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Digital Subscriptions > Doctor Who Magazine > 497 > THE BEST DRESSED!


The Doctor’s arch-enemy, the Master, took on a whole new lease of life in the TV Movie, thanks to Hollywood star Eric Roberts...

The Master thinks he’s God, and sometimes God has to be a little rough. Sometimes you have to have a little tornado, you know? He’s that kind of guy. He’s egomaniacal, which is insane.” This is The Word according to Eric Roberts, when asked to describe his interpretation of the Master in the 1996 TV Movie.

We are meeting up in a Heathrow hotel during a rare visit to the UK by the Hollywood actor, there to attend a convention for supernatural drama Lost Girl. When he greets DWM with a fist bump, and later says goodbye with a hug, it displays a casual familiarity which belies expectations, especially as we’re there to discuss his performance in a shortlived role two decades ago.

Wearing a light brown overcoat which bears more than a passing resemblance to the Tenth Doctor’s, coupled with a classic white shirt and blue jeans combo, there’s little here to recall the sunglasses and leather coat which were the trademarks of his interpretation of the renegade Time Lord.

Two decades previously, filming was well underway on the TV Movie in Vancouver, with Sylvester McCoy and Daphne Ashbrook shooting scenes in the hospital trauma room and at the opera, with Eric to join the cast on set for the first time a few days later.

MAIN IMAGE © Mark Bryan-Brown/Radio Times

He unquestionably delivered his own version of the Master, rather than copying his predecessors in the role, although Eric was well aware of the approach taken by Roger Delgado and Anthony Ainley, and just how far removed from their performances his take was going to be.

“My initial thoughts were, ‘I hope this works, here I go,’ because I was playing him very differently. I just hoped it blended with what had gone before – and it did, I was very proud.”

Born in April 1956 in Biloxi, Mississippi,

Eric grew up in Atlanta, Georgia as a shy, insular child with a noticeable stutter. His father, the founder of Atlanta Actors and Writers Workshop, encouraged his son’s enthusiasm for theatre and the stutter soon disappeared when he was learning lines.

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About Doctor Who Magazine

A special issue celebrating the 20th anniversary of the 1996 TV Movie! Contents include: interviews with actors Paul McGann, Eric Roberts, Daphne Ashbrook, Yee Jee Tso and Gordon Tipple, and Executive Producer Jo Wright; a feature examining the legacy of the TV Movie; Steven Moffat answers readers' questions; Fact of Fiction – The Power of Kroll; Part One of a new comic strip, Witch Hunt by Jacqueline Rayner, illustrated by Martin Geraghty; The Time Team watch Victory of the Daleks; plus news, reviews, previews, prize-winning competitions and much more.