Childhood & Early Life
Matt Smith was born Matthew Robert Smith on October 28, 1982, in Northampton, Northamptonshire, England to Lynne and David Smith. He grew up in Northampton where he studied at the ‘Northampton School for Boys’.
A soccer enthusiast from an early age, Smith played for the youth teams of ‘Leicester City’, ‘Nottingham Forest’ and ‘Northampton Town’ and hoped to become a professional soccer player. However a severe back injury had him give up his plan.
After such setback his drama teacher practically pushed him into acting when the latter signed Smith without his approval in the play ‘Twelve Angry Men’ as the tenth juror. He performed in the play, although reluctantly.
During those days Smith who still viewed himself as a soccer player did not hold acting in high regards. However his drama teacher thrived in convincing him to thread the path of acting leading him to join the ‘National Youth Theatre’ in London.
He then started attending the ‘University of East Anglia’ where he studied drama and creative writing.
Meanwhile, he made his debut on-stage with ‘National Youth Theatre’ and performed in the play ‘Murder in the Cathedral’ (2003) as Thomas Becket and in ‘The Master and Margarita’ (2004) as Bassoon.
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He stepped into the world of professional acting portraying Arnold in the play ‘Fresh Kills’ staged at the Royal Court Theatre Upstairs.
Due to his professional acting endeavours, he sought an agreement with ‘University of East Anglia’ to allow him to complete his graduation without having to attend his final year lectures. He earned his graduation degree in 2005.
He landed up playing Paul Danzinger in Simon Stephens’s play ‘On the Shore of the Wide World’ directed by Sarah Frankcom. The play premiered at ‘Royal Exchange Theatre’, Manchester on April 18, 2005 and was transferred to the Cottesloe space of ‘Royal National Theatre’ in London on May 26 that year.
He went on to perform in other plays at the ‘Royal National Theatre’ which include ‘The History Boys’ during 2005-2006 and the teen play Burn/Chatroom/Citizenship in 2006.
While performing on-stage, he forayed into television essaying the role of Jim Taylor in TV film adaptation of the Philip Pullman novel, ‘The Ruby in the Smoke’, the first of the Sally Lockhart quartet books. The film produced by BBC was aired on December 27, 2006, on ‘BBC One’.
He landed up with his first significant role in TV as Danny Foster in the British drama series ‘Party Animals’ that aired on ‘BBC Two’ from January 31, 2007 to March 21, 2007. That year he also featured in the series ‘Secret Diary of a Call Girl’ and ‘The Street’.
His most remarkable on-stage performance probably remains playing Henry, an aspiring artist, in the two-act play, ‘That Face’ by English playwright Polly Stenham. The play premiered on April 26, 2007, at London’s ‘Royal Court Theatre’ under direction of Jeremy Herrin and on May 1, 2008, it was transferred to Duke of York's Theatre in the West End.
‘That Face’ received positive reviews from critics with its entire cast earning a Laurence Olivier Award for Outstanding Achievement in an Affiliate Theatre nomination in 2008. Smith’s brilliant performance earned him kudos from critics of ‘The Times’, ‘The Guardian’, ‘Daily Express’ and ‘Evening Standard’.
He made his West End debut with ‘Swimming with Sharks’, a stage adaptation of writer-director George Huang’s comedy-drama film bearing same title. The world premiere of the play where he portrayed Guy was held at the ‘Vaudeville Theatre’ in London in October 2007.
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Smith went on to reprise the role of Jim Taylor in another Sally Lockhart quartet book TV film adaptation ‘The Shadow in the North’ that aired on BBC1 on December 30, 2007.
He embarked into big-screen with the American black comedy crime flick ‘In Bruges’ in 2008, however his role was finally deleted. He was first seen in the 2009 short film ‘Together’ and moving on he featured in films like ‘Christopher and His Kind’ (2011), ‘Lost River’ (2014) and ‘Pride and Prejudice and Zombies’ (2016).
He played DS Dan Twentyman in the British crime drama TV series ‘Moses Jones’ that aired on BBC Two in February 2009.
Meanwhile, as David Tennant, who portrayed Tenth Doctor in the British science-fiction TV series ‘Doctor Who’ declared his departure from the series on October 29, 2008, Smith grabbed the role of the Eleventh Doctor in the series that till present remains his most remarkable and noteworthy portrayal.
He became the youngest actor to portray one of the incarnations of the Doctor, a feat that till such time was held by Peter Davison who played the Fifth Doctor.
He essayed the character of Eleventh doctor in 5th, 6th and 7th series of ‘Doctor Who’ as also in seven specials starting from January 1, 2010 to December 25, 2013.
His brilliant performance as Eleventh Doctor earned him accolades from both critics and fans thus soaring his fame and popularity and also made him the first actor in the series portraying as Doctor to earn the Best Actor nomination in the 2011 BAFTA TV Awards.
He reprised the role of the Doctor in ‘The Sarah Jane Adventures’ (2010), ‘An Adventure in Space and Time’ (2013) and ‘The Five(ish) Doctors Reboot’ (2013).
His carrying the Olympic torch in Cardiff on May 26, 2012, reminded the fans of a 2006 episode of ‘Doctor Who’ where the Doctor was seen carrying the torch.
He marked his debut as a director with ‘Cargese’, a short film that was broadcast in May 2013, on ‘Sky Arts’.
He played Patrick Bateman in the musical adaption of ‘American Psycho’ that premiered on-stage at the ‘Almeida Theatre’ in London in December 2013.
The 2015 American science fiction action blockbuster film ‘Terminator Genisys’ starring Arnold Schwarzenegger saw him playing an advanced T-5000 Terminator, Alex. He was credited in the film as Matthew Smith. That year he was named among 50 Best-Dressed British Men by ‘GQ’ magazine.
In 2016, he essayed the role of Maxim in the play ‘Unreachable’ that was staged at the ‘Royal Court Theatre’. Since November 4, 2016, he features as Philip Mountbatten, Duke of Edinburgh, in the biographical drama television series ‘The Crown’.
Smith also appeared in the starring role of Morgan in the Stefan Ruzowitzky directed forthcoming British-American fantasy-horror thriller flick ‘Patient Zero’.