Matt Smith: “Richard E Grant was born to be a Doctor Who villain”

Ahead of the Christmas special, the star also talks the Snowmen, the Tardis redesign and his new companion


Can’t wait for the Doctor Who Christmas special? Neither can we. And as the excitement grows, Matt Smith – our beloved 11th Doctor – has shared a little more about this year’s festive episode…


The Christmas special is always spectacularly star-studded – think Kylie Minogue, Dervla Kirwan, Michael Gambon, Katherine Jenkins, Alexander Armstrong – and this year is no exception. As well as the voice of The Hobbit actor Sir Ian McKellen and Silent Witness’s Tom Ward, Doctor Who has “Richard E Grant playing the dastardly villain.” 

It won’t be the the Withnail and I actor’s first involvement with Doctor Who – he’s starred as the Time Lord himself in online animated series Scream of the Shalka and, briefly, in a Comic Relief sketch – but Smith reckons the role of Dr Simeon will play to Grant’s strengths.

“He was born to be a Who villain. He pitches it on that perfect level and tone,” said Smith in an interview on This Morning, “and he’s a wonderful guy.”

As we know, Grant is not the only new face to be joining the Doctor Who ranks this Christmas… 

“We’ve got killer snowmen and killer snow… It’s Doctor Who does Christmas and it’s set in Victorian London, but most importantly we get to meet the new companion, Clara,” said the 30-year-old star. 

“Jenna-Louise Coleman has started thrillingly [in the role]. [She’s] very detailed, very hard working. She’s just a delight.”

But for fans of the Pond era – not to mention for Smith himself – the new companion might take a little getting used to.  

“It was a big blow to [The Doctor] to lose the Ponds, as it was to everyone involved with the show, as it was to me – they were great friends of mine,” said Smith.

Asked what he felt like the day after filming wrapped on the Pond’s final episode, he added: “It felt like Boxing Day. Not quite as good as Christmas Day, but that day after. It was exactly like that.”

A new companion isn’t the only change fans will have to get their heads around. As well as a reworked theme tune and opening credits, Smith said: “The Tardis has been slightly revamped, interior-designed as it were.”

“We went to Ikea and did it there. Space Ikea. It’s very nice, reasonable – avoid it on a Sunday…”

The Doctor Who Christmas special will be the sixth episode of series seven, which took a mid-season break when the Ponds said their final goodbyes. But it will be back for eight new episodes in the spring. 

When asked what viewers could expect, Smith revealed that one adventure revolves around dangerous Wi-Fi…

“It’s clever old Steven Moffatt,” he said. “What exists in the Wi-Fi? What if there was a monster in the Wi-Fi…?”


The Doctor Who Christmas special is on Christmas Day at 5:15pm on BBC1