Matt Smith: Getting naked beats smoking herbal cigarettes

The Doctor tells RT about the challenges of his period role

In his first major role since being cast in Doctor Who, Matt Smith plays Christopher Isherwood, the gay author whose life and work inspired Hollywood films A Single Man and Cabaret, respectively.

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Speaking in the new issue of Radio Times, Smith reveals that although the love scenes in Christopher and His Kind (Saturday 19 March, BBC2) were a challenge, he took them in his stride.

“In the first professional job I ever did at the Royal Court [Theatre in London], I played a 16-year-old gigolo. I had to kiss Phil Daniels. So it’s not my first,” he explains.

“I guess I’ve never taken it as far as Christopher does. It goes beyond kissing, shall we say,” he smiles. “It’s embarrassing having to get nude in front of 30 people on a film set. But it’s not the first time I’ve done that. You just try to be as truthful as you can be and jump in feet first.”

However, the hardest part of playing Isherwood, admits Smith, was smoking.

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“Christopher smoked a lot. I was smoking all these herbal cigarettes and they’re the worst thing in the whole universe. But you just tell yourself that it’s not for ever and you get through it.”