As you’ve probably heard by now, actor Matt Lucas will be returning to ‘Doctor Who’ this Christmas to reprise his role as Nardole from last year’s special, ‘The Husbands of River Song’. As Nardole was last seen with his head grafted onto a giant robot body, there has naturally been some speculation regarding exactly what form his return would take. While those answers will almost certainly have to wait until Christmas, news has been trickling out regarding the nature of his role in the upcoming tenth season and especially in this year’s Christmas special.

As we have previously reported, all of this is complicated somewhat by the fact that while Nardole will be filling the companion role this Christmas (ahead of Pearl Mackie’s introduction as a full-time companion in the tenth season premiere), he will also be joined by an unnamed character played by Justin Chatwin, who is said to be “not a companion as such,” though he described as filling a similar role.

Some light may have been shed on this dynamic, however, by an installment of ‘Doctor Who: The Fan Show’, a regular production released through the BBC’s official ‘Doctor Who’ YouTube channel. In the most recent episode, the hosts were given the opportunity to sit in on a table read of the Christmas special:

It was really interesting to see the Doctor and Nardole together… Nardole is quite different from your normal companion, because most companions are like, impressed by everything. And it’s not that Nardole’s not impressed, but what I like about him is he’s almost like an anti-companion. He’s kind of like “Can we not? Doctor, don’t do that, just… no.” But not in a horrible way, in a really, really funny way, and they make such a great double act that’s gonna make for a really funny Christmas special.

This description of Nardole as an “anti-companion” suggests that his chemistry with the Doctor will (at least at Christmas) be defined by his reluctance, and to a certain extent perhaps even his being dragged into the adventure against what he might consider his better judgment. This also allows for some speculation into how Justin Chatwin’s character may fit into the mix. If Nardole is the reluctant traveler, it would make sense for Chatwin to provides something akin a more traditional, wide-eyed and eager companion. For more reactions to the table read, you the full episode of ‘The Fan Show’ is included below:

Doctor Who’ will return first with a special on Christmas day and then in 2017 for the premiere of Steven Moffat’s farewell season, which will culminate in next year’s Christmas special. In addition to returning star Peter Capaldi, the new season and specials will feature Pearl Mackie, Matt Lucas and Justin Chatwin.

Be sure to check in with for more news on the ‘Doctor Who’ Christmas special and the upcoming tenth season as they approach!