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Anthony Ainley (20 August 1932-3 May 2004[1]) was an actor best known for his recurring role as the Master in Doctor Who, portraying the character's second major form from 1981 to the programme's end in 1989. He reappeared in this role in the 1997 video game Destiny of the Doctors.


He was born in London, England on 20 August 1932, son of Henry Ainley, a West-End actor, and brother of Richard Ainley.

In 1942 he made his first appearance (uncredited) in the war propaganda film The Foreman Went to France. His first major break was in the 1965 TV show It's Dark Outside, in which he played Detective Sergeant Hunter. He also appeared in Naked Evil (1966), had an uncredited role in the James Bond film You Only Live Twice (1967), and played Clive Hawksworth in the ITC action/adventure series Spyder's Web (1972).

Ainley played Reverend Emilius in the 26-part classic serial The Pallisers (1974). Its production manager, John Nathan-Turner, would eventually be in charge of Doctor Who. Ainley's performance on the serial was so memorable that Nathan-Turner offered him the role of the Master without an audition.

Although Ainley was invited to reprise the role of the Master for Big Finish Productions' Doctor Who audio stories, beginning with Dust Breeding in June 2001, Big Finish were unable to reach a suitable deal with him, and so the part went instead to Geoffrey Beevers.

A keen cricketer and a member of the London Theatres Cricket Club, Ainley played the sport frequently from his retirement in the 1990s up to his death on 3 May 2004. The cause of his death wasn't publicly released, although it was rumoured to be cancer or a heart attack. As reported in Downtime – The Lost Years of Doctor Who, shortly before his death, Ainley was in talks with BBV Productions to star as Koschei (a young, pre-The Dark Path version of the Master) in an audio series of the same name written by David A. McIntee.

According to the documentary Remembering Anthony Ainley, he was never married.

In Castrovalva he was credited by the pseudonym Neil Toynay (an anagram of "Tony Ainley") to avoid giving away plot details. This anagram tactic was used on several later occasions — in Time-Flight, he is credited as Leon Ny Taiy (another anagram of "Tony Ainley"); and in The King's Demons as James Stoker (an anagram of "Master's Joke").

He was the uncle of John Ainley.

Doctor Who stories[]

As Tremas

As the Master

External links[]