Michelle Gomez, who plays Missy, the current incarnation of the Master, has been sharing her views on her predecessor John Simm’s upcoming return to Doctor Who.
“It’s fantastic. That’s the thing about [showrunner] Steven Moffat – you never know what’s going to happen next.
“And even when you’ve been in the show – this has been three years now – there’s no time to ever get too comfortable, or rest on your laurels, because there’s always going to be something. He always pulls the rug from under your feet.
“And he presented John and I with a really exciting acting challenge, which I think hopefully has worked.”
Despite her clear approval of the decision to bring back Simm, Gomez admitted that she was initially unaware of his impending return to the show – as she had decided not to read the script in advance:
“Well, you’re going to find out that everything that happens is all a bit odd. And it’s all about the shock yes, it’s all about the shock.
“Because I didn’t really know that was happening until the read-through, because I hadn’t read the script. I thought, ‘Oh I’ll just leave it this year, and at the read-through I’ll really enjoy it all unfolding as we all get together.’
“And I walked into the read-through and John was sitting there. It didn’t even register – I thought ‘Oh it’s John, it’s nice to see John.’
“And I was sitting next to him, and then we started reading and it was obvious that I hadn’t read the script, because I started shrieking at things, as various events unfolded in that episode.”
Although Gomez hinted that the two incarnations of the Master, who are expected to team up for the series finale, may not initially hit it off – ‘it’s not going to be very exciting to watch if there’s no conflict’ – she revealed that having another Master around was quite a different experience for both her and Simm as actors:
“What happens is if you’ve both played the same role, then you both have a shorthand about what it’s like to live that, in a way.
“So that was interesting. We could easily relate to one another because we’ve both been there. It was nice to be able to have that kind of comfort with each other, even though we’d never worked together before.
“We kind of knew where we were coming from.”
Gomez also talked about how the reintroduction of John Simm’s Master to the show was not only good for her portrayal as Missy, but also for the show as a whole:
“I think the dynamic with the fact that there’s sort of two Masters in one brings a weirdness that even I didn’t think I could reach.
“And it really was like John and I were presented with an acting challenge, which was really exciting. You think you know a character and you think you know a job because you’ve been doing it for three years, and then it’s completely up-ended and is changed beyond recognition.
“That brings with it change. And I think it’s good – I think change is good. I don’t think we can ever, when we’re in the realm of telling stories, stay in the same place. I think there’s always something new to say.”
Although we may have to wait for a bit longer – any unexpected surprises notwithstanding – to see John Simm’s Master back in the show, Michelle Gomez will be making her return as Missy in this week’s episode of Doctor Who, Extremis, on Saturday 20th May at 7:25pm on BBC One and at 9/8c on BBC America.