There were plenty of big names bandied about to replace David Tennant after stepped out of role of the Doctor on Doctor Who, from David Morrissey, James Nesbitt and Robert Carlyle to former companions Billie Piper and Catherine Tate. How many of them were actually in contention is hard to say, but the role of the Eleventh Doctor went to a relative newcomer, Matt Smith. The charming star, who is best known for the BBC series Party Animals, is the youngest (he's 27) actor to ever play the highly coveted role. We got a chance to catch up with Smith during his recent trip to New York to find out all about what it was like to land this part and why his version of the Doctor is completely bonkers.
TWoP: So I had a chance to watch the premiere...
Matt Smith: Did you enjoy it?
TWoP: I did! It was sort of more fun than I expected.
TWoP: Yeah, the previous few episodes have been dark. I appreciated the crying and all, but watching your premiere, I was like, "Oh, this is the fun show that I always loved."
Smith: Doctor Who, an adventure, right?
TWoP: So is that all because of you?
Smith: Oh, I mean. I think we're very lucky in that we have the great genius, Steven Moffat. He's the real engine and creative mind of it all.
TWoP: He's given me nightmares from those weeping angels, which I understand are returning.
Smith: They're back. It's a great episode that week. They're worse! What's incredible about that is, it's all based on a game we have in England called Grandma's Footsteps. If you're at school, or something, you have the whole of the school behind you, and you're the grandma. And you have to turn around. When you turn around, they have to stop, and when you're turned around, they can move, and they have to tag you on the back.
TWoP: We have the similar thing called Red Light, Green Light.
Smith: Yeah, I guess it's like that. It's his clever old mind. But yeah, I think there's a real sense of adventure to the series. And a real sense of magic, most importantly.
TWoP: So, how is it to be the new Doctor? Not many people get to have that on their resume.
Smith: No, I know. It's like "Hamlet - Hamlet"; "Doctor Who - The Doctor." It's one of the great parts, if not the best part in British television. Of course, I mean -- you know the show, I don't have to explain it to you -- it's about a time traveler. And a mad time traveler at that! You know, and you're not really bound by anything, in script terms, by logic or reason or anything like that, and I think that extends to the acting. And I think it's one of the great virtues of being in the show: that as an actor, it's pretty infinite. I feel very privileged to be playing it, absolutely. It gives me a great sense of humility, I suppose.