Doctor Who star Matt Smith has revealed that his role as novelist Christopher Isherwood in a lavish new BBC drama has inspired him to pick up a pen again.

The actor, who studied drama with creative writing at the University of East Anglia, plays the openly gay author in Christopher And His Kind, which will be screened on BBC Two on Saturday.

“When I was playing Christopher I would write as much as I could every day,” Matt said.

“Being around Steven Moffat (Doctor Who writer) and working with Kevin Elyot (who wrote the script) has been really interesting. I’m trying to learn about structure at the moment.”

The one-off drama will mark the first time that the actor has played a real-life character on screen.

This has given me a great respect for people like Michael Sheen, who can convince you he’s Tony Blair,” Matt said.

“I don’t think people will think I’m a perfect mimic of Christopher Isherwood, but hopefully I’ve captured his essence.”

And he joked that he had a new-found respect for women since filming the drama’s numerous love scenes.

“I’ve had to kiss a lot of boys and I finally understand why ladies complain about stubbly men!” the 28-year-old said.

“I tried to commit to the nude scenes and be as brave as I could as an actor. They all happened to be really attractive, so it was all right.”

The drama is based on the author’s own autobiography which was published in 1976.

Isherwood’s other works include A Single Man, which was filmed in 2009 with Colin Firth, and he also created the character of Sally Bowles, who was featured in the musical Cabaret.