“Quantum effects in low-temperature quasi-zero-dimensional mesoscopic electron systems” – it sounds like the sort of jargon the Doctor himself might spout when trying to explain how the Tardis works (or why fish fingers and custard is the ideal meal for a newly-regenerated Time Lord). In fact, it’s the title of Ben Miller’s university physics thesis – so it seems particularly fitting that the actor and comedian has landed a role in Doctor Who.
The Former Death in Paradise star will play a new villain opposite Peter Capaldi when Doctor Who returns later this year for the 12th Doctor's full debut.
"As a committed Whovian I cannot believe my luck in joining the 12th Doctor for one of his inaugural adventures," said Miller. "My only worry is that they'll make me leave the set when I'm not filming."
Showrunner Steven Moffat described the new character created by Mark Gatiss as a "storming villain", adding that Miller's casting was long overdue.
"We knew we needed somebody special to send everybody behind the sofa," said Moffat. "And quite frankly, it's about time Ben Miller was in Doctor Who!"
Miller will follow in the footsteps of his partner in comedy Alexander Armstrong, who appeared in the Doctor Who 2011 Christmas special.
Miller studied for a PhD in physics at Cambridge University and has fronted BBC2 science strand Horizon.