Although known to an audience of millions the world over for his portrayal of The Doctor's arch nemesis The Master in Doctor Who during the 1980s, Anthony Ainley had a prolific career which encompassed starring roles in Spyders Web and It's Dark Outside as well as appearances in renowned dramas such as The Pallisers, Elizabeth R, Nicholas Nickleby, Upstairs, Downstairs, and cult films including Blood on Satan's Claw and The Land That Time Forgot.
But the dramas in Anthony's real life were far more fascinating than any of the many parts he played onscreen. Born the illegitimate son of actor Henry Ainley and taken into care at the Actors' Orphanage at the age of four, the hidden story behind one of the most enigmatic characters in Doctor Who is brought to life by author Karen Louise Hollis.
Using exhaustive interviews with friends and colleagues from every aspect of Anthony's life, including his best friend from school, fellow children from the Actors' Orphanage, cricketing friends, colleagues, and those who remained close to him until his death in 2004, this book aims to uncover the real Anthony Ainley - The Man Behind The Master.
©2015 Fantom Publishing (P)2015 Spokenworld Audio & Ladbroke Audio Ltd/Fantom Publishing
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
1 out of 5 stars
By Michael on 06-10-17

Dire - an audio IMDB

Dreadful. Dull. How NOT to write a biography. Endless IMDB-style entries for everything Ainley ever did - which don't sound wonderful read out (and yet no actual detail on most productions - so, yeah, we KNOW it's a series called "Out of the Unknown", for example. but after that good luck if you want more). More about his children's home than about the man himself. Interviews with people who didn't really work with him and know even less. I had no clear sense of who the man was by the end. The single worst biography I have ever come across. Lousy.

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5 out of 5 stars
By Patrick on 17-12-16


What did you like most about The Man Behind the Master?

I love a good villain and The Master has always been a great foil for the Doctor. Anthony Ainley had a wonderful screen presence and portrayed the Master brilliantly, albeit in a considerably more over the top pantomime villain style than Roger Delgado

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Man Behind the Master?

I really felt bad for the poor guy being deserted by his parents and abandoned to a children's home, although in some ways it sounded like it came with certain benefits not dished out to regular kids with trips to America, visits from Laurence Olivier and Noel Coward etc etc

Have you listened to any of John Banks’s other performances? How does this one compare?

No this is the only one I've heard, It was a very good reading and it would be completely unfair to criticise John for his reading by saying that I would have liked to have known the reader as a colleague or family member of Anthony Ainley's, In the same way that I very much enjoyed knowing that Michael Troughton read his father's autobiography. That link makes it a more personal and genuine listening experience.

If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?


Any additional comments?

A good read especially for Doctor Who Fans, for Actors with an interest in how other actor's careers came about, and as a social history lesson in how the good old days weren't all that good.

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