When Matt Lucas first appeared in Doctor Who’s 2015 Christmas special, most fans assumed they’d never see his character Nardole again, with the performance having all the hallmarks of a one-off guest role (not least because he was turned into a decapitated cyborg at the end).
However, we've since learnt that Nardole will be joining Peter Capaldi’s Time Lord throughout the upcoming tenth series, leading many fans to wonder how the broad and vaguely Christmassy character would fit into a longer series arc.
But now, Matt Lucas himself has revealed that there is a very specific reason as to why his character is still tagging along with the Doctor – even if he can’t tell us what it is yet.
“I’ve noticed some people still asking ‘Why is the character there?’ Or they might just be saying why is Matt Lucas there…” he told the crowd at a special Doctor Who series 10 screening on Tuesday night.
“But, why is the character there? And there is a very definite reason for why Nardole is there, he’s… I’m not gonna say anything else. Because I’m not fast enough to run away from that man,” he concluded, gesturing towards series showrunner Steven Moffat.
Lucas with Capaldi and new companion Pearl Mackie
“But there’s a very definite reason. And we do see different sides to him as the series goes on.
“He does evolve throughout the series, and he does become a bit less broad… most of the time.”
It’s currently unclear what exactly this “very definite reason” for Nardole’s inclusion will be, though scenes in the series’ first episode (which RadioTimes.com has seen) could suggest the character is dependent on the Doctor for a form of technical help.
On the other hand, it could be that Nardole’s previously-announced “secret mission” in the first episode will continue throughout the series, binding him to the Doctor for other reasons as yet unknown.
Lucas went on to discuss how his return to the series was realised behind the scenes, with the Little Britain star apparently pitching his comeback to Moffat himself due to his longstanding love for the series.
“I’m quite pushy, and I kept contacting Steven going ‘very happy to come back! Very happy to come back!’” Lucas told the audience.
“I’d wanted to be in the show for a while, but I’d been a bit nervous about being in the show, partly because I’m a fan, partly because my late partner was a huge fan of it.
“So it was a bit of an emotional thing for me. I needed to be ready, and enough time had passed for me to say ‘OK, I’m ready to do this.’
“And once I was ready, then I wanted to come back and be in it more. I had such fun in The Husbands of River Song. But I hope I haven’t spoiled it for too many people.”
Doctor Who returns to BBC1 on Saturday 15th April