As aspiring youth footballer before injury forced him to reconsider his career, Smith left his hometown of Northampton at the age of 18 to study drama and creative writing at the University of East Anglia.
An outstanding performance in the National Youth Theatre production of The Master and Margarita in 2003 brought him to the attention of an agent and earned him his first professional acting jobs, and his first television appearance came in 2006, in the BBC adaptation of Phillip Pullman's The Ruby in the Smoke.
His first major role followed a year later, and 2007 also saw him debut in London's West End, starring in Fresh Kills, which he followed with a critically acclaimed performance as Henry in That Face. But Smith's biggest break came when he was cast in Doctor Who, first appearing in the show on 1 January 2010.
Replacing the much-loved David Tennant was no mean feat for a relatively unknown actor like Matt Smith but he has risen to the challenge and received rave reviews from critics and viewers alike.
This is the inside story of the Doctor and the rapid rise of the man behind the latest incarnation of the famous Time Lord.