Now well into this third season playing the iconic title role in “Doctor Who,” Matt Smith admits that his character has changed in many ways, and just a small part of it is simply from aging.
For the first time, his Doctor will have to say good-bye to his primary companions and welcome someone new at his side. But then again, audiences are used to change by now, and Smith is starting to understand it better as well.
“The show will leave you behind if you don’t change with it,” Smith told Airlock Alpha and The Point Radio/Cox Media during San Diego Comic-Con in July. “The show is about change. Doctors come and go. Companions come and go. That’s how it’s been, and that’s how it will continue to be.”
Karen Gillan and Arthur Darvill have now become the longest serving full-time companions in modern “Doctor Who” history as they work their way into the third season. Billie Piper’s Rose Tyler was the only other long-running companion who worked alongside the Doctor for the first two seasons of the revived series, while Freema Agyeman and Catherine Tate had only single seasons with David Tennant.
When Smith and Gillan first took over following the departure of Tennant, Smith said he didn’t even realize how intense things were around the franchise.
“It’s always a gut-wrenching thing, having been through that experience,” Smith said. It was a “very highly pressurized experience. And people didn’t know if it was going to work.”
Yet, Smith and Gillan were able to “hold hands creatively,” and found ways to develop a strong bond in front of the camera. And at the same time, Gillan’s and Darvill’s character (along with Alex Kingston’s River Song) have helped The Doctor evolve as well, even in that stressful environment of trying to continue the 49-year-old torch.
“You have got to battle through those moments,” Smith said. “I Just had to stay true to my instincts the whole time.”
“Doctor Who” has just begun its seventh season, the third involving Smith, Gillan and Darvill. It airs Saturdays on BBC and BBC America.
San Diego Comic-Con coverage on Airlock Alpha is brought to you exclusively by Roddenberry.com.
To see video of Matt Smith sharing these comments at Comic-Con, click here.