The BBC has denied any knowledge of suspicious betting activity over the identity of the new Doctor Who.

Bookmakers reduced odds on actor Matt Smith landing the role shortly before Saturday’s announcement after a flurry of bets were made on the relatively unknown 26-year-old. Nearly seven million people saw him named as the 11th Time Lord, the youngest yet.

At bookmaker Paddy Power, which took £40,000 in total, odds on Matt fell from 33-1 to 10-1 in the run-up to the announcement.

“For such an unknown name as Matt Smith to go from 33-1 to 10-1 suggests there were obviously people who did know,” said Paddy Power spokesman Darren Haines. “However, it wasn’t widespread, so it wasn’t enough to set our alarm bells ringing, otherwise he would have crashed in as favourite.”

But he said people were still putting more money on other names, including David Morrissey, Paterson Joseph and James Nesbitt.

Mr Haines said the betting pattern was ‘enough to suggest there were people out there who knew, but I certainly wouldn’t describe it as a betting coup. It was very much one under the radar.”

He added it was hard to keep details of such a major announcement quiet as so many people would’ve been involved. “All in all, they did quite well,” he said.

A BBC spokeswoman said: “The BBC has no knowledge of anyone betting on the outcome of the identity of the 11th Doctor.”

Matt replaces David Tennant as Doctor Who. He’ll appear on our screens as the Time Lord in 2010.

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