Last week Russell T Davies confirmed that Derry Girls star Nicola Coughlan would be appearing in the 2024 Doctor Who Christmas special – and now fans have been treated to a first-look image of her character.


Coughlan, who is also known for her role as Penelope Featherington in Bridgerton, will be playing an as yet undisclosed role in the special, and can be seen wearing a red jacket and hat in the new picture.

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She also released a statement in which she expressed her excitement at joining the Whoniverse "under the leadership of the inimitable Russell T Davies".

She added: "I’ve been a fan of Ncuti Gatwa for some time and getting to share the screen with him as the Doctor has been an absolute joy."

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Meanwhile, Davies said: "This has been the most brilliant shoot, with Nicola lighting up the set and bringing joy. From Derry, via Bridgerton, to the TARDIS, it’s the trip of a lifetime."

Speculation that Coughlan might be set to appear in Doctor Who first started in May 2022, when she was discussed as a possible companion for Gatwa's Doctor, although she said at the time that "I am not going to be on Doctor Who".

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However, she was then spotted filming scenes for the 2024 Christmas special earlier this month, before Davies confirmed that she would indeed be taking on a role.

Of course, there's a lot of Doctor Who to come before then – first a trilogy of specials starring David Tennant as the Fourteenth Doctor for the 60th anniversary, before Ncuti Gatwa takes over from this year's Christmas special onwards.

Gatwa's Fifteenth Doctor will be joined in the TARDIS by new companion Ruby Sunday, who is played by former Coronation Street star Millie Gibson.

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