Gordon Tipple is a Canadian-based actor who portrayed the Master in the opening sequences of the 1996 Doctor Who TV movie, which was produced in Vancouver. Tipple was credited as "The Old Master" to differentiate him from Eric Roberts, who played the Master for the rest of the film.
Tipple's role was originally a bit larger, with him delivering the prologue voice-over before it was decided to have Paul McGann do the introduction from the point of view of the Eighth Doctor. Tipple appeared on-screen for only a few moments and retained a billing on the closing credits despite no longer having any lines, as well as his face being obscured in the finished film — leaving it unclear what his version of the Master is meant to look like without consulting promotional stills for the telemovie.
It was thus unclear to many viewers if he was intended to be playing the same incarnation of the Master as portrayed by Anthony Ainley, or a different Master, though the official novelisation of the TV Movie clarified that the Master who gets executed is known by the Seventh Doctor to have recently gained a new spurious life by adding alien genes to his biomass. This phrasing might, interestingly, recall the "Tzun" Master from the Virgin New Adventures.
His brief appearance notwithstanding, Tipple is the first and, along with Robert Jezek, only Canadian actor to play one of the major characters in the Doctor Who franchise.
Tipple has a large number of Canadian-based TV credits to his name, including The X-Files, The Dead Zone, The Outer Limits, and the Highlander TV series.
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- Internet Movie Database at the