New Doctor Who will make our town proud

Actor Matt Smith is due to take a massive leap to international fame tonight when he becomes the new star of Doctor Who.

The 27-year-old is due to take on the part of The Doctor, when David Tennant's character dies at the end of his final episode, The End of Time, on BBC1 at 6.40pm tonight.

The young actor's family, who all live in Northampton, have said they are tremendously proud of their "little boy" and know he will do a good job as the new Doctor.

Speaking shortly after he was first revealed as the next Doctor, his mother, Lynne, said: "We're absolutely delighted, it's just amazing news and we're so proud.

"We know he's going to be amazing in the show."

The former Northampton School for Boys head boy will be the latest in a long line of noted actors to play the lead role in the show, which first hit television screens in 1963.

Other stars to appear as The Doctor include Tom Baker, John Pertwee and Christopher Eccleston.

After being given the part, the relatively unknown actor said he was flabbergasted and admitted taking on a character as iconic as Robin Hood or Sherlock Holmes was "nerve-wracking, but exciting".

The current Doctor, David Tennant, announced in October 2008 that he would stand down from the show at the end of this year.

But the man behind the show, producer Russel T Davies, was last night remaining coy on whether Tennant's regeneration scene would actually be seen tonight.

Speaking to the BBC yesterday, he said: "We put a lot of work into making it a big event because life needs big events. It's fun, no-one's dying really, no-one comes to any harm in this . . . it's a really joyous thing.

"People who are seven years old watching this will remember this when they're 70. I think that's a lovely thing.

"We're not giving anything away about how he regenerates, why he regenerates or even dare I say if he regenerates. We've got a few surprises coming up."