Matt Smith & David Tennant On The 50th Anniversary Doctor Who Special

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Here’s a brief interview from our friends at the BBCA  with Doctor Who star Matt Smith. When you are done, don’t forget to go to http://www.thegalabout.com to read an interview with 10th Doctor David Tennant!

Stepping back on to the TARDIS for his penultimate ride, Matt Smith takes on the role of the Doctor in his greatest adventure yet.  Here he talks about being part of the epic 50th adventure.

What is it like starring in the 50th anniversary special, one of the biggest years for the show?

It’s a thrill to be in the 50th anniversary. I feel very proud to be part of it and it’s a credit to everyone who started the show back in the 60s that it’s come this far. It’s a great format and a great idea.

‘The Day of the Doctor’ marks the return of David Tennant and Billie Piper, and we get the revelation of John Hurt’s Doctor.  What was it like working alongside them all?

It was a joy to work with David, Billie and John Hurt. I’ve worked with Billie before and I’d obviously seen all of David’s work, especially as the Doctor.  He’s a brilliant actor and a brilliant Doctor. It’s quite strange, I always sort of get that surreal thing of looking and David and thinking, ‘Oh my God, there’s Doctor Who’. And John is acting royalty. Another wonderful Doctor and again, a good guy. 

I think looking back over my tenure on this show one of the great privileges has been the quality of actors that you get to work with. 

Was there any kind of competitiveness between the different Doctors and companions?

No we’re not competitive, I mean there’s a funny bit in the script between the 10th and 11th Doctors comparing Sonics, so there’s competitiveness in the story, but not off screen.   We just had a laugh and it was exciting to see David back in the pin striped suit and the Converse. John only has to move his eyes and he flaws you and Billie’s, Billie. I adore Billie, so we had a great time.

Were there any moments when you were standing on the floor waiting for action to be called and thinking ‘Oh my goodness, I’m actually doing this’?

Of course, there’s always those moments in Doctor Who when you’re going, ‘Wow we’re doing Doctor Who and there’s David Tennant over there and John Hurt over there and Billie over there and there’s a Redgrave over there’. There are a lot of those moments when you make this show. But I think the wonderful thing was there was great down time. I just enjoyed spending time with David and obviously for me as well as I am about to leave the show, it was really interesting to talk to him about that experience and his experience on the show, because it is a very individual experience playing the Doctor. It was quite nice to go, ‘What was that bit like for you?’ and it was just sort of enlightening really.

Moving on to stunts, some pictures have been published of you hanging from a TARDIS in front of crowds in Trafalgar Square.  What was that like and did you need to be convinced to go up there?

I was hoisted up over 90 feet, double Nelson’s Column, hanging on a wire under the TARDIS.  They used the biggest crane I think they had ever brought to Trafalgar Square.  I really had to persuade them to let me go up, but I had the most wonderful view of London.  It was raining and really windy, but I loved it and would do it again.  It was one of the rare brilliant opportunities that you only get with Who.

As well as being shown on BBC One, ‘The Day of the Doctor’ will be available in 3D to those with a 3D TV and in some cinemas.  What was it like filming in 3D?

The rigs for the cameras are much heavier and poor Joe, who is our wonderful cameraman, had a very tough time of it.  It was like having a 6-year-old or 7-year-old child on your shoulder all day.  There’s just a lot more time, the technical process of filming everything is more laborious. 

But also there are a lot of plusses and I’m really excited to see how Doctor Who lends itself to it, because I think as a show and a format it really suits the idea of being shot in 3D.  I think it’s good for a show like Doctor Who to be at the forefront of technology and that’s what we’ve always been.

It’s always been at the front of the advancement in film and even with the wobbly sets, at least they were trying and I think it’s a good step forward. It’s an evolution.

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Last seen in his pin stripe suit and Converse trainers in 2010, David Tennant returns as the Tenth Doctor in the 50th anniversary special.  Here he talks about rivalry between the Doctors and coming back to the show.

 

What is it like being part of the 50th in one of the biggest years for the show?

 

It’s very exciting to be around for the big celebration episode. I think since I left the expectation had been that I’d end up in this special, because there is a precedent for old Doctors coming back for a visit around the anniversary time.  I was thrilled because it’s a huge thing for Doctor Who and it’s a huge thing for television in general. So few shows run beyond a few series and 50 years’ worth is quite a legacy, so I’m very honored to be part of that.

 

What is it like working with Matt and Jenna, was there any rivalry or competitiveness between the two sets of Doctors and companions?

 

It’s funny, I think people almost expected Matt and me to be competitive, but we’ve really enjoyed it. I guess when you‘ve played a character for a long time you kind of feel like you know how they’ll react in most situations. It’s delicious to be handed a situation that’s completely new and a character meeting a version of himself is not something that you come across in a lot of drama.  So to get to play that with someone as talented and as quick and brilliant as Matt is nothing short of jolly good fun.

 

You’ve probably seen some of the previous anniversary specials, but how do you think this one compares to them?

 

It’s very hard to be objective about something you’re in, especially when you set it up against things that you experienced as a child.  But I certainly remember when ‘The Five Doctors ‘was on, it was electrically exciting.That was of course in the day when we didn’t even have a video player. You couldn’t revisit things, so the chance to see old Doctors that I had never seen on television at all, acting with the current was fantastic. I hope that this will have some of that buzz for today’s generation.

 

Do you still watch Doctor Who?

 

Of course, I watch it every time it’s on along with the rest of the nation.

 

How did you find filming in 3D compared to 2D?

 

Our job as actors remains the same really, but you’re aware that there’s a whole extra layer of technical stuff that has to be dealt with and the cameras are bigger.  We shot a lot on this hand held camera, which was quite trying for Joe our intrepid camera operator who has this enormous thing that he has to lug around and navigate around the set; he did it brilliantly. But it causes some headaches for the camera teams and for the post production side of making it.  We’re not doing too much novelty weaving into the lens for the 3D effect, but it gives it an extra zing.

 

What was it like working with Billie again?

 

It’s always lovely to see Billie and to be on set with her is a particular joy. She’s one of my favorite actresses and one of my favorite people, so I was very happy to be in the same room as Billie.

 

Where will you be watching the episode?

 

Wherever I am in the world and whatever I’m doing, I’m sure I will make time for the Doctor Who 50thanniversary special.

 

During filming did you ever have a pinch yourself moments thinking, ‘God I’m back’ or anything like that?

 

I think the thing with filming Doctor Who is that there is so much excitement around it and there’s so much enthusiasm for it that often the lead up to getting here is more of a delight then shooting it. Because once you’re on set there’s a script and there’s lines and you’ve got to get the scene shot and they’re the pressures that filming always has.   Really, you’re just trying to film the scenes the best you possibly can, so you sort of put aside the idea that you’re making something that is a moment in television history. The pressure of that would sort of paralyze you really.

 

 

 

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