10 Things You Never Knew About ‘Doctor Who’ Favorite Matt Smith

The brilliant Matt Smith returns this week in Last Night in Soho, a psychological horror movie directed by Edgar Wright (Hot Fuzz, Baby Driver). Ahead of its release Friday, we've done our research on the charismatic actor who played the Eleventh Doctor, portrayed Prince Philip in the first two seasons of The Crown, and will soon be seen in Game of Thrones prequel series House of the Dragon. Here are 10 things you might know about him.
1. He has described himself as "quite a bizarre child."
"I used to blink a lot. I was quite twitchy. But I was good at football, so that gave me something," he said during a 2018 interview on Desert Island Discs. "I think now I’d be diagnosed with ADHD or something, but, I was happy, you know, because I had great parents and great friends.”
2. Growing up, he wanted to be a professional footballer.
And Smith definitely had talent: as a teenager, he even became captain of Leicester City's youth team. However, his soccer career was thwarted before it could properly begin because of a debilitating back condition called spondylosis. "At school I was the footballer and suddenly I wasn’t that," Smith recalled on Desert Island Discs. "I just felt unfulfilled… I was so certain that that was what I was going to do.”
3. His idol is Oasis guitarist-turned-solo star Noel Gallagher.
Smith actually appears in Gallagher's recent video for "We're on Our Way."
4. He studied creative writing and drama at the University of East Anglia.
However, his acting career really took off during his final year when he landed a stage role at London's National Theatre. "They were really reluctant to let me go, so I said, ‘Look, I’m going,'" Smith told The Times. "I didn’t go to another lecture. I came back and did my exams and wrote all my poems and short stories in a week, then went back and did my play at the National. As long as I got a degree, that was all I needed."
5. He was nearly cast in cult British teen sitcom The Inbetweeners.
Co-creator Iain Morris told Digital Spy that Smith got "down to the final two" to star as Will Chandler, the geeky teenager eventually played by Simon Bird. Apparently Smith was considered "a bit too dashing" for the part, which is quite a nice reason to be turned down. 
6. He also came pretty close to starring in Merlin.
The show's co-creator Julian Murphy told Radio Times that Colin Morgan ultimately had the edge because he was a few years younger. "We just felt that he was too old – not that he wasn’t great," he said of Smith.
"I think there's a certain kind of actor who has the lightness and skill to play that sort of family drama, and I think both Colin Morgan and Matt Smith are that kind of actor," Murphy added. "It's a mercurial quality. And they're light on their feet. That’s the skill they had."
7. His sister appears in a very well known music video.
Specifically, the promo clip for Eric Prydz's huge 2004 club hit "Call on Me," which has been called "the sexiest music video of all time." Laura Jayne Smith appears prominently right from the start, wearing a pink top and a striped leotard. 
8. Being cast as the Doctor in 2009 was literally life-changing for him.
“Nothing can prepare you. Nothing. And literally overnight," he told The Observer in 2017. "As soon as it’s announced, five reporters turn up to your mum and dad’s house, with cameras. Overnight. They then go to your grandad’s house. They then approach every one of your best friends. It was that intrusive."
Explaining what he loved about playing the Doctor, Smith added: "He can do anything. He can go from A to Z. Like any other character you play, Prince Philip for instance, you have to go through at least D, F, G, P, before you get to Z. But the Doctor goes A to Z to B to Y, flips it up, and you don't have to explain that because he’s an alien who’s 1,000 years old: he’s seen more than you have, he's done more than you'd do. He’s seen so much tragedy that it's made him really funny."
9. He got some unusual advice from Prince William when he was cast as Prince Philip (his grandfather) on The Crown.
Smith shared the enjoyably awkward story during an appearance on The Graham Norton Show (during which, yes, he also did an impression of a breast pump).
10. And finally, he's no fan of social media.
“I’m not on Facebook, not on Twitter, not on Instagram,” Smith told The Observer. “I just don’t really care. I don’t care where you are. I don’t care what you’re doing. I don’t really expect you to be interested in where I am or what I’m doing. Also, I don’t really want you to know where I am or what I’m doing.That is probably a reaction to Doctor Who if I’m honest, in some way. But it’s one that I’m quite pleased that I had.”
Have we missed out something interesting about Matt Smith?