A laser screwdriver is a fictional weapon from the popular science fiction television series Doctor Who. It incorporates multiple means of attack in a single device, though it does not function as an actual screwdriver. It first appeared in the Doctor Who episode “The Sound of Drums,” which had its initial broadcast on 23 June 2007 on the British television channel BBC One.
Able to fire a powerful laser beam capable of killing a human target with a brief burst, the laser screwdriver also has the ability to induce extremely rapid aging in a target, crippling him by advancing him to extreme old age in moments, though this requires the weapon's user to possess information on the genetic code of the intended victim beforehand. The laser screwdriver is equipped with controls that recognize its owner's unique genetic code and will not respond to input from any other user, preventing the weapon from being turned against its owner if someone else were to gain possession of it.
The weapon is a small hand-held device similar in length to an actual screwdriver but several inches thick along its entire length. It is mostly silver-gray and gold in color and has a number of buttons on its surface to activate its various functions. The screwdriver's laser setting produces a visible beam of yellow light and a whining, high-pitched noise when fired.
The laser screwdriver is wielded by a character named the Master, a recurring villain on the Doctor Who series. Like the show's titular hero, the Doctor, the Master is a Time Lord, a powerful time traveler from a superficially human-like but extremely advanced alien species known as the Gallifreyans. Unlike the heroic Doctor, however, the Master seeks to use his superior intellect and technology for the sake of power and conquest, which brings the two into frequent conflict. The laser screwdriver's name is itself a reference to a device used by the Doctor, the sonic screwdriver, though unlike the Master's device the Doctor's sonic screwdriver is used primarily as a tool rather than a weapon and cannot kill living beings.
After its first appearance on the Doctor Who television show during “The Sound of Drums,” the laser screwdriver was also seen in the follow-up episode “Last of the Time Lords.” It later makes an appearance in TARDIS, a computer game based on the series released in 2010. A battery-powered toy version of the device, which lights up and reproduces sound effects from the show, was also produced.