DOCTOR WHO star Matt Smith will battle Withnail And I legend Richard E Grant in the Christmas special of the sci-fi hit.
Grant — who also starred in movies Gosford Park and The Iron Lady — has signed up to be a special guest alongside Silent Witness star Tom Ward.
The Doctor’s new companion, played by Jenna-Louise Coleman, will also make her debut in the festive extravaganza on BBC1.
It will be Grant’s third outing in the hit sci-fi show. He voiced the Time Lord in an animated webcast of the show to mark its 40th anniversary back in 2003.
And he had viewers in hysterics as a lady-loving new Doctor in Comic Relief sketch Doctor Who And The Curse Of Fatal Death in 1999.
It was the first Doctor Who script written by Steven Moffat, now the show’s boss.
The top telly writer has also penned this year’s Christmas special, in which Grant will play a villain.
An insider said: “The Doctor Who Christmas specials are famous for being stand-out episodes and this year’s will be no different.
“It will have a really festive feel and Richard will be great as a baddie.”
The cast got together last week for their first reading of the script and filming begins today.