The young actor, who plays the timelord’s arch enemy The Master, talks about his meaty new role in The Great – and reveals how he overcame the fears that used to leave him traumatised in his trailer

When Sacha Dhawan learned that he had been chosen to play Doctor Who baddie The Master, it should have been one of the biggest moments of his career. “My agent was ecstatic,” he says. “The BBC was ecstatic.” But he wasn’t. “I put the phone down and I couldn’t have felt more sad,” he says. The reason, it turns out, is a hidden battle with anxiety that Dhawan had been waging for years.

The opportunity was too big to pass up, but at that moment its scale felt insurmountable. “I would be the first British South Asian actor to play The Master,” he says. “So I’m kind of representing not only the Whoniverse but my community. And if I fuck this up, they aren’t going to be casting another South Asian actor for this.”

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