DoctorDoctor Who Guide

Matt Smith

Last updated 27 July 2014

Acting Credits
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Production Credits
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Matt Smith
(this image appears for illustrative purposes only and no attempt is made to supersede any copyright attributed to it)

Matthew Robert Smith

Born: Thu 28th October 1982 (age: 31)

Troika (Agent)

Matt Smith  is best known for his role as the eleventh incarnation of the Doctor

Smith was born and brought up in Northampton where he attended Northampton School for Boys, a state comprehensive secondary school. He had planned to be a professional football player, having played for the youth teams of Northampton Town F.C.Nottingham Forest F.C. and Leicester City F.C. 

After a serious back injury, his drama teacher introduced him to acting by surreptitiously signing him up as the tenth juror in an adaptation of Twelve Angry Men. Although he took part in the play, he declined going to a drama festival that his teacher had signed him up for. His drama teacher persisted, and eventually persuaded him to join the National Youth Theatre in London.

His first theatre roles as part of the National Youth Theatre were Thomas Becket in Murder in the Cathedral and Basoon in The Master and Margarita. His role in the latter earned him an agent and his first professional jobs: Fresh Kills and On the Shore of the Wide World

During his tenure in On the Shore of the Wide World, the play transferred to the Royal National Theatre in London. After finishing the play, he took on the role of Lockwood, a pupil in the Alan Bennett play The History Boys. After The History Boys, he would act in the teen play Burn/Chatroom/Citizenship and Swimming with Sharks; the latter being his West End début, with Christian Slater. 

His first television role was as Jim Taylor in the BBC adaptations of the Sally Lockhart quartet books The Ruby in the Smoke and The Shadow in the North, opposite {p{73}} in the lead role; he acted with Piper a third time in an episode of Secret Diary of a Call Girl. His first major television role came in the television series Party Animals, a BBC television drama series about fictional parliamentary advisors and researchers in Westminster.

In 2007, Smith appeared as Henry in the critically acclaimed Polly Stenham play That Face at the Royal Court Theatre Upstairs in Chelsea with Lindsay Duncan as Henry's alcoholic mother, Martha, and Felicity Jones—later Hannah Murray—as Henry's drug-addicted sister, Mia. The play transferred to the Duke of York's Theatre in the West End in 2008 and became Smith's second role there. That Face focuses primarily upon alcohol and drug addiction in an upper-middle-class family after the paternal figure in the family leaves.

Smith was one of the earliest actors to audition for the role of the Eleventh Doctor, performing on the first day. The production team, consisting of the incoming producer, Steven Moffat, and BBC Wales Head of Drama and executive producer, Piers Wenger, immediately singled him out based on his performance. 

Smith additionally auditioned for the role of John Watson in the Moffat-created Sherlock, undergoing auditions at the same time; he was unsuccessful, as Moffat believed his eccentric acting style was closer to Holmes, whose role had already been given to Benedict Cumberbatch. 

At 26 years old, Smith was three years younger than Peter Davison was at the time of his casting as the Doctor in 1981, and younger than any other actor suggested for the role. After three weeks of auditions, Moffat and Wenger agreed that it had "always been Matt" and approached him to accept the role. The BBC were cautious about casting him because they felt that a 26-year-old could not play the Doctor adequately; Wenger shared the same sentiment but thought Smith had proven his acting quality in Party Animals, which Wenger thought highlighted Smith's "mercurial qualities". 

 For his performance in his first series he was nominated in the Outstanding Drama Performance Category of the National Television Awards.

In June 2010, Smith appeared on stage with Orbital, and performed with them a version of the Doctor Who theme, at the Glastonbury Festival. Smith hosted the Doctor Who Prom at the Royal Albert Hall on 24–25 July 2010, and again for the 13-14 July 2013. On the morning of 26 May 2012, Smith carried the olympic torch in Cardiff.

Smith will leave the role of The Doctor at the end of 2013