TARDIS Index File

Roger Delgado

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Roger Delgado
Roger Deglado
Birth date: March 1, 1918
Death date: June 18, 1973
In the DWU
Main roles: the Master
Career highlights

Roger Delgado (born Roger Caesar Marius Bernard de Delgado Torres Castillo Roberto) (1 March 1918-18 June 1973) portrayed the first onscreen incarnation of the Master in Doctor Who.

He was born in Whitechapel, London; his father was Spanish and his mother French. Delgado often remarked to Jon Pertwee, a close friend, that because he had been born within the sound of Bow Bells, that this made him a true Cockney.

Delgado worked extensively on the British stage, and on TV, film and radio. He appeared in the 1955 BBC Television serial Quatermass II, had a role in the Powell and Pressburger war classic Battle of the River Plate, and came to wide popular attention in Britain when he played the duplicitous Spanish envoy Mendoza in the 1961 ITV series Sir Francis Drake, after which he was much in demand. His saturnine looks meant that he was frequently cast as a villain and he appeared in many noted British action-adventure TV series of the 1960s, including The Avengers, The Champions, Danger Man, The Saint, The Power Game, Crossfire and Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) — as well as The Zoo Gang (1973), which would sadly be his last ever on-screen British appearance. His film roles included one of the members of the title organisation in The Assassination Bureau, starring Diana Rigg and Oliver Reed.

He made his first appearance in Doctor Who in the 1971 adventure Terror of the Autons. He subsequently reprised the role of the Master in many of the Third Doctor's serials. At Delgado's request - he had been having trouble finding other work - the Master's story arc was to have ended in The Final Game, with the character reportedly to have been killed off. Sadly, Delgado's sudden death forced the story to be scrapped, while the role has since been played by several other actors.

Delgado died on location in Turkey whilst shooting his first comedy role in the French mini-series Bell of Tibet. He was killed, along with two film technicians, when the chauffeur-driven car in which he was travelling came off the road and plunged into a ravine. As such, he has the sad distinction of being the first major Doctor Who actor to die.

Pertwee often remarked that Delgado's death at the age of fifty-five was one of the catalysts that led to his own departure from Doctor Who the following year. Despite his villainous typecasting, friends and colleagues have constantly stated over the years that in real life Delgado was a kind and gentle man.

There is a featurette, "Roger Delgado - The Master", on the DVD of Frontier in Space (which proved to be his final appearance in the role), which serves as a dedicated biography of his life.

Appearances Edit

Delgado's likeness appeared on the covers for the novels The Dark Path and The Face of the Enemy, both of which feature his version of the Master.

His widow Kismet Delgado voiced one of the Eight Legs in Planet of the Spiders.

External links Edit

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