English actor Anthony Ainley was born 20 August 1932. Best known for his work on British television and particularly for his role as the third Master in Doctor Who. He was the fourth actor to play the role of the Master, and the first actor to portray the Master as a recurring role after the death of Roger Delgado in 1973. He is to date the longest-serving actor to play the role, outlasting several Doctors. Ainley’s swarthy appearance tended to get him parts as villains, though an early regular role on British television was as Det. Sgt Hunter, sidekick to William Mervyn’s Chief Inspector Rose in the second series of It’s Cold Outside in 1966. Other notable roles include a subaltern in the 1969 film version of Oh! What a Lovely War, Dietz in the 1975 film version of The Land That Time Forgot, Fallowfield in the Tigon film Blood on Satan’s Claw, Henry Sidney in Elizabeth R , Clive Hawksworth in Spyder’s Web, Rev. Emilius in the BBC’s adaptation of The Pallisers (1974), Johnson in the first episode of the BBC programme Secret Army, and Sunley in The Avengers episode “Noon Doomsday”. He was also one of the Hong Kong policemen who discover James Bond’s supposed corpse in the opening sequence of You Only Live Twice.Ainley played the role of the wealthy young peer Lord Charles Gilmour in the ITV series Upstairs, Downstairs.
It was his performance as Rev. Emilius (in The Pallisers) that led to him being offered the role of the Master by John Nathan-Turner, who had worked on The Pallisers seven years before becoming producer of Doctor Who. Ainley first portrayed the Master in the 1981 serial The Keeper of Traken and appeared in almost every season up until the cancellation of the original series in 1989, including its final serial, Survival. He later reprised the role for the 1997 BBC computer game Destiny of the Doctors.Ainley’s great love of the role is often cited in documentaries and DVD commentaries. Script Editor Eric Saward claimed that he introduced himself over the phone by saying “This is the Master” and then would laugh. In the commentary and documentary for The Mark of the Rani, both Colin Baker and Kate O’Mara say that “He only ever wanted to play the Master”. Ainley was also a keen sportsman. Initially he was a rugby player, Later he turned his attentions to cricket, citing Sophie Aldred (who played Ace) as his friend once he learned that she played the game, Unfortunately Ainley sadly passed away on 3rd May 2004.
Whilst on the subject of Doctor Who characters and birthdays, English actress and television presenter,Sophie Aldred, was also born on 20th August a few years later in 1962. She is probably best known for her portrayal of The Doctor’s rather stroppy companion Ace in the television series Doctor Who during the late 1980s, alongside Scottish Actor, Comedian and former Doctor Who Sylvester McCoy, who also coincidentally shares the same birthdate August 20th, with both the late Anthony Ainley and Sophie Aldred.
Sophie’s tenure on Doctor Who spanned the last nine stories of the programme’s original run, which ended in 1989.Both before and since Doctor Who, Aldred has had a varied and busy television career, particularly in children’s programming, where she has presented educational programmes such as
Corners, Melvin and Maureen’s Music-a-grams (which ran from 1992 to ’96), Tiny and crew (which she presented, 1995–99), the BBC series Words and Pictures (since 1993), and also CITV paranormal show It’s a Mystery in 1996. She also played the character Minnie The Mini Magician from Series 8 onwards on CITV’s ZZZap! between 1999 and 2001. Aldred has also presented and sung in several BBC Schools Radio series, including Singing Together, Music Workshop, Time and Tune and Music Box. She has also performed on radio and in the theatre. She has also reprised her role as Ace in the charity special Dimensions in Time and the Doctor Who audio plays produced by Big Finish Productions.Throughout the 2000s she has worked extensively as a voice-over artist for television advertisements, and has also provided voices for animated series such as Bob the Builder and Dennis & Gnasher.
The Top Ten Doctor Who Villains according to a recent Sunday Newspaper poll
- The Master
- Other Renegade Time Lords ( The Rani, Omega and Morbius)
- The Silence
- The Cyber Men
- The Daleks
- Scaroth the Jagaroth
- The Zygons
- Weeping Angels
- The Beast
I think they should have included The Sea Devils, The Silurians, Sutekh (When he took his mask off) in fact anything with sinister glowing eyes, lol (Well that’s what used to scare me anyway). The new series of Doctor Who, starring Matt Smith, Karen Gillan and Arthur Darvill (Until Christmas) also starts soon on BBC1.