Former Doctor Who Showrunner Teases Bridgerton Star Will “Break Your Heart” In Upcoming Christmas Special


Former Doctor Who showrunner and returning writer Steven Moffat promises an emotional seasonal tale for Bridgerton star Nicola Coughlan’s 2024 seasonal special character. Following his eight-episode debut season, Ncuti Gatwa’s Doctor had a heartbreaking farewell with Millie Gibson’s companion Ruby Sunday, as their lives began to take them in different directions. While Gatwa and Gibson will reunite in Doctor Who season 15 when the series returns in 2025, Coughlan is expected to portray a one-off companion character in the seasonal episode, penned by Moffat, set to air in December of this year.

Recently, Moffat teased what to expect from Coughlan’s companion to Ireland AM (via Though careful to avoid revealing any spoilers, the returning writer praised Coughlan’s emotional performance, before addressing how he feels returning in a smaller capacity since departing as showrunner. Check out Moffat’s full answer below:

“Nicola is wonderful in it, she will break your heart. I’m not allowed to say anything about it. At least I think I’m not allowed to say anything about it so I’ll just shut up… It was just fun and it was quite nice that I had my old job back for exactly one episode and then I could go lie down. Russell [T Davies] has to keep toiling away all the time, constantly.”

How Could Nicola Coughlan’s Companion Impact The Fifteenth Doctor?

The Doctor Is Reeling From The Season 14 Events After Ruby’s TARDIS Exit.

While Coughlan may have a one-off guest role, the character could set up the Doctor and Ruby’s reunion in season 15.

As of Doctor Who season 14’s conclusion, the Fifteenth Doctor is left alone aboard the TARDIS. Ruby departs the vessel to reconnect with her birth parents, leaving the Time Lord unsure of whether he will see her again, questioning if he should find his own family, and wondering whether he is the force of good he believed himself to be after playing a part in Sutekh’s universe-killing plot. As such, the Doctor’s mindset going into the seasonal special may see him keeping those he loved distant.


The scenario may sound familiar and comparable to seasonal specials Moffat penned during his tenure as showrunner, most notably “The Doctor, The Widow, and The Wardrobe” and “The Snowmen,” which both saw Matt Smith’s Eleventh Doctor reeling from the events of past seasons while keeping any existing or potential friendships at bay, due to his doubts. As such, the arc with Coughlan’s new character could parallel the Doctor’s, allowing him to explore his feelings. While Coughlan may have a one-off guest role, the character could set up the Doctor and Ruby’s reunion in season 15.

No matter who Coughlan will play in Doctor Who’s 2024 seasonal special, Moffat’s tease of a heartbreaking tale will leave many viewers with high hopes. His seasonal specials tend to explore the characters and their relationships in depth. As such, there are high expectations to see the chemistry between Gatwa’s Fifteenth Doctor and Coughlan’s new mystery companion once the TARDIS rematerializes in the fall of 2024.

Doctor Who’s 2024 seasonal special will be released in December on Disney+ internationally and on BBC iPlayer and BBC One in the UK.