A major TV and film star is joining the cast of Doctor Who next year (Picture: BBC Studios)
We still have a while to wait to watch David Tennant and Catherine Tate in the 60th anniversary specials, and even longer before Ncuti Gatwa and Millie Gibson take over the Tardis for season 14.
But fans already have even more to look forward to, as film and TV star Nicola Coughlan is joining the cast, with Russell sharing the news early at a press event ahead of the anniversary episodes airing later in November.
Noted Doctor Who fanatic Jo Whiley hosted a Q&A at the event, and became every Whovian’s best friend as she asked the showrunner which other guest stars we could expect in the upcoming season, wheedling: ‘Just one?’
Russell, to his credit, squirmed and stuttered and sighed, ‘oh, they’ll tell me off.’
But it didn’t take long before he announced that they ‘want Nicola Coughlan at Christmas.’
Derry Girls and Bridgerton star Nicola Coughlan will appear in the 2024 Christmas special (Picture: Getty Images for byTiMo)
The showrunner confirmed they’re currently filming next Christmas’ festive special, which will also star Ncuti Gatwa in his new role as The Doctor (Picture: BBC/Bad Wolf)
He clarified, ‘not this Christmas, next Christmas,’ – making Christmas 2024 one to look forward to for Derry Girl, Bridgerton and Doctor Who fans.
(And believe me, those fandoms overlap.)
RTD went on: ‘We’re shooting Christmas 2024 now,’ before apologising and arguing: ‘Jo Whiley was staring at me!’
Some fans had already become convinced Nicola was joining the cast after eagle-eyed sleuths believed they spotted her filming in Cardiff.
The Irish star has shot to international fame since first appearing in the Channel 4 show in 2018 (Picture: FilmMagic)
Nicola has experienced an explosion in popularity since first finding fame in Channel 4’s Derry Girls, where she played Clare Devlin for four series until it came to an end last year.
She has since gone on to star in Bridgerton as Penelope Featherington, gaining legions of fans around the world.
This summer, Nicola cemented her status as an icon by appearing in Barbie with the likes of Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling.
There are plenty more Doctor Who rumours circulating at the moment, with fans sent into a bit of tizzy on Thursday with reports another Time Lord was set to be returning to the role.
It comes as other rumours swirl Paul McGann could return to play the Doctor in a spin-off series (Picture: BBC)
The film was an attempt to revive the beloved show but it wasn’t to be, with the film being all the new content fans had to go on before RTD turned it into a phenomenon in 2005.
Eighth Doctor Paul has reprised the role on a few occasions, including last year’s The Power of the Doctor special marking Jodie Whittaker’s last time in the Tardis.
But now he is set to finally be the star of a full series, with the actor reportedly in talks to feature in his own spin-off, with a source saying Russell ‘likes the idea of bringing back McGann with his own set of episodes in the Tardis.’
‘Disney are on board as they want more original content and want to fully exploit the franchise as they know how big it could become,’ they added when speaking to The Mirror.
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It is a good year for Whovians!