Award-winning Doctor Who writer Neil Gaiman is to pen a return for one of the Time Lord’s oldest and most formidable foes, the Cybermen.
The graphic novelist and author won the Ray Bradbury and Hugo prizes for his Who debut, series six episode The Doctor’s Wife – a thoughtful tale in which the Time Lord comes face to face with a human personification of the Tardis.
But Gaiman has since dropped hints that a return to Doctor Who might hinge on him being given the chance to tackle a more frightening, monster-led episode.
Writing in charity book Behind the Sofa, Gaiman said “If I have one regret, it’s that I wish there had been a scary monster in my Doctor Who episode... looking back, there’s no one single moment that would have sent kids scurrying away in terror.
"If there’s one thing that could tempt me back it would be the chance to create a monster to do that."
And while Gaiman may not be creating his own enemy for the Doctor, he will at least have the opportunity to scare the wits out of youngsters (and, no doubt, a few adults) with a story featuring the ruthless, relentless Cybermen.
Doctor Who showrunner Steven Moffat said, "The Cybermen were always the monsters that scared me the most! Not just because they were an awesome military force, but because sometimes they could be sleek and silver and right behind you without you even knowing."
The as-yet-unnamed episode will see Life's Too Short star Warwick Davis, former EastEnder Tamzin Outhwaite and Being Human's Jason Watkins join Matt Smith and new companion Jenna-Louise Coleman as a band of misfits on a mysterious planet.
Moffat added: "With one of the all-time classic monsters returning, and a script from one of our finest novelists, it's no surprise we have attracted such stellar names as Tamzin, Jason and Warwick."
The Cybermen made their debut in 1966 adventure The Tenth Planet opposite William Hartnell’s First Doctor and are no strangers to Matt Smith's incarnation either, having battled him during their last appearance in 2011’s Closing Time.
Currently on hiatus, Doctor Who returns for a seasonal special on Christmas Day, with a run of eight further episodes due for spring 2013.