Doctor Who News Is EastEnders' Steve John Shepherd Doctor Who's new Master?

Published on March 9th, 2014 | by Christian Cawley

Why Is This Man Being Linked To A Role In Doctor Who? [POSSIBLE SPOILER]

Following the revelation that former Doctor Who star Sylvester McCoy knows the identity of the next actor to play the Master, Wales Online have today reported that former EastEnders actor Steve John Shepherd is a strong contender.

To accompany this news, they share a set of interesting coincidences concerning the 41-year-old actor, but nothing solid:

  • After finishing on EastEnders late last year as happiness vacuum Michael Moon, the actor appeared on Daybreak where he claimed to be working on a new role in January but couldn’t “go into the details”.
  • He’s grown a beard.
  • He recently uploaded a photo of his head with said beard to an Internet account (see above), with what appears to be a Welsh coast line in the background.
  • The date of the photo’s upload was January 19th.

These coincidences are flimsy. However, the actor does have the ability to project a very sinister presence, and the beard is certainly striking and a little Victorian, which may or may not make him a shoe-in for any 19th century set episodes of Doctor Who Series 8.

Meanwhile, Charles Dance and Richard Armitage (the latter, interestingly, one of Sylvester McCoy’s Hobbit co-stars) have also been heavily rumoured for the part.

What do you think? Could any of these actors be the Master? He’s certainly a lot younger than Peter Capaldi, but then, do the Doctor and the Master really have to look the same age?



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About the Author


A long-term Doctor Who fan, Christian grew up watching the show and has early memories of the Graham Williams era. His favourite stories are Inferno, The Seeds of Doom and Human Nature (although The Empty Child, Blink and Utopia all come close). When he’s not bossing around the news team, Christian is a freelance writer specialising in mobile technology and domestic computing, and enjoys classic rock, cooking and spending time in the countryside with his wife and young children. You can find him on Twitter, Facebook and Google+.

21 Responses to Why Is This Man Being Linked To A Role In Doctor Who? [POSSIBLE SPOILER]

  1. avatar jigginabout says:

    I think he would make a really good Master – growing a beard is not necessarily a lynch pin for the Master as both Derek Jacobi and John Simm had neither – and Peter Pratt and Geoffrey Beevers did not have a shadow of a beard in amongst their state of decay either.

    Age wise, Charles Dance is more suited to square up to Capaldi’s Doctor and if the they do make the Master and the Doctor brothers there are some semblances to BOTH actors. Richard Armitage suits me too but, again, if they are going for the brother angle then … no …

    As for BEING the same age: Anthony Ainley was about TWENTY YEARS older than Peter Davison was when they were constantly meeting – Colin Baker and Sylvester McCoy were closer in age – but it seemed they were going for the brother angle between Peter D. and Anthony… even though, Ainley was old enough to be Peter’s father …

    So, it would take an interesting course of events if the situation were reversed.

    All this is just speculation but my choice for the Master would be someone like Hugh Laurie or Jason Isaacs … Hugh Laurie can be amazingly dark – especially since he has shed the silly toff image … Charles Dance, though, is an amazing actor who commands the viewers to look at him … and that is JUST WHAT we need after Simm!

    • avatar mrjohnm says:

      Several of my students were upset when House ended, until I jokingly told them that Hugh Laurie wanted to go back home to be the next Doctor. This excited several of them; hopefully, they weren’t too disappointed with Capaldi’s casting. But Laurie as the Master would be wonderful, especially as the two of them worked so well together in Fortysomething.

  2. I would stil like to see Dance in the role but I suppose any of the formentioned men could play the part quite well they have all played bad guys in most if their previous roles on TV and film

  3. avatar Neu 75 says:

    Not if we want to go back to Panto Villains…

  4. avatar Simon Magellan says:

    “Meanwhile, Charles Dance and Richard Armitage (the latter, interestingly, one of Sylvester McCoy’s Hobbit co-stars)”

    This sentence seems in complete – meanwhile what?

    • Thanks Simon, not sure how that go through but certainly entirely my fault!

  5. avatar Tony Sobol says:

    Steve John Shepherd would be pretty great as the Master, I think.

  6. avatar DonnaM says:

    I’ve never sat through an episode of Eastenders, but I’m happy to accept the apparent consensus that this guy could be good as The Master. I trust the casting team – they’ve never let me down yet!

    On the age issue; according to my research, Shepherd was born in 1973, making him 41 this year. Charles Dance is 67. Capaldi, at 55, isn’t exactly of an age with either of them.

    Does it matter? Not if they can act!

    If he has been dropping deliberate hints Mr Moffat ain’t going to like it! I suppose that could be Wales, but it could be many other places as well, and as for the beard…. well, maybe he’s the new baddie on The Musketeers! :-) You seem to need good facial hair for that!

  7. avatar vortexter says:

    He has a beard so he’s half way there.

  8. avatar Simon Magellan says:

    Couple of things – first, the beard looks fake! Second – he looks more like he’s ready for some seafaring adventure than the Master. Cue rumours of the Sea Devils return…

    As I have never watched Eastenders in my life, can’t speak to his acting – but would say that I’d prefer someone like Dance, Branagh (who has already said he’d like to play a DW villain) or Jason Isaacs, mentioned above.

    Another actor who comes to mind is Mark Strong.

    But then, this is all wild speculation – we don’t even know if the Master really is in the series!

    • avatar Tony Sobol says:

      Shepherd has a beard in the Daybreak interview from November that Christian linked to in the article.

  9. avatar Al says:

    I’m rather upset that, given the efforts other sites like Doctor Who TV have taken to avoid spoilers, that Kasterborous would see fit to blow a spoiler of this magnitude in its headline. I don’t care if it’s a rumor or not. Thanks guys. I’m really trying to avoid spoilers but it’s getting to the point where the only way to do it is to completely ignore anything to do with Doctor Who for the next 6 months.

    • Hi Al

      Apologies if this has upset you. This is totally down to me, and I’m going to make some changes to hopefully avoid it happening again.

  10. avatar drewboynton says:

    I’m not familiar with Mr. Moon, but I would love for Richard Armitage to be the new Master!!

  11. Pingback: Something I don’t believe | Me + Richard Armitage

  12. He’s a LOT younger than Peter Capaldi? The bloke’s 41, not 23.

  13. avatar SeleGonzalez says:

    I would love Richard, he’s a great actor

  14. avatar krumstets says:

    A new Master? What happened to John Simm?

  15. avatar Philip Bates says:

    Shepherd’s actually a really good actor, and would make a great Master. An unusual choice, but it’d work.

    However much I like the names mooted about, though, I want John Simm back; to me, he’s one of the best actors and he was never given a proper chance to shine in Doctor Who.

    • avatar drewboynton says:

      If Simm were given the chance to be the scheming, know-it-all Master, I’d be for giving him another chance, too! I don’t really even count his Master as being the Master–he was completely un-Master-like! :)

  16. avatar Howard Railton says:

    Simm is a very good actor, who was totally wasted by hopelessly poor scripts. Such a pity. Me thinks that Capaldi will find it tough to do good who given poor writers such as Roberts and Thompson, uhgh, dire!

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