Matt Smith (2010)

Here’s a transcript of Matt Smith on Jonathan Ross’s chat show last night. Among other things, he talks about how long he might be playing the role, how big the new TARDIS is, and David Tennant’s memory:

Q: When did you audition for this role? When and how did you find out you’d got it?

A: Well, my mum randomly texted me and said ‘You should be the next Doctor’ about a week before my agent rang and said ‘Do you fancy auditioning for the part?’, and I said ‘Yeah’. We had two secret auditions…

Q: There’s massive secrecy around ‘Doctor Who’…

A: Yes! We’re showing the new episode on the third, and it feels like a massive security breach. So, anyway, I auditioned, and I thought nothing more of it, it was in a very trashy hotel, and then my agent called and said ‘You can go again’, so I went for the second audition, and I just tried to do it as clearly and as creatively and as honestly as I could, which is all you can ever do.

Q: When you audition for ‘Doctor Who’, do they give you a new script, or something that’s been out already?

A: They gave me ep one. At first it was just some sides, then it was the whole ep. And I read it, and I was of that barren age where it wasn’t on TV…

Q: The Dark Years, we call them.

A: Right. I mean, what were they doing? It’s ‘Doctor Who’, it’s the best thing ever. Anyway, I digress, I got the part, they told me, and then of course I couldn’t tell anyone for three months!

Q: So they told you, and you couldn’t tell anyone?

A: I told my mum, my dad and my granddad on Christmas Eve, and they were very excited, and I told my sister, and that was it.

Q: How excited are you to be the new Doctor?

A: Ah, man, I’m thrilled. I mean, to my mind it’s pretty much the best part in British televisual history. And what’s really truly incredible about it is that it’s not bound by space or time or genre or logic, so as an actor it sort of influences you, really…

Q: You can be Shakespearean one week, in the future the next, you can even be a different character. In the David Tennant years, and they were wonderful, sadly they’re over –

A: He was wonderful!

Q: And Christopher Eccleston was brilliant –

A: I loved Chris as well, yeah, I thought Chris was great.

Q: But there was one story strand where he completely forgot he was the Doctor.

A: Who? David did? In the show?

Q: Do you not watch the series?

A: Oh, you mean in the show, as a narrative structure –

Q: Not in real life! But you have infinite possibilities with this series.

A: Yeah, and I think it’s something that you probably realise more and more as the series goes on, and I think as the series evolves my Doctor becomes more assured, and develops. And of course there are infinite narratives and infinite multitudes of the character that you can explore. And this is the new sonic screwdriver!

Q: Did you practice with that at home?

A: I did. I tossed it a few times.

Q: You like that?

A: Yeah.

Q: So they gave it to you, to take away and make it your own thing?

A: Yeah, I think with anything dramatic, you have to take it away and sort of make it your own thing.

Q: Now the TARDIS is different as well, isn’t it?

A: It is, yeah. You’re gonna love that.

Q: How is it different?

A: Well, again I can’t give too much away. It’s bigger. It’s bigger on the inside than it was bigger on the inside before. It’s bigger.

Q: But the outside is still the same?

A: It’s still a police box. But there’s a different tint.

Q: That’s not the most exciting revelation I could have teased out of you.

A: It’s got levels. I’ll tell you that. It’s got different rooms, it’s got a pool and a library.

Q: Is there a hot tub in there for smoochy nights?

A: For some alone time with me and Amy, yes.

Q: So Amy is the new companion?

A: Yes, played by Karen Gillan.

Q: They’re gone for a ginger companion again.

A: Yes, a fiery red.

Q: Do you feel this is a proactive thing? Are they trying to welcome them back? Because a ginger person can get a hard time in the UK, so they’re saying ‘Look, the Doctor loves a red-haired person’…

A: Yeah, redheads are cool. Yeah, I mean you’ve seen her, she’s a 10.

Q: Sober 10 or drunk 10? So how many have you shot? Have you shot them all?

A: Yeah, we’ve shot thirteen. It takes up all your time, because the line-learning is extraordinary. So it’s strange now.

Q: You can relax a little bit.

A: Yeah.

Q: So this clip is from episode six?

A: Yes, it’s called ‘Vampires in Venice’. We shot it in Croatia, which doubles up rather superbly.

Q: So you film in Wales, but you also go off on location?

A: Yeah, we went to Puzzlewood, and we went to Stonehenge, which is rather glorious, we got to go in the middle of them.

Q: Were you at all tempted to carve your initials in there?

A: Absolutely. I wanted to climb on one of them, but they weren’t having any of it.

Q: And the bow tie, is that part of the costume?

A: It is. One thing I will say about this particular Doctor is that I think his costume will evolve. I’d quite like a hat.

Q: You should have a word with them.

A: I have had a word.

Q: Can you bring in your own things?

A: Yeah, I mean I brought in the tweed jacket and the braces, and then we put on the bow tie and it just sort of sat right.

Q: David was there for four years, I think the longest-serving Doctor was Tom Baker…

A: Seven years, wasn’t it?

Q: How long will you be in the role?

A: I hope to do at least another year, and ideally a couple more, we’ll see. It’s a wonderful part and I want to keep it. I’ve sort of got my teeth into it now.

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