Sharp-eyed Doctor Who fans will spot a plug for rival drama Game Of Thrones in the science fiction show’s Christmas special.
Show supremo Steven Moffat paid tribute to the bloodthirsty fantasy epic in one of the final scenes of the episode.
Fans are already looking forward to the show which is at the heart of BBC One’s Christmas Day schedule.
Viewers will see a character with a plan for a perfect day’s festive viewing which includes the classic Miracle On 34th Street and a “thrones marathon”.
Sky TV bosses will be pleased with the reference to their hit show which is being shown from the very beginning on Sky Atlantic over December ahead of the launch of the much-anticipated new series.
Game of Thrones, a fantasy drama filmed in part in Belfast, is about to begin its fifth series and has attracted a massive global following.
Moffat, who is also behind the success of Sherlock – starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman as Sherlock Holmes and Dr John Watson – admitted he nearly added a Doctor Who episode to the list but said it would be “too self-reverential”.
Speaking at a preview screening in central London, Peter Capaldi said playing the Time Lord had been “a pleasure”.
He added: “It’s the easiest thing I’ve ever done in my life.
“People keep saying to me, ‘Is it weird being recognised?’
“But the thing is, you walk down the street and people say ‘Look, there’s Doctor Who’.
“They don’t say ‘There’s Peter, that bloke with funny hair’, and they smile as if they are happy to see Doctor Who, so you get the benefit of all the smiles so that’s a lovely and very special experience.”
Capaldi is the 12th incarnation of Doctor Who in the series’ long history and made his first appearance at the end of last year’s Christmas special.
The BBC is yet again pinning its hopes on the Doctor to secure the lion’s share of the Christmas Day television audience.
The Christmas special of the popular sci-fi TV series will be shown at 6.15pm on Christmas night after a special edition of Strictly Come Dancing and will be followed by Call the Midwife and EastEnders.
ITV will compete for the Christmas evening audience with back-to-back special editions of soap operas Emmerdale and Coronation Street followed by a two-hour-long episode of Downton Abbey which is expected to attract millions of viewers.