Mark Gatiss' Doctor Who role in Christmas special was a classic Easter egg

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Dec 26, 2017, 11:46 AM EST

Last night’s Doctor Who Christmas episode packed an emotional punch by saying goodbye to Peter Capaldi and introducing Jodie Whittaker as the 13th Doctor. But “Twice Upon a Time” was also notable in revealing the true identity of Mark Gatiss’ mysterious World War I character that was previously known only as The Captain.

During Gatiss' final scene taking place during the Christmas truce of 1914, the character was revealed to be Captain Archibald Hamish Lethbridge-Stewart. If that name rings a bell for some fans, it’s because Gatiss was playing Brigadier Alistair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart’s (the late Nicholas Courtney) grandfather and Kate Stewart (Jemma Redgrave) great-grandfather.

Speaking about the emotional twist during a recent Q&A following the press screening of “Twice Upon a Time,” Gatiss said: “Amongst the many gifts Doctor Who has given me, to actually end up being the Brigadier's grandfather is... I couldn't have imagined anything more brilliant. I didn't know till I read [the script]. I started crying!”

The Brigadier was a major recurring character in the Doctor Who canon for decades and was one of the founders of UNIT (United Nations Intelligence Taskforce, which later bacame the Unified Intelligence Taskforce), an international organization defending the Earth from alien threats. The Brigadier made his debut in the Second Doctor (Patrick Troughton) story The Web of Fear (1968) and appeared in 23 stories during the show’s original run, showing up on and off during the Doctor’s many adventures as one of his staunchest allies and friends.

What did you think of the stunning reveal that Gatiss was playing The Brigadier's grandfather in "Twice Upon a Time"?

(via Digital Spy, Radio Times)