12. I Am Usually Referred To As The Master
Roger Delgado’s winning mix of suave and sinister was immediately evident from his very first entrance. Terror of the Autons is an indulgent collection of set pieces that don’t necessarily add up to a cohesive whole, and what with the fake policemen, hungry faux leather chair, animated troll doll and deadly telephone wires, this gem of a scene is often overlooked.
Without breaking a sweat, the Master takes control of circus master Rossini’s body and mind. Assuming the stranger to be a conjurer auditioning for work, the self-proclaimed international entrepreneur dismisses the Master’s claim to be universally feared. He receives short thrift, with the delicious “primitive human” insult.
Riled, the circus master then shows his true colours by threatening to assault the Master, only to end up being held by a superhuman grip. The incidental music is the only clue that Rossini is being hypnotised, so effortless is the Time Lord’s power. Finally, with a nonchalant click of a finger his new puppy meekly follows.
The viewers have no idea at this stage who the man in black is, but already we too are under his spell.