He may have bid a heart-wrenching farewell to Clara – but don’t worry, the Doctor won’t be alone for Christmas. Here’s who’s joining Peter Capaldi for The Husbands of River Song…
Alex Kingston – River Song
This will be Alex Kingston’s 11th outing as intergalactic archaeologist River Song – aka Mrs Who – and her first appearance alongside the Twelfth Doctor.
Before making her debut in the David Tennant two-parter Silence in the Library / Forest of the Dead, Kingston was best known for playing trauma surgeon Elizabeth Corday in eight seasons of ER.
Prior to that, she’d raised eyebrows in a lusty BBC adaptation of Daniel Defoe’s Moll Flanders, co-starring Daniel Craig, for which she won the Best Actress BAFTA.
Other roles include the ITV dramas Lost in Austen, Marchlands and Chasing Shadows while, in America, she’s guest-starred in the likes of CSI, Law & Order and Arrow. A graduate of the Royal Shakespeare Company, she recently played Lady Macbeth, opposite Kenneth Branagh, on stage in Manchester and New York.
Kingston’s first acting role was in a Surrey County Youth Theatre production of Tom Jones, alongside Sean Pertwee, son of Third Doctor Jon. Next year, she’ll be heard playing River Song in a series of audio adventures co-starring Paul McGann as the Eighth Doctor.
Matt Lucas – Will Nardole
Matt Lucas first found fame as George Dawes, the giant, drum-playing, romper-suited man-baby in Vic and Bob’s Shooting Stars, before teaming up with his old National Youth Theatre chum David Walliams to create Little Britain.
Starting on Radio 4 before transferring to TV, the sketch show – narrated by a playful Tom Baker – was a massive hit, with Lucas giving life to such iconic characters as Vicky Pollard, Bubbles DeVere, Andy Pipkin and Daffyd Thomas, the only gay in the village.
Other TV roles include a Venetian duke in Russell T Davies’ Casanova (starring David Tennant), Mr Toad in a BBC version of Wind in the Willows and, in the US, a guest appearance in the NBC comedy Community, as a friend of Doctor Who-loving geek Abed.
On film, he played Tweedledee and Tweedledum in Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland and took the lead role in Small Apartments, a 2012 American comedy also featuring James Caan, Billy Crystal, Juno Temple and Dolph Lundgren, among others.
Lucas wrote and starred in the BBC comedies The Matt Lucas Awards and Pompidou, and revived his collaboration with David Walliams for the airline mockumentary Come Fly with Me. He also fulfilled a lifelong dream by playing Thénardier in the 25th anniversary concert of Les Misérables, alongside his friend Alfie Boe.
This isn’t Lucas’s first brush with the Time Lord: he voiced a lonely jelloid organism who was swallowed – and then regurgitated – by Colin Baker in audio story The One Doctor.
Greg Davies – King Hydroflax
King Hydroflax finds himself in a fair bit of bother in the Doctor Who Christmas special: as if losing his head wasn’t bad enough, he’s also got himself hitched to River Song, which always spells trouble.
After establishing a successful stand-up career, 6ft 8in Greg Davies joined the comedy troupe We Are Klang, who starred in their own BBC Three sketch show in 2009. The series was short-lived, but by then was already a well-known face thanks to his role as Mr Gilbert, the misanthropic head of sixth form in The Inbetweeners.
Davies plays another teacher, the down-on-his-luck Dan Davies, in the Channel 4 sitcom Man Down, which he created and co-writes. The first series co-starred the late Rik Mayall as Dan’s Dad – a role Davies wrote for his comedy hero after years of people remarking how similar they looked.
He can also be seen on Boxing Day in the comedy drama A Gert Lush Christmas, starring Russell Howard.
Philip Rhys – Ramon
London-born Rhys’s big break was starring alongside Dennis Hopper in the 2002 fantasy series Flatlands.
Other TV credits include Reza Naiyeer in the second season of 24, Aalim Sadiq in the BBC’s revival of Terry Nation’s Survivors (co-starring Freema Agyeman) and Jude Sawyer on three seasons of Nip/Tuck. He’s also appeared in the likes of Glee, Bones, CSI and NCIS.
His film work includes Steven Spielberg’s The Adventures of Tintin – co-scripted by Steven Moffat – and Al Pacino’s Wilde Salome. As a director, Rhys has made several documentaries and a short drama, The Scarecrow.
Rowan Polonski – Flemming
Rowan Polonski plays this rather dapper alien, who dresses like a snooker referee but also bears more than a passing resemblance to Chantho, the blue insectoid Malmooth from the Tenth Doctor story Utopia. Could they be related?
Polonski appeared in Matthew Vaughn’s Kingsman: The Secret Service, and made his West End debut in Another Country at Trafalgar Studios.
Doctor Who: The Husbands of River Song is on Christmas Day at 5:15pm on BBC1