Who set for ‘epic’ 50th year

The lat­est Doc­tor prom­ises a huge cel­e­bra­tion for the show’s an­niver­sary, writes

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AC­TOR Matt Smith says 2013 will be the ‘‘big­gest, best, most in­ven­tive and most ex­cit­ing year for sci-fi se­ries Doc­tor Who as it cel­e­brates its 50th an­niver­sary.

The first episode of the new se­ries, fast­tracked to Aus­tralian tele­vi­sion from March 31, sees the Time Lord roar up the side of Lon­don’s Shard build­ing on a mo­tor­bike.

A spe­cial 3D an­niver­sary show airs in Novem­ber but Smith and co-star Jen­naLouise Cole­man, who plays the Doc­tor’s new as­sis­tant, can’t talk about that, though Smith lets slip that he clapped when he read the script.

‘‘It does what it says on the tin – you won’t be dis­ap­pointed,’’ he says.

‘‘I think it’s hi­lar­i­ous, I think it’s epic and I think it’s fast.

‘‘I think it’s go­ing to be the big­gest, best, most in­ven­tive and most ex­cit­ing year for the show and I think this script de­liv­ers on all those points that you want it to for where the show is at this time, it’s bril­liant.’’

Adds Cole­man: ‘‘It pays homage to the last 50 years of the show and kind of really cel­e­brates that, but at the same time as look­ing for­ward.’’

The pair are speak­ing at a spe­cial screen­ing of the first episode of the se­ries in Lon­don. It’s called The Bells of St John and de­scribed as a mod­ern-day ur­ban thriller. The duo bat­tle a sin­is­ter new ad­ver­sary – the Spoon­heads – against Lon­don land­marks in­clud­ing West­min­ster Bridge and the Shard.

‘‘It’s sort of Doc­tor Who meets the Bourne Iden­tity with mo­tor­cy­cles. We’ve got Celia Im­rie be­ing saucy and sexy, we have got aliens in your wi-fi, West­min­ster, the Shard, Lon­don – present day, with the Tardis in the mid­dle of it,’’ Smith says.

He says Cole­man makes a ‘‘bril­liant’’ start in her role as the Doc­tor’s new com­pan­ion, Clara Oswald.

‘‘She’s in­ven­tive, she works tire­lessly hard. And I’m really proud of what she’s achieved,’’ he says.

‘‘Af­ter the Ponds I think the doc­tor was a lit­tle blue and I think she’s reignited his cu­rios­ity in the uni­verse and has sort of awak­ened his mind and his soul. I think that’s some­thing we’ll see grow and evolve as the se­ries con­tin­ues.’’ Cole­man loves work­ing on the show. ‘‘It’s such a unique job. I can hon­estly say there really is no job like Doc­tor Who. You can be a big kid at work and run down the cor­ri­dors be­ing chased by mon­sters and the scripts are just ab­so­lutely fan­tas­tic,’’ she says, adding work­ing with Smith is a joy.

‘‘He’s been ab­so­lutely so sup­port­ive and to­tally and ut­terly there for me and he’s a really good friend.’’

Ex­ec­u­tive pro­ducer and lead writer Steven Mof­fat says the new se­ries re­veals Doc­tor Who’s big­gest se­cret.

‘‘We’re not kid­ding, we are ac­tu­ally go­ing to do it – we’re go­ing to re­veal his big­gest se­cret,’’ he says.

Sun­days from March 31, 7.30pm, ABC1.

Jenna-Louise Cole­man and Matt Smith

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