Northampton actor tipped as favourite for Doctor Who role

A former Northampton schoolboy has emerged as the favourite to be named the new Dr Who this evening.

The new Doctor Who to replace David Tennant will be announced at 5.35pm on BBC1 and at the same time be simulcast on the corporation's big outdoor screens in city centres across the UK.

Actors from Chiwetel Ejiofor and Paterson Joseph to Catherine Tate and John Simm have been in the frame but last night a new name was emerging as a firm favourite.

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Northampton actor Matt Smith was reduced to 5/2 on with having apparently come from nowhere in the betting stakes fuelled by speculation the role will be given to a relatively unknown actor.

A former head boy at Northampton School for Boys, Matt, 25, has developed a growing reputation after his stage and television performances and has even appeared alongside Doctor Who regular, Billie Piper.

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Last night his family were remaining tight-lipped, but there are many who would want him to see him achieve such success.

Editor of Image Magazine, Ruth Supple, has been writing about Matt for more than 10 years.

"He is an absolutely lovely chap, I really do hope it is him – he deserves it, he is a real gentleman," she said.

Matt was featured in the October edition of Vogue magazine as one of the top 10 actors to look out for.

"He is very handsome and trendy and I can imagine him making a great Doctor. He is a very versatile actor and is very much in the up and coming crowd," she added.

Matt was destined for a career in football in his early teens and had been signed on by Leicester City.

Speaking to the Chron's Term-time publication last year, the former head of expressive arts at NSB, Jerry Hardingham, explained how a serious back injury forced him to rethink.

"His back injury dashed any hopes of a professional career," he said.

"Being aware of this we encouraged him to get involved in drama. Matt is one of the only students that we have ever had to persuade to believe he could be an actor and to PLEASE consider it as a career.

"He was so self-effacing 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 very popular with his peers right from the outset.

"He inspired those around him, who in turn inspired others," he added.

Since leaving school he has appeared in numerous television dramas and stage productions, most recently appearing in the West End in That Face. He played a challenging role of a teenager with an unhealthy addiction to his mother.

He certainly has the talent to be the new doctor and all will be revealed tonight in a special edition of Doctor Who Confidential, to be aired on BBC One at 5.35pm.