Mark Gatiss is set to return for his fourth role in Doctor Who: a mysterious World War One soldier known only as The Captain.
The part, announced at San Diego Comic Con, will see Gatiss co-star alongside Peter Capaldi and David Bradley in the Doctor Who Christmas special, Twice Upon a Time. It has also been confirmed that companion Bill Potts, played by Pearl Mackie, will appear.
Speaking of the character, Gatiss revealed earlier to Empire that The Captain had a, "resonant echo in the whole Doctor Who story," and that it was, "a privilege, an honour and a thrill" to play him.
All of which suggests that there's more to 'The Captain' than meets the eye. So, who is he? His Time Lord-esque title doesn't offer many clues. But the fact that he's a World War I captain — and seemingly linked to the show's past — at leasts opens up the possibility that he might be linked to something like the War Games, the 1969 Patrick Troughton serial that saw World War I soldiers kidnapped from their battlefields. Or he could even be a young version of Brigadier Lethbridge Stewart — or at least a relative? The Christmas special does, after all, feature the First Doctor — why not go the whole Classic Who hog?
Whoever he ends up being, this appearance will mark the fourth character that Gatiss has played in the sci-fi series, having previously appeared as a mutated scientist called Professor Lazarus in 2007 episode The Lazarus Experiment, voiced a World War II pilot nicknamed ‘Danny Boy’ in 2010/2011 episodes Victory of the Daleks and A Good Man Goes to War, and a mysterious figure called Gantok in The Wedding of River Song.
Gatiss has also written ten episodes for the series since it returned to 2005 as well as creating 2013 “making-of” drama An Adventure in Space and Time, where he actually cast Bradley as First Doctor actor William Hartnell prior to his appearance as the Doctor himself in the main series this year.
Doctor Who returns to BBC1 this Christmas