Matt Smith, the 11th Doctor, discusses his big Christmas Day Doctor Who farewell episode…

You’ve played the Doctor for four years now. Has it been hard to say goodbye?

“Yes! It’s been such a journey and I’ve got so many friends here. This has been my life for four years. You always know that you can’t do it for ever, though, and I just feel really proud of all the good work we’ve done.”

Does it feel like the right time for you to leave?

“Yeah, but it’s a bittersweet thing. A huge part of me still wants to stay because it’s a wonderful job and I’ll never play a part quite like this again. But I’ve had a good run at it and I think it’s right for the show.”

So how did you feel filming your final episode?

“It had a special resonance, but I didn’t cry every day! To be honest, I tried not to place too much importance on it. It had to be about work and not about my emotions leaving the show, so I just treated the moment I regenerate like any other scene. It wasn’t all about me anyway… Peter Capaldi had a big day, too, and I wanted to make sure he had the start he deserved.”

What do you think about Peter Capaldi taking over as the Time Lord?

“Peter’s a brilliant actor, but he’s also got wonderful comic ability and I have great faith that he’s going to be a really fabulous Doctor. Unfortunately the nature of the show means you’re never going to please everybody, but Peter’s going to be fantastic. I wish him luck.”

What’s been your favourite episode?

“I’ve been in nearly 40 episodes, but I loved The Eleventh Hour because everybody was nervous about how it would be received and at the end it felt like we’d achieved something special. This episode is up there though.”

Did you take away any keepsakes from the show?

“Yes, the tweed blazers! It’s not like I’m ever going to wear them down the pub, but it’s nice to have some sort of memento.”

Finally, what are you going to miss most?

“The people… and being the Doctor. But I’ll be back if ever they want me. I’ll never turn my back on Doctor Who – I love it too much! Hopefully they’ll wheel me out for the 60th anniversary!”

Catch Matt’s final episode (and Peter Capaldi’s first) on Christmas Day on BBC1, when the 11th Doctor has an intergalactic battle with nearly all his old foes, including Cybermen, Weeping Angels, Daleks and The Silence!