A domestic squabble may be brewing in the Doctor Who Christmas special when River Song (Alex Kingston) returns, but doesn’t recognise her husband, since the Eleventh Doctor (Matt Smith) she married has regenerated into the Twelth Doctor (Peter Capaldi).

Peter Capaldi told What’s on TV: “She doesn’t know it’s him, so he gets to see her in the way that she normally behaves and he’s quite appalled, really. She’s flirting with everybody else and none of it is pointed in his direction, so I think he’s disappointed in that!”

But Peter did enjoy working with Alex for the first time.

“I loved it!” he said. “She’s been in Doctor Who longer than I have, so it was fascinating grilling her about her previous experiences on the show. She’s just such a good actress and she’s such fun to have around. She’s done it before so she knows how it rolls.”

He revealed that the Christmas special features a classic Whovian setting: “The TARDIS materialises in a cobbled, snowy street, so there’s a bit of a Dickensian feel, but of course it’s not that at all, he’s on a futuristic planet.”

What happens there? “The Doctor is sought out by Nardole (Matt Lucas) to perform a task to help a King Hydroflax, but he’s not quite up to the task, so Hydroflax is unhappy with him! Greg Davies plays Hydroflax, who’s a huge great robot-like thing, literally. He’s great!”

Would Peter be sitting down to watch himself at 5.15pm on BBC1 on Christmas Day?

“Yes, because that’s what I usually do and I always have done! As a boy I was a big fan of Doctor Who and I used to get the annual every year, which was always very exciting. I’ve got a huge collection of them. There wasn’t much merchandise when I was growing up, but I remember my parents bought me a Dalek costume once, which wasn’t very convincing – it was just a dome and a kind of plastic skirt with circles drawn on it with two holes to stick your hands through!”