|Former Northampton School for Boys' student
Matt Smith lands one of the highest profile
acting jobs in British Television.
He will be the eleventh and youngest actor to play
the lead character of Dr Who in the series that
has been running since 1963. The new series will
be launched on television this Easter 2010.
Name: Matthew Robert Smith
Date of Birth: 28/10/1982
Matt grew up with his family, including one sister, in Northampton. He attended NSB from 1996-2001 and was Head Boy at NSB and a football captain. He planned on being a professional footballer having played for both Leicester City and Nottingham Forest youth academies. Football is a passion in his family with his father being a centre-back and his grand father playing as a striker for Notts County. At sixteen Matt got a serious back injury and his football career dreams were curtailed.
"Football was everything. You think it's the one thing to do in your life... But it's like anything...it's not the disappointment, it's how you react to it." "There are great disciplines from being a sports man that you can transfer into being an artist. The preparation, the sacrifice, the constant desire to improve."
His Drama teacher Jerry Hardingham introduced him to acting by surreptitiously signing him up as the tenth juror in an adaptation of 'Twelve Angry Men'.
Matt Smith as Thomas Becket
in 'Murder in the Cathedral'
"My Drama teacher encouraged me to go into acting. I knew I enjoyed drama but it wasn't until I had performed in school productions that it became my passion. He took a chance on me and gave me lots of opportunities and guidance." Matt Smith
"Matt is one of the only students that we have ever had to persuade to believe he could be an actor and that he should consider it as a career.
"He was always so self effacing that he was not sure if he would be good enough. His success is no surprise to those who worked with him at NSB.
"Matt was always a likeable lad and popular with his peers right from the outset. Football was his big love; he was on the books for Leicester City and heading for a bright future in the game when he got a serious back injury which dashed any hopes of a professional career.
"Being aware of this we encouraged him to get involved in Drama, where he had shown some raw potential in his lively GCSE drama group which famously overloaded the lights in the old drama studio during their last lesson setting them on fire with three fire engines attending!
"He inspired those around him, who in turn inspired others."
Former NSB Teacher Jerry Hardingham
Mr Hardingham put him forward for a Drama festival which Matt did not attend. His Drama teacher eventually persuaded him to join the National Youth Theatre in London."Mr Hardingham had a significant impact in my life. He kept pushing me and he got me the forms to apply for the National Youth Theatre. I started going to London and spending the summer doing plays with them." Matt Smith
Matt Smith was also taught drama, by NSB teacher and long standing Dr Who fan, Matt Evans:
"I feel quite privileged and quite proudů To have taught him Drama and for him to now go on and play a character I've admired for the best part of thirty years is an outstanding achievement.
Matt is a loveable rogue. He was someone who was incredibly versatile and what he does on stage is very much an extension of himself. You bring yourself to the role, you don't act Dr Who, you are Dr Who."
Matt was captain of the football team I coached for five years. As well as being one of the best players I have worked with Matt was an inspiration to every member of the squad, both in terms of his skill level and how he coped with his injury. He was the first to training to get warmed up, would always have a positive word to say about each of his team-mates, even when they were not reaching his exacting standards, and would be the last to leave, always helping with the kit.
He took these qualities into his acting, producing the same level of performances in rehearsal as he did on the stage.
I had the pleasure to see this first hand as I was in the same Pirates of Penzance show with him. He was, rightly so, the star of the show!
I have no doubt that he will make a fantastic Dr Who and will be remembered for years to come.
Football's loss was definitely show-businesses gain.
Pictures - Pirates of Penzance
"My abiding memory of Matt is that he had a very cheerful, winning personality.
When younger he could be quite cheeky, but always with humour and no offense could be taken at his sense of fun.
I was impressed by his performance as one of the jurors in 'Twelve Angry Men.'
Even more outstanding was his role as Thomas Becket in T.S. Elliot's 'Murder in the Cathedral' both at NSB and perhaps with even more prestige at Westminster Cathedral."
Mr Terry Raybould
Teacher, Governor and artist at NSB
'Matt was a live wire in his study of drama. Always keen to imbue aspects of his own character in the parts that he played.
He could always be relied upon to lift the group when the quality sagged and it often did. Matt enjoyed my drama teaching so much that he went on to study A level Psychology with me - yes that good.
He was always keen to please. Matt worked hard and was always able to mask errors by talking his way out of situations that he shouldn't have been in - just like the Doctor I guess!'
Y12 Team Leader
Matt at school before the Sixth form was a likeable lad who lived for his football and it was a great blow to him when he had to give it up.
He was one for living life and he really threw himself into school life.
I had the pleasure of acting with him on a number of occasions. I still like to remind him that I tried to give him direction on stage! He was always a real character around the stage and dressing rooms but even from the start brought a commitment and intensity to all that he did. Of course this would not preclude him from having a laugh with the staff and other students and my abiding memory of him on these occasions was his joy at being involved.
The decision he took to study drama was of course one which Jerry Hardingham was most involved with but Matt and I had heart to hearts on a number of occasions about it and I am glad to say I advised him to go for it... seems like we got that one right!
What I like about Matt is that despite his hectic lifestyle as the new Doctor he still has time for those he knew before. My wife and I along with Pete and Sue Dewsnap have seen him on a number of occasions in the West End and he has never failed to come out after the show to chat, he even introduces us to his famous co stars! He usually manages a wave or nod at the curtain calls. He'll even stop to chat on the phone in the middle of filming although getting through to him these days can be difficult.
I am proud to know Matt and am glad that I had at least a little influence upon him. I cannot wait to see what his Doctor will be like.
|"Northampton School for Boys was a great school and if it wasn't for my old teacher Mr Hardingham I may never have become an actor."
Whether or not he is NSB's most famous former pupil is open to debate though. Nobel prize winner, Sir Francis Crick, who discovered DNA, was also an ex pupil.
"Crick absolutely beats me to that honour as his discovery changed the course of history."
"I think it's a testament to his parents, his education
and all the people around him who have supported his career up to now."
Northampton Councillor Davis Palethorpe
After leaving school Matt with nine GCSE's and three A levels he studied drama at the University of East Anglia and graduated with a degree in Drama from the school of Literature and Creative Writing in 2005.
Matt Smith - Arts Celebration Awards Evening 2008
|List of theatrical achievements and roles played:|
|Northampton School for Boys
Head Boy - Senior Prefect
Murder in the Cathedral - Thomas Becket
Pirates of Penzance - Pirate King
Venetian Twins - Zanetto/Tonino
Awards Evening 1997 - Half Colours Football
Awards Evening 2000 - Gave vote of thanks
Awards Evening 2001 - The Sir Bruce Liddington Award
Arts Celebration and Awards Evening 2008 - Guest of Honour
West Side Story
|Film and Television:|
2006 The Ruby in the Smoke - Jim Taylor
2007 Party Animals - Danny Foster
2007 In Bruges - Young Harry (deleted scenes)
2007 Secret Diary of a Call Girl - Tim
2007 The Street - Ian Hanley
2007 The Shadow in the North - Jim Taylor
2009 Moses Jones - DS Dan Twentyman
2010 Together - Rob
2010 Womb - Thomas
2010 Doctor Who - The Doctor
2003 Murder in the Cathedral - Thomas Becket
2004 The Master and the Margarita - Basoon
2004 Fresh Kills - Arnold
2005 On the Shore of the Wide World - Paul Danzinger
2005-2006 The History Boys - Lockwood
2006 Burn/Chatroom/Citizenship - Tom/William/Gary
2007 That Face - Henry
2007-2008 Swimming With Sharks - Guy
2008 That Face - Henry
The play was transferred to the Duke of York's theatre in the West End in 2008. The entire cast was nominated for the 2008 Laurence Olivier Award for Outstanding Achievement in an Affiliate Theatre and Smith won the Evening Standard's Award for 'Best Newcomer' and Matt's performance drew great critical acclaim.
He was featured in the October 2008 Vogue as one of the top 10 actors to look out for.
Chronicle and Echo
Quotes from staff members
>>Doctor Who comes back to School<<
>>Ex-NSB student Matt Smith is new Dr Who!<<