“No interim companion” for Doctor Who Christmas special – but there will be an appearance from a “superhero”

Matt Lucas’ bumbling duffel-coated Nardole will “fill the space” of the Doctor's companion before Pearl Mackie’s debut in 2017, say sources. And Justin Chatwin will also star as a "superhero"...

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Sources at Doctor Who have confirmed that Peter Capaldi’s Time Lord will not have a temporary companion when he embarks on his Christmas adventure at the end of the year.

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Instead, the “companion space” for the as-yet-untitled episode belongs to Matt Lucas’ Nardole, River Song’s former assistant who was previously seen with his head atop the body of a robot in last year’s festive adventure The Husbands of River Song. Whether or not he will still be in that state come this 25th December remains to be seen.

The BBC had already revealed that Nardole is to appear in the upcoming series 10 but we can now confirm that he will play a major role in the Christmas special as well.

RadioTimes.com also understands that another guest character will be played by Canadian actor Justin Chatwin (below).

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The 33-year-old star, who played Tom Cruise’s son in War of the Worlds and starred in the US remake of Shameless and the latest series of American Gothic, is understood to have been cast as a “superhero character” in the Christmas special, according to sources on the show.

It is expected that he will portray a brash figure with an American accent – and in all likelihood a few dark interstellar secrets of one sort or another.

“The Doctor won’t have a temporary companion this Christmas and essentially that space will be taken by Nardole,” said a source. “He’s not a companion as such but it’s not as if he doesn’t play a similar role.”

Head writer Steven Moffat has indicated that the Christmas special will have “a lot of heart…[and] a lot of brain too”, while sometime Doctor Who writer Mark Gatiss said the script made him cry.

The BBC declined to comment on the speculation.

As the BBC has already confirmed, Mackie will make her debut in the first episode of series ten, which is expected to air in late spring 2017.

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The opening episode is written by Moffat, executive produced by Brian Minchin, produced by Peter Bennett and directed by Lawrence Gough. The second episode in the new series has been penned by Frank Cottrell-Boyce.