The "Doctor Who" series opener will feature Stephen Fry and Lenny Henry, as the much-anticipated New Year’s Day show bounces on to TV screens and promises an action-packed feast of entertainment for sci-fi fans. The exciting coup seems certain to ensure that the BBC’s ratings winner won’t disappoint its army of avid followers, as the latest instalment of the nation’s favourite Timelord’s adventures returns to primetime Television.

Fry enthused about his appearance in the ever-popular BBC show, claiming that "short of being picked for a British space exploration programme" that starring in "Doctor Who" "will certainly do as a very sweet second-place excitement." The television icon’s dulcet tones will no doubt add a certain gravitas to the storylines.

Lenny Henry joins the cast

Funnyman and comic legend, Henry – a major contributor to and co-founder of the Comic Relief charity appeals – will also add to the feeling of familiarity as Doctor Who returns. The 61-year-old commented that the nearest that he had been to the fictional time machine the Tardis that appears on the show, had been when he played the Caribbean Doctor on "The Lenny Henry Show" many years ago.

'Doctor Who' chief promises exciting return

Chris Chibnall – the "Doctor Who" chief – sought to stoke up the fervour ahead of the New Year re-appearance of the show, as he indicated that "we are coming back with a bang." Well-respected for his part as the creator and writer of ITV’s much-acclaimed mystery-crime drama "Broadchurch," Chibnall is also a huge fan of "Doctor Who".

He added that "we have two great British icons in major roles" in what he believes will be "one of our biggest ever stories."

No Christmas Day special for the show

Despite this being the second year in a row when "Doctor Who" fans will not be able to look forward to an annual Christmas Day special, the launch of the 12th season of the popular series in 2020 with a two-part special on New Year’s Day should still pull in millions of viewers.

Part two of the festive special will be aired on January 4th, with the remainder of the season being shown in weekly episodes later in the year, as producers will look to build on the huge success of the last season that pulled in more than 8 million viewers at its height.

Jodie Whitaker and Bradley Walsh return

Although the storylines are still a closely guarded secret, it is expected that several of Doctor Who’s greatest adversaries are set to return in the new series, including the Cybermen.

Cast continuity will be maintained with the news that Jodie Whitaker continues in the main role of the Doctor, with Bradley Walsh (as Graham O’Brien), Mandip Gill (Yashim Khan) and Tosin Cole (Ryan Sinclair) also returning to the show.