Matt Smith talks about this week’s explosive Doctor Who finale and looks back on his first series as the Time Lord…
It’s the last episode of the current series of Doctor Who on Saturday, and things aren’t looking too good for the Time Lord. Amy appears to be dead, the TARDIS is exploding and the Doctor has been locked inside the Pandorica by an unholy alliance of his deadliest enemies. With the cracks in the universe threatening to implode, we caught up with Matt Smith to find out more…
What can you tell us about the last episode?
“Well, as far as I’m concerned, it’s the best one we’ve done so far, and will keep you hanging on for more. When I read the script for last week’s episode, I thought, ‘How the hell is he going to get out of this one?’ – not just the Doctor, but Stephen Moffat, the show’s writer. He does, though, and it’s amazing how cleverly Stephen plays with time and captures the magic of time travel. The set felt like something from an Indiana Jones film. It’s great for a TV series to have that scope.”
The Doctor’s really up against it this week, isn’t he?
“He certainly is! I love seeing the Doctor despairing and thinking ,‘I can’t get out of this’. His enemies have ganged up on him and he’s frightened he may be locked in this prison for the rest of eternity while they’re outside roaming free. The Daleks always seem to be the ringleaders – they’re the bullies in the playground.”
Is Amy OK, or will you be needing a new assistant?
“She’s dead, but Rory is still around. That’s all I can tell you.”
Do we find out any more about who River Song might be?
“Sorry, I’m sworn to secrecy. I’m afraid you will just have to wait for the scene where River and the Doctor have a little chat.”
What have been your favourite moments of this series?
“Playing football in the James Corden episode was great. And there is a scene in this last episode featuring a character who comes back and is very significant. That was a great challenge for me, and an excellent piece of writing.”
Now you’ve completed a series, how would you describe your take on the Doctor?
“All I know is that it is constantly changing because that is what he does. I just turn up on the day and try to be as inventive as I can. Stephen Moffat said to me early on that the Doctor walks into a room and genuinely doesn’t know what’s going to come out of his mouth, and that’s exciting for me. This is the best part on TV, and the only format that can go through such drastic changes and yet still have people follow it.”
Were you nervous about how you would be received?
“Of course, but you can’t do anything to control the viewers’ reaction. I wanted the response to be positive, because I had worked hard at it, and there is a long way to go. We are only going to get better. I already know about the first five episodes of the next series, and they are going to be brilliant.”
Would you say this has been a life-changing experience?
“I had a lot of people telling me my life was going to change, and there is a significant transition because you are part of a very high-profile show so you do get recognised. It’s not a bad change, though – it’s an interesting one that I try to deal with intelligently and, hopefully, with grace.”
Did playing the role pan out the way you expected it to?
“I don’t think anything can prepare you for the amount of work you have to do, or the amount of interest that surrounds the show. You learn so much, though, and it has eclipsed any expectations I might have had.”
Have you enjoyed working with Karen Gillan?
“I am very fond of Karen – she cracks me up, that girl. She is brilliant and I am very proud of her, because she has come so far. As a team, we have both grown as actors, and we really listen to each other. Next year I think that relationship is going to be really strong – if she comes back, of course!”
Did it help that you were both new to the show?
“Yes, because on the first day we were both asking, ‘What’s going on?’ We have shared something we won’t ever forget, and I’m sure it will be a bond between us for a long time.”
How do you feel about the complaints that Amy is too sexy?
“I think they’re ridiculous, to be honest. How can anyone be too sexy? It is always done with taste and, if you are a 14-year-old boy, it’s not too sexy – and that is who the show is for.”
Do kids ever think you are a real time traveller?
“Yes, and adults do, too, which is disconcerting but lovely. It’s amazing meeting kids, because they are so direct about how they feel. Sometimes they just stop and stare. It’s nothing to do with me – it’s this part and this show, and it feels like a privilege.”
How do your family feel about you playing the Time Lord?
“My mother tends to embarrass me quite a lot in a lovely, motherly way because she is very proud. She still looks after my fan mail, which has gathered apace and is keeping her busy.”