Steven mentioned the fez to Piers [Wenger] and I before he even wrote it. He said, "I’m thinking of putting Matt in a fez in episode 13." And of course both Piers' and my jaws hit the floor and went “A fez? You’re kidding me, you’re going to put Matt in a fez? If we put Matt in a fez, Matt will never take the fez off. He will want to wear the fez for the whole of the next series. It will be glued to his head. He’ll be wearing it, you know, with his own clothes. It will be a nightmare.” And he said, “No no, I’ve got a cunning plan; as soon as he’s got the fez I’m going to kill the fez.”—Beth Willis, Doctor Who producer
Hello, I'm Matt Smith, and I'm wearing a fez!—Matt Smith, introducing Doctor Who Confidential
Matt Smith is a British actor, born October 28th 1982, in The Midlands (Northampton to be precise). He aimed to be a professional footballer, but a back injury put an end to that, and he went into acting instead.
Matt appeared in the National Theatre production of The History Boys, which was also made into a film, but not with him in. On TV, he appeared as Jim Taylor in two adaptations of Philip Pullman's Sally Lockhart novels, alongside Billie Piper in the title role. He also appeared alongside her in Secret Diary of a Call Girl, which should make for some... interesting fanvids in the years to come.
However, "Matt Smith (XI)", as he's listed on IMDb, has now been catapulted into the UK national consciousness, and is set to acquire more fangirls than you can count: on January 3rd 2009, the BBC announced that he would be succeeding David Tennant's wildly popular Tenth Doctor when Tennant left Doctor Who in the 2009 specials. Aged 26 when cast, he is the youngest person to ever play the Doctor. It's rather appropriate that IMDB attaches the Roman numeral for 11 onto his name, given he's the Eleventh Doctor.
Naturally, this is the fourth time where he's appeared on a show or TV special that Billie Piper has been on (although she won't be alongside him this time).
Shortly after the announcement, he was seen in the BBC 2 three-part drama Moses Jones, a murder mystery set in London's Ugandan community, as DS Dan Twentyman.
Like Peter Davison, he's succeeding a beloved, loud, eccentric, and unbelievably popular Doctor, and is the youngest Doctor at the time of his entry onto the series. He's doing spectacularly well at it as well.
Extremely clumsy, as Moffat has related - just as Moffat was proposing to Piers Wenger (fellow executive producer) to run a book on how long Smith would take to break the sonic screwdriver prop, the prop man walked past...
Not much of a fan to begin with (both he and Karen Gillan grew up in the period between 1989 and 2005 when the show was off the air), he started watching the old stories and became a big fan of Patrick Troughton. (He called up Steven Moffat in the middle of the night to spend twenty minutes raving about The Tomb of the Cybermen. Then asked for a bow tie.) To get a feel for his character, he wrote Fan Fiction with the Doctor meeting Albert Einstein.
He has the same name as a presenter on ITV's football coverage, and over sixty cast and crew members (including eleven actors) according to IMDb.
Not well-known for his musical skills, he is nevertheless an accomplished keyboardist -- and was, for one brief, shining moment, the third member of Orbital, actually playing the Doctor Who theme live at Glastonbury.
The more you get to know him, the more you get the feeling he has to tone it down to play The Doctor.
Tropes commonly associated with Doctor Eleven, err Matt Smith, or even applicable to him in Real Life:
- Fan Service: There's more where this came from.
- The Klutz: According to Steven Moffat. There was a running bet on how long it would take for Matt to break the sonic screwdriver. See the Quotes page for more.
- While filming "Let's Kill Hitler," to avoid getting it dirty, Matt took off his tuxedo jacket and put it on a table...into a glass of grape juice.
- This has become so well-known amongst his fans that when the news broke that he was going to be carrying the Olympic torch in Cardiff, the (affectionate) response was "Goodbye, Cardiff. You'll rebuild."
- Lantern Jaw of Justice: To quote the Doctor, "Blimey!"
- This was worked into the show as well, claiming that the Doctor was the inspiration for the moai.
- The Midlands
- Vitriolic Best Buds: He and Karen Gillan like to tease each other, and during Doctor Who Confidential, he's often seen pestering her, mimicking her Scottish accent, and sometimes chasing her around with a badger puppet. However, it's very obvious that they both care deeply for each other, and are very close friends. (This has actually been said about all four cast members on the show.)
- The Wonka: Before he was cast as the Eleventh Doctor, Smith tried out for the role of Dr. John Watson in Sherlock. Moffat rejected him for being too 'barmy'.