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Matt Smith

October 2010

The Doctor’s grandad lives in Trowell, it seems.
“I’M quite excited to be talking to the Nottingham Post because my granddad reads that every day,” he says, by way of an introduction.
“He’ll be pleased I’m doing an interview and I bet he’ll ring me and go ‘you’re in the Evening Post’,” he laughs, affecting a Notts accent.
“He’ll love it, he’ll love, he’ll love it, you watch. And he’ll take it down to show Eileen who lives down the road.”
The Time Lord’s granddad is Nottingham born and bred.
“And he’s a massive Forest fan. You know, hates Derby of course,” adds Matt, with a chuckle.
He makes the journey to Trowell when he can.
“He’ll take me for a pint over at the Festival, which is the pub across the road. It’s quite a nice community up there. My mum was born there. Yeah, I love Nottingham.”
Like his granddad, who once played for Notts County and Aspley Old Boys before embarking on a career as an architect, Matt’s first passion was football. Between the ages of 12 and 14 he played for Nottingham Forest Juniors.
“Which was massive for me because I was a huge Forest fan,” says Matt, who cites Stuart Pearce as his favourite man to have ever worn the red short.
“I was only talking to my best mate, who is also a Forest fan, the other day about how pleased we were that Spurs had just got beat. Because of that cup final...”
That was the 1991 FA Cup final when Forest lost to Tottenham, partly due to an own goal by Des Walker.
“We were talking about what a great player Des was. And Gazza shouldn’t have been on the pitch...”
He was just eight years old at the time. Within four years he was playing for Forest’s juniors. He joined them from his hometown club, Northampton Town.
“The only player in my side that went on and played Premier League football was Jermaine Jenas,” he says of two years with Forest.
“I played at the City Ground and hit the bar. I’ll never forget that. It was my left foot and I’m right footed. That’s my claim to fame.”
At 14 he went to Leicester City and suffered a back injury that finished his football career.
“I can’t really play now because of it, which is a shame because I loved playing it. But I get such joy from watching it.”
He doesn’t get time to see many games these days because of the filming schedule for the next series of Doctor Who, due to air at Easter, and a Christmas special.
“We shoot in Cardiff for nine months of the year and Forest are playing Cardiff City on November 20, so I want to take my granddad to that game,” he says.
The Christmas special is finished.
“We’ve got Michael Gambon in it playing an old Scrooge like miser. He’s a right laugh.”
He’s now filming an episode with Suranne Jones, written by award-winning Sandman author Neil Gaiman, which will be part of next year’s series. Can he tell us anything about that?
“Not really,” he laughs, such is the secrecy surrounding the show.
“This year we’ve had some great scripts and some good people guesting so it’s been really exciting,” is all he can say.
Doctor Who fandom is fierce, bordering on the obsessive for some.
“They come and watch the filming or if you go to an event but they’re generally really positive and nice and quite enthusiastic.”
Are they usually middle-aged men?
“(Laughs) Yeah, they kind of are.”
He adds: “I suppose that’s one of its great virtues is that it appeals... if you’re forty and you’ve got a seven-year-old, you can watch it together.”
Although kids tend to be less fussy about whether you call him Doctor Who (wrong!) or The Doctor (correct!) or spell it Dr. (so very, very wrong!).
“That’s so true,” he laughs.
I’ve done that on Twitter and Facebook just to wind them up.
“I bet it does wind them up because it is always The Doctor,” says Matt.
Not that he would have seen such debates on either social network - he’s not a fan.
“I find that all a bit weird. Why would I want to tell someone where I am? Matt is in the toilet in the shopping centre.”
The 27-year-old first appeared as The Doctor on New Year’s Day this year, regenerating from David Tennant’s Doctor.
“The most surprising thing about it has been the line learning,” he admits.
“Because the script is extraordinary and there are lots of lines for me to learn,” he says with a yawn, clearly worn out by the promotional duties in between shoots.
“And seeing the Tardis every day is quite cool.”
He was too young to have been a Doctor Who fan, having grown up when the series was off-air.
“I’m part of that barren age. I feel slightly robbed by that actually. I’ve since gone back and watched them all, obviously and I’d say Patrick Troughton was my favourite Doctor.”
Troughton was the second Time Lord, appearing between 1966 and 1969.
Matt also appears in the Doctor Who children’s spin-off, The Sarah Jane Adventures.
“The worlds of Sarah Jane and Doctor Who and their companions are interlinked, so sometimes the Doctor and his Tardis can find their way on to the Sarah Jane set, shall we say. I’m in a couple of episodes which was great fun to do.”
The two episodes air the week Doctor Who Live! is at the Trent FM Arena.
It will be the first time the show has been adapted for the stage. Based on the BBC series and developed with executive producer Steven Moffat, it’s mix monsters, music and special effects.
None of the cast are on the tour apart from specially filmed sequences that will be projected on to a huge screen.
Says Matt: “I can’t be there obviously because we’re shooting, so I’m appearing on a video screen. It’s sort of me and the audience trying to defeat this dastardly villain.
“He’s this intergalactic curator of monsters, essentially, played by Nigel Planer, who gets in to a lot of bother and The Doctor has to save the day.”
He adds: “It’s great because there are all sorts of monsters, from Weeping Angels to Cybermen, Daleks, Scarecrows and vampires, a personal favourite... a plethora of monsters.”
The story is a sequel to a 1973 episode with Jon Pertwee, called Carnival of Monsters.
Says Matt: “I think it’s a great chance to get up close and personal with all things Who.”
Would he have liked to have been part of it?
“I’d have liked to have come to Nottingham, just because of my granddad, so he could come and bring a few mates.”
His parting shot before being dragged off back to the set to continue filming, is a promise to get his granddad to look out for this article. Then he adds:
“Come on you Reds! I want them up this year. I don’t want them getting bloody beat in the first round of the play-offs again! Come on Forest!”

What: Doctor Who Live!
Where: Trent FM Arena
When: October 25/26
Tickets: £38.50, £34.50 and £25, 08444 124624

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