Interestingly, McKellen has appeared in Doctor Who as a villain – with Matt Smith’s Eleventh Doctor in Steven Moffat’s 2012 Doctor Who Christmas special, The Snowmen – providing the voice of an old enemy of the Doctor, the Great Intelligence.
Unlike McKellen’s character in Vicious, however, it’s Jacobi who has played probably the greatest Doctor Who villain of all time: the Doctor’s arch-nemesis, the Master. He appeared in Russell T Davies’s Utopia with David Tennant in 2007 and, before that, in Paul Cornell’s The Scream of the Shalka (2003) with Richard E Grant’s alternate Ninth Doctor.
In The Snowmen, meanwhile, Grant returned to Doctor Who, this time as a villain himself: Dr Solomon, a man who has been possessed by McKellen’s Great Intelligence.
All this, as Radio Times ponders, would be rather curious, if it wasn’t for the fact that Mark Ravenhill (Shopping and F***ing), the co-creator of Vicious, is a self-proclaimed Who fan, who has considered writing for Doctor Who itself. McKellen and Jacobi are also supporters of the science-fiction series, which began way back in 1963. Jacobi has attended a number of Doctor Who conventions in recent years and made no secret of the fact that he would have liked to have played the Master for longer.
Vicious also stars Frances de la Tour (Rising Damp) as Violet, Freddie and Stuart’s man-eating best friend, and Iwan Rheon (Misfits) as their young neighbour, Ash. The episode’s storyline sees Violet take Ash shopping, too, in an effort to try to get him into a pair of Speedos.