New title character. New supporting actress. New lead writer.
It’s a new era for BBC’s “Doctor Who” and another opportunity for the sci-fi series, which began in 1963, to prove its adaptability and resilience. The season premieres this Saturday at 9 p.m.
Matt Smith — the youngest actor to play “doctor” — is up for the challenge. Between compliments to Karen Gillan, who his latest time-traveling companion, and lead writer Steven Moffat, English-born Smith shares his story with amNewYork:
What’s unique about this doctor as compared to the 10 previous ones?
Well, he wears a bow tie. That’s different. I think he’s quite mad and I think he’s quite bonkers. … I think he’s definitely clumsy. He’s probably the first clumsy doctor.
And his new companion, Amy Pond?
Feisty, sexy, funny. She’s wonderful. Me and Karen sort of get on so well as well, which is great. … [The doctor and Amy] have got some wonderful adventures together, they really do. And they’re kind of as mad as each other. They feed off each other’s madness.
What’s the difference between sci-fi fans in the U.K. and those in the U.S.?
I don’t know. I just have to meet some. What I will say is I’ve met a load of lovely people on the street in New York who have been fans of the show. … They’ve been really nice and really encouraging. And really welcoming, actually. I’ve got to say, Thank you to the people of New York.
What’s the secret to making sci-fan cool instead of nerdy?
[Laughs] I think it always has to be for nerds, but nerds are cool. So that to me is the secret.
What does it say about society that the doctors and his companions keep getting younger and prettier?
Does it mean that society’s getting younger and prettier? That's assuming I’m one of the youngest and prettiest, which I’m not sure I am.
We’re saying you are.
That’s very sweet of you. Here’s the thing, the doctor’s 900 years old, so there’s never going to be anyone who can come close to playing him that’s of actual age. I think it’s just about the right moment at the right time.
Why should New Yorkers stay in on Saturday nights to watch you?
Wow. They should stay in and watch “Doctor Who” on BBC America because it is not bound by logic or space or type or genre. There is no adventure too far. There is no adventure too big.
Can we at least drink while we watch it?
Why the hell not? Have a cocktail and a Hershey bar or something.