Matt Smith has been named as the eleventh Doctor, replacing David Tennant in BBC One’s hit revival of Doctor Who.
At 26 Smith (pictured below) is the youngest actor ever to play the role. He has previously appeared in Alan Bennett’s play The History Boys and in BBC One’s adaptations of Phillip Pullman’s The Ruby in the Smoke and The Shadow in the North.
He also appeared as Danny in BBC Two’s political drama Party Animals, other TV roles include appearances in BBC One’s The Street and Billie Piper’s ITV series Secret Diary of a Call Girl.
The latest occupant of the Tardis said he felt “proud and honoured to have been given this opportunity to join a team of people that has worked so tirelessly to make the show so thrilling.”
Smith old grew up with his family including one sister in Northampton. He was head boy at Northampton School For Boys where he excelled at sports, music and drama. A back injury forced him to give up dreams of being a professional footballer and with the encouragement of one of his teachers he decided to join the National Youth Theatre.
His performance at the Court led to a variety of theatrical experiences at the National Theatre: in the award-winning History Boys (directed by Nick Hytner), On The Shore Of The Wide World (directed by Sarah Frankcom) and also in the acclaimed trio of plays Burn / Citizenship / Chatroom (directed by Anna Mackmin).
In 2007, Matt played Henry in Polly Stenham’s award-winning first play That Face, opposite Lindsay Duncan.
Today’s announcement, made in a special BBC One edition of Doctor Who Confidential, brings to an end months of speculation following Tennant’s announcement that he would leave the part after filming four specials for broadcast this year.
Paying tribute to the outgoing Tenth Doctor, Smith said: “David Tennant has made the role his own, brilliantly, with grace, talent and persistent dedication. I hope to learn from the standards set by him.”
The BBC yesterday said casting the new Doctor was “job number one to be completed” before scripts for the new series could be finalised and shooting could begin in the summer.
The fifth full series, to air in 2010, will be executive produced by Head Of Drama BBC Wales, Piers Wenger and Steven Moffat who replaces outgoing showrunner Russell T Davies.
Speaking today Moffatt said: “As soon as Matt walked through the door, and blew us away with a bold and brand new take on the Time Lord, we knew we had our man.”
Wenger commented: “It’s just the beginning of the journey for Matt but with Steven Moffat’s scripts and the expertise of the production team in Cardiff behind him, there is no one more perfect than him to be taking the TARDIS to exciting new futures when the series returns in 2010.”
Rumoured contenders for the part included Survivors star Paterson Joseph, James Nesbitt and Chiwetel Ejiofor. Tonight’s special edition of Doctor Who Confidential was also broadcast live on BBC Big Screens nationwide.