you look familiar…” in Utopia.

            As for Pizza Face, if you really want to break the punchline of the joke to restore the symmetry I was deliberately breaking with that name I suppose you can, but I’m puzzled as to why you would do that.

          • Vadron
            July 1, 2019 @ 9:58 pm

            Big Finish had to jinx it to bring back Jacobi for a bunch of audio stories, but my favorite interpretation, based on Professor Yana’s comment that his earliest memory as a human is that he was found as a “naked child”, is that the child Master we saw in that overwrought 11th Doctor comic storyline was in fact the younger self of the Derek Jacobi Master, who is the one that the Doctor knew.

            Not only does it make the comment fit with what we otherwise know of Chameleon Arches (they don’t de-age you, they just make up a false backstory for you), but it takes care of that selfsame “but why doesn’t Tennant recognize him?” issue you raise.

  3. Christopher Brown
    July 1, 2019 @ 11:36 am

    This reading would imply that The Witch’s Familiar is the turning point for Missy, which is delightful. I’ve always preferred Davros as the Doctor’s arch-enemy, and in retrospect MA/WF firmly enscones him as such while transitioning Missy toward her new and much more effective role.


  4. James
    July 1, 2019 @ 4:11 pm

    On the subject of Big Finish and reviews, briefly, this made me laugh: https://twitter.com/PercyIvorWoo/status/1145369034730496000

    Peter Ware, who edits DWM: “Oh!! That’s very unfair, Andrew, to suggest that DWM reviews are not “actual” reviews. I listen to all BF’s Dr Who output, to ensure that the reviews are both fair and accurate. Bottom line is that BF’s output (IMHO), is for the main part, excellent.”

    First of all, he listens to ALL Big Finish output? Second of all, he deems it mostly excellent?

    Is that bias or bullshit I can smell in the air?


    • James
      July 1, 2019 @ 4:14 pm

      That whole debate between Andrew and Peter is downright hilarious. Andrew is on the money, whereas Peter either has a very low bar for quality or dare not be honest.


    • CJM123
      July 1, 2019 @ 5:38 pm

      If he’s listening to all of their output, of course he thinks it’s excellent because it will be completely crowding out things that aren’t Doctor Who-related.

      He won’t have the ability anymore to actually take a step-back and compare Big Finish to science fiction in general, or audio drama in general, or even BBC shows in general. Because he’ll have it as his baseline.

      Or it encourages such a passive experience he hasn’t thought a Big Finish through in a while.


      • Vadron
        July 1, 2019 @ 6:08 pm

        I think your first explanation’s on the money. It’s like that XKCD comic about the two people locked in a box with nothing but a bunch of photos of someone eating a sandwich, who eventually come to have deep, complex intellectual disagreements about the relative artistic value of this or that picture.


  5. Daibhid C
    July 1, 2019 @ 7:58 pm

    I think I’d argue that Goss also attempts to split the difference, in a different (and, IMO less successful) way, aiming for ““look at all the funny awful things she does … to people who sort of deserve it”. Because in this story her victims are Officially Terrible People — they even belong to a club for it. The main difference between this story and “Missy attempts good in a bad way” isn’t so much what she does (although the depiction of it does indeed edge into edgelording) as why — she doesn’t really care that they’re bad people, or even that they’re sexist, except to the extent that this now affects her.


  6. Rodolfo Piskorski
    July 1, 2019 @ 8:44 pm

    “IDIOTIC MAN SAYS: ‘You must be a witch.’ RESPONSE: Summon a demonic entity. While he’s distracted by the demonic entity, burn him at the stake. Don’t forget the marshmallows”

    I wish Thirteen had read that column


  7. Aristide Twain
    July 7, 2019 @ 9:19 pm

    Oh, to have binged it all only to realize it’s almost over by the time I catch up… still, it’s been a heck of a ride. This… book? series? blog feature? whatever you wish to label the Tardis Eruditorum… is truly one of the most amazing things about “Doctor Who” lying around the Internet. Well done and thank you.


    • Przemek
      July 8, 2019 @ 8:35 am

      It truly is.

      Also, you can buy (some of) it in book form!


  8. Beverly J. Miller
    July 15, 2019 @ 7:17 am

    Hmm, Jodie Comer as Missy … maybe. Although it wouldn’t do to keep the Eve/Villanelle feel for the Doctor/Master pairing – it’s a very different dynamic, in many ways the exact opposite of Doctor/Missy.


  9. Bill Straw
    August 3, 2020 @ 8:47 am

    “It remains to be seen what the long term potential of this idea is, and indeed whether future showrunners pick up on it or regress the character back towards their roots.”

    Well this was a dispiriting thing to read after series 12.


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