Who dares wins
THERE are many benefits to playing the title role in Doctor Who, the most successful science fiction program of all time.
At just 29, Matt Smith has already been immortalised as one of the faces of an iconic series spanning half a century. He’s a hero to millions of fans around the globe and he’s had the opportunity to spend countless hours on set with every geek’s fantasy woman Karen Gillan, who plays Amy Pond.
But there are a few drawbacks too. Some of the more excited fans can get a little carried away.
‘‘ It can be quite bizarre when you’ve got one following you to the toilet and asking you to speak to their girlfriend, which has happened while I’m having a wee – literally mid wee!’’ laughs Smith.
He’s had better luck than some – seventh Doctor Sylvester McCoy said a few years ago after meeting him at a Who- themed cruise, one fan threatened suicide. Fortunately McCoy’s wife talked her out of it.
Smith is on the line from Wales where he’s been filming the eighth episode of series seven. He’s in a cheerful mood considering production has been going on for seven months now and there’s still three months left in the schedule.
‘‘ It is quite gruelling,’’ he admits. ‘‘ It’s exciting, but make not bones about it, it’s hard work.’’
Smith had barely made an impression as an actor when he was chosen to replace David Tennant in January 2009 – so much so, his name wasn’t even cited as a possibility until the day before it was announced.
The youngest actor to ever play the part, his earlier career had included some successful stage turns, a few minor TV roles, and one role of note as a young politics nerd in the acclaimed 2007 BBC mini series Party Animals.
From Smith’s debut as the Doctor, his companions have been Amy ( Gillan) and Rory ( Arthur Darvill), but they’re due to bow out in what showrunner Steven Moffat describes as a ‘‘ tragedy’’ in the ‘‘ heartbreaking’’ fifth episode ( to air here on October 6 or a week earlier on iview).
On the upside the episode was shot in New York and features the reappearance of those creepy Weeping Angels statues.
His new companion Jenna- Louise Coleman ( Emmerdale) has already made a surprise appearance this season as a Dalek.
Gillan has revealed she wept for two weeks while filming the episode in April and Smith says it’s sad to see them go.
‘‘ Yeah, she was upset, but you’re always going to be,’’ he says. ‘‘ It’s been such a huge part of our lives and we’ve had such a wonderful time making it so it’s going to be upsetting when eventually the day comes when you’ve got to leave.’’