Iconic Doctor Who villain makes shock return as a woman

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Iconic Doctor Who villain the Master has made a surprise return to the show – as a woman.

The Doctor Who character had last been seen in 2009’s The End of Time, when he was played by John Simm.

However, fans were shocked during tonight’s episode, Dark Water, when villain Missy – played by Green Wing star Michelle Gomez – revealed herself to actually be a female regeneration of the Master, or the Mistress.

The series has toyed on several occasions with the idea that Timelords like the Doctor and the Master can change their gender when they regenerate – with the most substantial confirmation three years ago, in 2011 episode The Doctor’s Wife.

However, tonight marks the first time in the series that a character previously known as male has actually made the transition to female.

The change has prompted a mixed reaction on social media form the show’s fans, with some praising the twist, and others mocking the gender transition.