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