David Who? Matt Smith’s Time Lord has made fans forget all about Mr Tennant, but what makes his Doctor so good?
“People ask me, ‘Who do you think your Doctor is?'” says Smith, in an interview with E Jane Dickson, “and I’m reluctant to think of it in those terms, because it’s still a work in progress.
“Steven Moffat – who’s just the most brilliant writer – told me when I first met him that the interesting thing, the defining thing, about the Doctor is that he never quite knows what’s going to come out of his mouth in any given situation. His thoughts just combust spontaneously. I’ve tried to harness that brain-to-mouth rapidity.
“I mean, you could think about it for ever, but how do you play the most charismatic man in the universe? It’s a real challenge. If you play him consciously charismatic, he instantly loses the charisma. Of course, really charismatic people don’t have to do a thing. They just are. I’m still finding my way on that one, but I like to think it gives me something creative to play with.”
Whatever the secret, Smith’s turn as the Doctor has made him a famous face overnight. How has he coped?
“Being recognised in the streets is a new experience for me, but it’s certainly not a bad experience,” he says. “I’m guessing the trick with being in the eye of the media is to ignore the bad publicity – and perhaps even the things that are good – because, artistically, each is as dangerous as the other.”
Like David Tennant before him, Matt Smith is keen to continue with other acting work while playing the Doctor. So where can we expect to see him next?
This autumn, he’ll be on BBC2 starring as Christopher Isherwood (alongside Doctor Who alumni Lindsay Duncan and Toby Jones) in Christopher and his Kind, which charts the author’s introduction to the underground gay scene of 1930s Berlin.
And last year Smith shot sci-fi movie Womb – yet to be released in the UK – opposite Eva Green, with whom he shares some rather intimate scenes.
Having got to grips with the former Bond girl, would he like to play 007 himself? “I don’t think I’m handsome enough [but] I think I’d make quite a good, young Bond villain,” says Smith.
“It would be kind of nice, though,” he admits, “to be the actor who’s done both.”