Richard E Grant to star in new ‘Doctor Who’ episode

'Withnail And I' actor will reportedly appear in the show's 2012 Christmas special

Richard E Grant is to appear in the new season of Doctor Who.

The casting was announced earlier this morning (August 6) on the show’s official Twitter feed. The Sun has since reported that Grant will appear with Silent Witness star Tom Ward in the show’s Christmas special, but this has yet to be confirmed by the BBC.

The 55-year-old actor, known for his roles in Withnail And I, Gosford Park and Spiceworld: The Movie, has made two previous appearances in Doctor Who spin-offs. He played the Doctor in a 1999 Comic Relief sketch and provided the voice of the Time Lord in an animated webcast in 2003. However, this appearance will mark his debut on the show proper.

Last week (August 2), a 90-second trailer for the new season of Doctor Who appeared online featuring several exchanges between star Matt Smith and companions Karen Gillan and Arthur Darvill – scroll down to watch it.

Smith recently revealed that season seven of Doctor Who will begin in August. However, the BBC has yet to confirm the exact broadcast date for the season’s opening episode.

The episode, titled ‘Asylum Of The Daleks’, will receive its first public screening at London’s British Film Institute on August 14. Later that month, the episode will also be shown during the Edinburgh International TV Festival, which takes place from August 23-25. It is expected to premiere on BBC1 within days of its Edinburgh screening.

Gillan and Darvill, the Doctor’s companions since 2010, will make their final appearances at some point during season seven, while a new companion, played by Jenna-Louise Coleman, will make her debut in this year’s Christmas special. Last month (June), the first official picture of Smith and Coleman together was released.

Season seven of Doctor Who will also feature a guest appearance by Diana Rigg and her daughter Rachael Stirling. The pair will play a “mother and daughter with a dark secret” in an episode written by Mark Gatiss, who has penned several previous episodes of the sci-fi show.