Mr Jerry Hardingham "sir" was 11th Doctor Who Matt Smith’s drama teacher at Northampton School for Boys – and always believed he was destined for the stage.
So much so that he tricked the young Smith into acting – and is now taking credit as the man who launched his slow rise to fame. And I suppose by extension he is responsible for the unveiling of a little known actor on a Saturday evening on BBC One beating the live FA Cup coverage on ITV in the ratings.
Mr Hardingham "sir" is now a drama teacher at West Somerset Community College in Minehead. He recalls:
“We had a new theatre opening, and the production of 12 Angry Men was a big opportunity for Matt, but he didn’t turn up for the auditions. I rang his mum who told me he was on holiday, so I told her he was doing this part in the play – no discussion.
“I persuaded him to go into the National Youth Theatre because I saw raw talent and he got the lead role in The Cathedral. The play was acted out at Westminster Cathedral before an audience of Royals and dignitaries.
So well done "sir" – you’ll go down in Doctor Who encyclopedias for that!
Seriously though, for someone who has known and taught Smith, influenced his ability and skill, you must have some idea of how good he will be? What do you think, Mr Hardingham "sir"?
“I know he will be fantastic as Doctor Who because Matt is so versatile. The producers know what they want and he will give it to them. I am chuffed to bits for him."
Quite right too!