Peter Capaldi has revealed that Doctor Who's Christmas episode The Return of Doctor Mysterio harks back to early superhero movies.

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Peter Capaldi has praised the Doctor Who Christmas special for harking back to the days of vintage superhero films, describing modern superhero movies as “grim”.

The actor will return in his leading role of the Doctor in the festive episode, entitled The Return of Doctor Mysterio, alongside returning cast member Matt Lucas and newcomers Justin Chatwin and Charity Wakefield.

The theme of the Christmas Day episode is that of classic superheroes, with Justin taking on the role of a mysterious figure known as The Ghost.

Peter said that the script reminded him of the early Superman movies and that fans will be enthralled with the comedic elements to this new Doctor Who outing.

He said: “When I first read the script I thought ‘this is wonderful’ because it captures the delightful, light comedy touch that existed in the early Superman movies with Christopher Reeves.

“Superheroes nowadays tend to be a grim lot – but in those days there was optimism and a deliberate naivety that the character of Superman had which was very attractive.

“But also the way the scripts were written back then reminded me of Spencer Tracy or Katharine Hepburn kind of scripts – they were very witty, very knockabout, very American.

“This script is like that so I was very happy to read it and to go with this whole idea of the Doctor observing a superhero – it’s great fun.”

Peter, who has played the Time Lord since 2013, said the plot for the upcoming episode is “very much a light-hearted superhero romp”.

The episode will see the Doctor join forces with the masked superhero, played by Justin, in New York for a typical Doctor Who adventure.

Matt reprises his role as the affable but bumbling Nardole after first appearing in the sci-fi programme for last year’s Christmas special, The Husbands of River Song, and Charity joins as investigative reporter Lucy.

The unlikely foursome join forces to save the city from brain-swapping alien, and the truth about The Ghost – otherwise known as Grant – will also be revealed.

Doctor Who: The Return of Doctor Mysterio will air on Christmas Day on BBC One at 5.45pm.