‘Doctor Who’ Christmas Special: ‘Guest Companion’ To Join Peter Capaldi In The TARDIS

Season 10 of Doctor Who began filming two weeks ago with Peter Capaldi returning for his third year as the Doctor alongside Pearl Mackie as his new companion, Bill. Mackie was spotted filming the series at Cardiff University, and the BBC released the official photo below to celebrate.

The epic ten-month shoot will be the final run for showrunner Steven Moffat, and the first of his final 14 episodes begins with this year’s Christmas Special. The BBC has aired a Christmas Special every year on December 25 since the show was relaunched in 2005. Last year, the Doctor was alone in the TARDIS for the last two episodes of Season 9, after the departure of Clara Oswald (Jenna Coleman). He was then accompanied by his wife River Song (Alex Kingston) for the Christmas Special, entitled The Husbands of River Song.

Speaking to Doctor Who Magazine, Moffat confirmed that the new companion will debut at the start of Season 10, and the Doctor will have a different guest companion for the Christmas Special.

“We’ll introduce [Bill] in the first episode of 2017, and she’ll run through that series. She’ll not be in Christmas, because that would blow the series launch,” he said. “So there’ll be somebody else, a different, guest companion this Christmas, like how River Song played the companion role in last year’s Special.”

News of a guest companion leaves fans wondering who might join Capaldi in the TARDIS. With the confirmation that Matt Lucas will be reprising his role as Nardole for Season 10; might the Christmas Special be a good time to re-introduce his character? There’s also the possibility that Game of Thrones star Maisie Williams could return as Ashildr/Me. Another likely pairing would be the Doctor and his nemesis Missy (Michelle Gomez). She might also find herself once again in trouble with the Doctor and needing his help, causing the two to travel together, as ScreenRant notes.

No matter who the guest actor will be, Whovians have come to expect the Christmas Specials to be an amusing and exciting prelude to the next season. The stories for Season 10 will reflect “the modern world,” Capaldi has said. “I think that’s quite interesting when the show reflects the changing state of planet Earth as it is in 2016,” he added, with Moffat teasing that next season will “feel like episode 1 of a brand new show.”

“First episodes are tough, and I feel as though I slightly fumbled it last year by not having a ‘new thing’ in ‘The Magician’s Apprentice.’ It was the same Doctor, same companion … You want to persuade people to tune in because a brand new thing is happening,” Steven told DWM. Moffat will be leaving the series after eight years, and Broadchurch showrunner and previous Doctor Who writer Chris Chibnall will take over from 2018.

“He’ll be going out with a bang,” Chibnall said about Moffat’s plans and stories for 2017.

“I’ll be finishing up on the best job in the universe and keeping the TARDIS warm [for Chibnall],” said Moffat. “I’m just embarking on the new [season] and it’s terrifying. I have to make all that again.”

Moffat has certainly enjoyed his time on Doctor Who, but admitted that he decided to stay past his initial three years because that third year was pretty miserable, Cult Box reported.

Well, there was a long time when I thought I’d only do three years. That was the absolute plan. But I didn’t enjoy my third year as much. It was a bit miserable. The workload was just insane. I wasn’t coping as well. No-one else’s fault, all mine. The 50th was looming, and I didn’t know if we could make it work. It was a tough, tough time. My darkest hour on Who was that.

“Matt [Smith], who was a friend and ally, was leaving. I couldn’t get him to stay. It felt like everything was blowing up around me,” Moffat said. “I was staggering into the 50th, with no Doctors contracted to appear in it, battered with endless hate mail about how I hadn’t got William Hartnell back, and Sherlock Series Three at the same time. I was pretty miserable by the end of it, and I couldn’t bear to let that be the end.”

Doctor Who Christmas Special will air on BBC1 and BBC America over the holiday season. Series 10 will arrive in 2017.

[Photo by Evan Agostini/AP Images]