Best Matt Smith performances

Matt Smith is soon to be one of the central characters in HBO’s long-awaited Game of Thrones prequel, House of the Dragon. But while we still may have more time to wait to see Smith’s performance (beyond a few trailers) as Daemon Targaryen and whether it will make it into the best HBO shows of all time, he has as an actor been delivering fantastic performances for many years on both the big and the small screen. So we have plenty of material to work with when creating a ranked list of his best performances.

Of course, like so many people who have been in the show, Matt Smith will be known to many across the globe for his association with Doctor Who, having played the Eleventh incarnation of the Timelord between 2010 and 2014. Indeed he has been involved in some of the best Doctor Who episodes in the modern era. But with some fantastic credits on TV and in the movies before, during and after that tenure in the TARDIS, is’s time for us to take a look at the best Matt Smith performances overall.

So let us go on a trip down memory lane as we look at some of the best performances by Matt Smith.

Matt Smith in House of the Dragon

Matt Smith’s best performances ranked

7. Official Secrets

This 2019 film stars Keira Knightley opposite Matt Smith and is based on the story of whistleblower Katharine Gun who leaked a memo about Anglo-American plans to spy on certain diplomats from a number of United Nations members. Smith plays Martin Bright, an Observer journalist who investigates the story in this thrilling story with twists and turns every step of the way. 

6. Party Animals

This 2007 political drama series was the first major television role for Matt Smith, three years before he would be cast as the Eleventh Doctor on BBCs most famous of sci-fi shows. The show focusses on what goes on in the corridors of power in the United Kingdom parliament, from lobbyists and researchers to the MPS and law makers of the nation. Matt Smith played Labour Party researcher Danny Foster in the show opposite Andrew Buchan of Broadchurch fame, who played his older brother, Scott, in the series. 

5. Christopher and his kind

This 2011 film sees Smith take the lead role of Christopher Isherwood, a young and innocent man whose life is changed profoundly after visiting his friend and lover WH Auden in 1930s Berlin. The city, filled with decadent cabaret, a thriving gay scene and freedom of expression, is quite the opposite of what Christopher has been used to in his reserved life in England. But when heartbreak happens, this film turns into a journey of discovery on a new level. 

4. Lost River

Written and directed by Ryan Gosling in his directorial debut, Lost River is an American fantasy thriller released in 2014. The film was one of the first projects after leaving the role of the Doctor on television and therefore attracted a lot of attention, especially from the UK audience.  Matt Smith won acclaim for his captivating performance as Bully in this movie which had a strong cast including Christina Hendricks, Saoirse Ronan and Eva Mendes. 

3. Bert & Dickie

Produced to coincide with the London 2012 Olympic Games which captured the imagination of a nation, this show is an engaging drama that celebrates an unlikely Olympic duo who came together to row for gold in the double skulls just weeks before the 1948 event. Based on the story of Dickie Burnell and Bert Bushnell’s achievement, this drama received critical and public acclaim, as did Matt Smith’s performance opposite Sam Hoare in the title role.

2. Doctor Who

Matt Smith is one of the most popular actors to have played the famous Timelord in the modern era, having held the role between 2010 and 2014 as the Eleventh incarnation of the lead character. His high energy eccentric and excitable performance as the Doctor opposite companions Amy and Rory (played by Karen Gillan and Arthur Darvill) saw him win many fans in the role, especially among the younger sections of the audience, many who were discovering the show for the first time.

The Crown Season 1

1.The Crown

Matt Smith was one of the standout stars of the first two series of The Crown, Netflix’s big budget dramatisation of the reign of Queen Elizabeth II. Playing the Duke of Edinburgh opposite Claire Foy’s Queen, Smith showed a whole new range to his acting prowess with a strong performance that commanded the screen. It’s never easy to play characters inspired by real life, and Smith did an excellent job of making the character his own at the heart of some brilliant storytelling. 

Tim Glanfield

Tim Glanfield is a journalist, editor and broadcaster with more than 15 years experience writing about television, film and the entertainment business. He has been editor of RadioTimes.com, a writer for The Times (of London) and the Guardian as well as a freelance contributor to newspapers, magazines and websites across the world. He is author of the book Digital Economy or Bust: The Story of a New Media Startup and makes regular appearances on TV and radio in the UK.

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