1. Roger Delgado. Exquisite, elegant, shameless and the perfect foil for The Third Doctor. There is no beating him. He's, well, the master.
2. Anthony Ainley. The extra (JNT-induced) hammy performances aside, Ainley was wonderfully charming with a sinister chuckle. I'm constantly quoting "Oh, my dear Doctor, you have been naive." It's just a shame JNT forced Ainley to ham it up when Ainley wanted to play the character straight with a darker feel. It's a pity he didn't get the opportunity to perform for Big Finish.
3. Geoffrey Beevers. This is mostly in regard to the Big Finish audio plays than his performance in The Keeper of Traken
. He drips with cunning and manipulation and creepiness in all of his performances, but especially in the atmospheric Master
4. Derek Jacobi. I wish he had more time as The Master because every moment he was on screen as The Master (and Yana) was sheer joy. His performance as The Master in Scream of the Shalka
is also very good.
5. Peter Pratt. Actually prefer his burned to as crisp version of The Master over Beevers (but part of that was due to the make-up), but he only had one appearance, whereas Beevers continues on with Big Finish.
6. John Simm. I'm really torn with him. I love John Simm as an actor and there are many moments in his performances that pure brilliance, but there other moments that are downright embarrassing (although I blame RTD mostly on this count). Like Ainley, I wish RTD let him the character more straight and I can only hope Simm gets the opportunity in the future.
7. Eric Roberts. There's not much to like about his performance. Ugh.