What are you watching on TV at the moment?
Doctor Who baby! Doctor Who! I like Doctor Who.
Yes, that’s very “on message”, but anything else?
QI. I love those guys. If I went on, I’d just be laughing all the time.
I wouldn’t mind seeing if I could hold my own, but it would need to be a jazz or boxing special, something I know about. Maybe P for “pugilism”, or Q for “Queensbury Rules”.
What was your favourite show as a kid?
Quantum Leap [the US sci-fi series where a scientist possessed different people throughout history] was a big part of my life. When I’m having a bad time and can’t get any work, I say to my friend, “This is not my life! I’m not supposed to be at this bar, I’m supposed to be acting. Quantum Leap me back into my life, Sam!”
Who was your first TV crush?
I think most young men find Jessica Rabbit quite attractive, but my first TV heartbreak was when Macaulay Culkin died in My Girl. The first time I had my heart broken in real life it took me back to watching that film, that feeling of emptiness, and looking at my mum and saying “Why did you take me to see this? They’ve killed the Home Alone kid!”
Before Doctor Who, you were a regular on Emmerdale. What has the stranger storylines: sci-fi or soap?
It depends how you look at it. The amount of stuff that went on in that village is quite fantastical. It’s harder to believe in everything that happens in the Woolpack than to believe in aliens. In sci-fi you think, “That could happen.” But you watch soaps and go “Yeah, right!”
What was it like working with your fellow Emmerdale co-star Jenna Coleman again?
She was like a big sister to me and Peter; the young veteran showing us around the Tardis. Jenna actually commented after my first couple of weeks on set: “I can’t believe you’ve gone this long without pressing any buttons.”
I was trying to be professional, but now I push all the buttons. I can fly like a demon. I’m like Ayrton Senna on the Tardis.
You worked with James Corden on History Boys and Gavin and Stacey. Do you keep in touch?
We were texting this weekend actually. He was watching Doctor Who with Michael McIntyre’s kids, I think, and he said “Please send a little video telling them it’s all right and not to be scared.” We always see each other at Christmas, play a bit of football. Now he’s going to America to host a late-night talk show [The Late Late Show]. My man ain’t messing around!
Can you see yourself coming back to Doctor Who next series?
I’d love to. I feel like we’ve just started. I’ve been finding my feet, growing in confidence. I’m ready to start pushing things. In boxing when a fighter wins his first title, he improves. I’ll be holding on to this belt for as long as possible!
Doctor Who is on BBC1 tonight at 8.30pm