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Tuesday 12 December 2017

Who is the new Doctor?

Doctor Who fans prepare yourselves: the first outing of the regenerated Time Lord is upon us. It may be the 11th time an actor has taken on the role, but Matt Smith, who at 27 is the youngest so far, hasn't let that stand in the way of creating his very own vision.

Even though he's a little tentative about revealing quite what that vision is.

"That's a difficult question," he says. "I think my Doctor is more reckless," says Matt, wearing black skinny jeans, black shirt and a leather jacket. With his hair quiffed, he looks like Patrick Swayze circa Dirty Dancing.

"He's a thrill-seeker and addicted to time travel," he continues. "He is the mad buffoon genius who saves the world because he's got a great heart, spirit and soul but he also doesn't suffer fools. I hope all this comes across. I think I've also injected a bit of my own personality into the role."

And if by that he means being in a state of continuous hyperactivity then it's going to make for interesting viewing, as Matt appears to find it impossible to sit still. If he's not changing positions, or crooking one leg over the other, he's pushing his hands through his hair or shaking his knee.

"I approached the Doctor like I approach any other part," he says on tackling one of the world's most famous sci-fi characters.

"I investigated the history of the man and his life, his personality. But with the doctor, he's so multi-faceted, he's never only one thing, he's everything.



invention

"He's not A or B, he's A to Z. He can be anyone, he can be anything, so he asks for complete invention."

Matt takes great pride in being responsible for the 'look' of the new Doctor.

"We dismissed a number of items including a long leather coat, a long blue coat and some short punky stuff. But then one day I brought in my braces and a tweed jacket and it went from there," he says. "Soon we had the whole outfit, although it still felt like something was missing. I asked if I could try on a bow tie. At that point the execs all bowed their heads in concern. Luckily, when I tried it on, we agreed it worked and it has sort of become the signature of my Doctor, now." Since Doctor Who's successful return in 2005, Christopher Eccleston and David Tennant have made their own marks on the eccentric Time Lord. Yet Matt appears unperturbed by the pressure of matching their success.

"I think these things are only as intimidating as you allow them to be," he says. "I guess it's like anything really: the more you do something the less daunting and intimidating it becomes. Plus I couldn't have inherited the role from a nicer man."

As for whether Tennant offered any words of advice to his young successor, Matt simply says: "I shall keep that between myself and David because I wouldn't want to divulge a private conversation. I will just say that he was very gracious."

Steven Moffat, who Matt describes as "a complete Doctor Who obsessive", takes over the writing reins from Russell T Davies and joining the Doctor is his new companion Amy Pond, played by 22-year-old former model, Karen Gillan.

"I think the Doctor and Amy share a slightly mad relationship," says Matt. "She's a handful and he likes the fact she challenges him and can sometimes act a bit bonkers."

Doctor Who begins on BBC1, Saturday at 6.20pm

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