Thursday 20 July 2017

Doctor Who's Matt Smith: why I was destined to become the Time Lord

Dr Who star Matt Smith. Photo: Getty Images
Dr Who star Matt Smith. Photo: Getty Images

Anita Singh

Doctor Who star Matt Smith has revealed the series of strange coincidences that led to his new role as the Time Lord.

His mother sent him a text message suggesting he would make the perfect Doctor - a week before David Tennant opened up a vacancy by announcing his decision to quit.

At university, Smith was nicknamed "Doctor Who" because he wore a scarf similar to the one worn by Tom Baker in the television sci-fi show.

"I don't know, it's funny," Smith told Esquire magazine when asked if he felt destined for the role.

"At university I had a big coloured scarf and people would often say, 'All right, Doctor Who?' And I thought, I rather liked that notion."

A week after the text from his mother, Smith's agent told him about Tennant's departure and arranged an audition. He will appear in the BBC One series in April.

"It's a bit like playing Hamlet. It has to be your version," the 27-year-old said.

"The Doctor is so committed, whoever plays him. So I tried to be creative and artistic and silly and crazy, and also the cleverest man in the world, and part of that is there's a rapidity to the way he speaks.

"He's an intergalactic genius, a superhero-ish, mad, fumbling, bumbling science geek. He's everything you can pluck from any universe and put into him."

Smith originally planned to become a footballer and was a promising player at Leicester City's academy, captaining the under-15s and playing against Jermaine Jenas, the future England midfielder.

But a back injury ended his dream and the realisation that he would never turn professional left him in tears.

"Essentially the white tissue in my back wasn't regenerating because I was playing too much, and if I'd carried on then in my mid-twenties I'd have had to have an operation, and you don't really want to be having surgery on your spine.

"It was very tough though. I remember crying because that was all I'd ever invested in. I hadn't really considered acting."

In the interview, Smith was asked why Doctor Who makes such a "crap lover" despite various women, including Billie Piper's Rose Tyler, falling in love with him.

Smith explained: "It's because he's too busy. He finds humans fascinating, but imagine if you'd travelled round for 900-plus years on your own with this great weight behind you. He's an addict - if he stopped saving the world, he'd be in real trouble.

Promoted articles

Editors Choice

Also in Entertainment