Will John Simm Return to Doctor Who? It's Complicated

Will John Simm Return to Doctor Who? It's Complicated
Image credit: BBC

Will the Saxon Master return?


  • The Master has not appeared since Doctor Who Season 14.
  • However, John Simm, who played an iteration of the character, has expressed a desire to return.
  • The decision will depend on Russell T Davies' intention to reintroduce the villain.

The Master has always been one of the best villains in Doctor Who history. Whether it was the original incarnation played by Roger Delgado, or the gender-bending version known as Missy, played by Michelle Gomez, the Master always stood out for their villainous antics, providing the show with no shortage of conflict, but also without robbing the story of deep drama - after all, the Doctor and the Master are the only remaining Time Lords who can traverse space and time.

And of course, one of the most memorable iterations was one played by the incomparable English actor John Simm, who appeared in the show in 2007, 2009, and then pleasantly surprised fans by appearing alongside Missy in 2017. After that, we saw another iteration, played by Sacha Dhawan, but unfortunately, since the 2022 specials, we've heard almost nothing about Doctor Who's main nemesis, except for subtle hints.

Let's find out if the Master will return in the future, and how likely it is that John Simm will reprise the role.

Will the Master Appear in Season 15?

While the Master hasn't appeared in the last two seasons, it's no secret that Season 14 was full of hints and clues. Of course, we saw the Master's seemingly final demise in the Christmas special, titled 'The Power of the Doctor,' but that's happened many times before, so we know that such a major villain can probably come back to life, just as the Doctor has been around for many incarnations.

Moreover, the Master is mentioned in one way or another in almost every episode of Season 14. In addition, as part of the 60th anniversary episode 'The Giggle', in which David Tennant returned to the role of the Doctor (albeit as the Fourteenth Doctor), the villain's plight is directly addressed. According to the story, the Toymaker trapped the Master in a golden tooth, but after his defeat, we saw a scene in which the tooth is taken by someone else's hand. All of this suggests that the writers, led by Russell T. Davies, have no intention of eliminating such an important character.

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Is It Possible for John Simm to Come Back?

Many fans felt it was a big oversight not to have John Simm involved in episodes with David Tennant, as it was under him that the Saxon Master appeared. However, this does not mean that John Simm will not return to the series. The actor himself has repeatedly expressed his enthusiasm. So, after his appearance in 2017, he noted that he would be happy to return again:

'I was always up for it. I did see Steven [Moffat] at a screening [for 2009-10's 'The End of Time'] and said, "You know, if you do want me back–? I had such fun doing it. I'm well up for it. It'd be great."'

He said the same thing after it was announced that the Thirteenth Doctor would be played by Jodie Whittaker:

'I've no idea but if they asked me I'd absolutely consider it because (Jodie Whittaker is) fantastic. It's always a pleasure and a joy to go back and do that show and be that guy."

Although it is unknown if the actor is now ready to return to the role, a satellite system called the Archangel Network was mentioned again in Season 14. It was created by the Saxon Master, so it is possible that John Simm will return to his role.

However, it all depends on Russell T Davies' decision. The showrunner has stated that the Master will not be involved in the story in the near future, so it is likely that we will not see the villain in Season 15, either played by John Simm or anyone else. But who knows, maybe the writers are just cleverly keeping such an important appearance a secret.

Source: Doctor Who Magazine, Digital Spy.