Matt Smith was an aspiring youth footballer before a back injury in 2003 forced him to reconsider and he left his hometown of Northampton to study drama and creative writing at the University of East Anglia. He turned professional in his third year as the result of an outstanding performance in the National Youth Theatre production of The Master and Margarita. Smith's first television role came in 2006, as Jim Taylor in the BBC adaptations of Phillip Pullman's The Ruby in the Smoke. His first major role in television followed a year later, playing Danny in the BBC series Party Animals. 2007 also saw him debut in the West End, starring in Fresh Kills the stage adaptation of Swimming with Sharks alongside Christian Slater. Smith followed this with a critically acclaimed performance as Henry in That Face. But Smith's biggest break was to be cast as the eleventh incarnation of the Doctor in the BBC hit television series Doctor Who, first appearing in part two of The End of Time on 1 January 2010. Smith is now the youngest person to play the Doctor ahead of Peter Davison who was 29 when he played the role. Replacing David Tennant was no mean feat for a relatively unknown actor like Smith but he rose to the challenge and rave reviews have followed.