Not only deliciously ironic, but it feels very Master-y, to boot.
This current season of Doctor Who kicked off on New Year’s Day with one hell of a twist: the surprise return of the Doctor’s longtime frenemy, the Master, now played by Sacha Dhawan. It was a twist no one saw coming, especially as Chris Chibnall’s debut season of the show had been marked by a distinct (and deliberate) lack of callbacks to Doctor Who’s long and winding past. Well, no one but the production crew, obviously. Oh, and apparently former Doctor Who master of secrets himself, ex-showrunner Steven Moffat.
Moffat revealed that he got spoiled on the Master twist to the Radio Times—saying it was none other than Dhawan himself (who at the time was also working on another genre project with Moffat, his take on Dracula with Mark Gattiss). “Chris [Chibnall] didn’t give me the heads up, no, but Sacha accidentally did,” Moffat recalled. “I was having dinner with him. I said ‘Look, don’t tell me anything about what you’re doing on the show. Because I don’t want to know. But are you enjoying it?’”
Dhawan didn’t just immediately spoil the moment for Moffat, however. He did it accidentally, and it was only because Moffat himself is such a Doctor Who nerd did he realise he was getting spoiled. “[Dhawan] said ‘Oh it’s great,’” Moffat continued. “‘Apart from all the really complicated dialogue like, oh, Tissue Compression Eliminator.’ I thought… I know exactly what part you’re playing, just from that! Just from that I know!”
“I slightly regretted I didn’t get the reveal on camera,” Moffat concluded, noting the irony that having been the twist-master of Doctor Who for years, even after leaving the show he can’t avoid them. “Because I’ve had years of knowing what’s coming. I would prefer not to know.”
Hey, look, Moff. You know the Master’s a rogue element of chaos. You should’ve seen it coming!