Filming new royal drama The Crown nearly ended in disaster for Matt Smith who came perilously close to death when a horse he was riding bolted down a ravine.

The ex-Doctor Who actor, who plays Prince Philip alongside Claire Foy's Queen Elizabeth, looked back on the terrifying moment which happened on location in South Africa. 

“These horses were being a bit frisky. We were meant to get on them and trot off and have this lovely love scene, which didn’t even make the cut,” he explained, speaking on the Graham Norton Show.

“In my stupidity I got on the horse and cantered around and then it just went. I tried to grab a branch and everyone was shouting, ‘Oh my God, don’t grab the branch!’ So I went under the branch and then down a ravine.

“I was so scared. As it galloped towards a herd of zebra, a huge man grabbed it by the reins and saved my life.”

Thank goodness there was a huge man standing by to come to Smith's rescue. 

The actor has also revealed his growing fascination with Prince Philip himself

“What’s interesting about him is that he has always spoken his mind and has never been afraid to say what he thinks and was certainly in the early days a bit of an outsider, a bit of a maverick," he told RadioTimes.com.

"And to a certain extent he still is. He has always been a forward thinker. He’s always telling [the Queen] ‘let’s think outside the box’.”