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Matthew Robert Smith is a British actor best known for playing the lead role in the popular British science-fiction television series Doctor Who, produced by the BBC.
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British actor Matt Smith was born on October 28, 1982, in Northampton, Northamptonshire, England. He was a talented soccer player as a teenager and dreamed of life as a professional athlete. After a back injury, he went on to become a member of the National Youth Theatre. At age 26, he became the youngest actor to be cast as the lead in Britain's popular sci-fi TV series Doctor Who.
"I actually am genuinely upbeat [about Doctor Who], you know, if you weigh up the pros and the cons of the job, the pro list wins by a country mile."
Born in Northampton, Northamptonshire, England, on October 28, 1982, Matthew Robert Smith attended a state secondary school, Northampton School for Boys. He excelled early at sports, playing for youth football (soccer) teams Northampton Town F.C., Nottingham Forest F.C. and Leicester City F.C. Smith dreamed of playing professional football, but a serious back injury, spondylosis, curtailed that plan.
Smith's drama teacher suggested he play a role in a school production of Twelve Angry Men, sparking a love of acting. Smith eventually joined the National Youth Theatre in London, where his first roles on the stage included those in Murder in the Cathedral and The Master and Margarita. He went on to study drama and creative writing at the University of East Anglia.
Matt Smith's first professional stage roles included Fresh Kills and On the Shore of the Wide World, which transferred to the prestigious Royal National Theatre in London. He also appeared in Alan Bennett's acclaimed play The History Boys, and later made his debut in the West End in a production of Swimming With Sharks, starring Hollywood actor Christian Slater. He then starred in the critically acclaimed Polly Stenham play That Face at London's Royal Court Theatre and was nominated (with the rest of the cast) for a 2008 Laurence Olivier Award for Outstanding Achievement in an Affiliate Theatre. Smith also won the Evening Standard's "Best Newcomer" award.
His first television roles were in BBC adaptations of the Philip Pullman books The Ruby in the Smoke and The Shadow in the North, playing the character Jim Taylor, in 2006.
In 2008, at age 26, Smith became the youngest actor to be cast in the lead role of the Doctor in the popular British science-fiction television program Doctor Who. After an intense, three-week casting process, Smith's new role became big news in Britain, where the series has a near-cult following. Doctor Who, produced by the BBC and originally broadcast from 1963 to 1989, is a major part of British culture and is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the longest-running science-fiction television show in the world.
Smith has fit right in with the young, sought-after cast, and is often mobbed when traveling in England, the United States and other places around the world where the show has a rabid following. Asked by London's Telegraph newspaper in 2012 if his popularity ever gets tiresome, Smith said, "God, yes, it tires me out every day… but it's my job to be upbeat in front of you. I actually am genuinely upbeat [about Doctor Who], you know, if you weigh up the pros and the cons of the job, the pro list wins by a country mile."
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Travel back in time with the cast of Doctor Who, the long-running and incredibly popular British sci-fi series starring Matt Smith, Karren Gillan, Alex Kingston, Arthur Darvill, Christopher Eccleston and more. Explore our collection of Doctor Who cast members to learn more about the stars and the history of this acclaimed series.
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