Richard Curtis pens Doctor Who Van Gogh special

03/06/10

Karen Gillan and Matt Smith in Doctor Who

A television and big screen legend has his first full Doctor Who episode aired this Saturday (5 June).

Richard Curtis was asked to guest write the 10th episode of the latest series. He's written movies such as Bridget Jones's Diary, Notting Hill and Love Actually.

So even though he's behind a few legendary scripts, was he daunted by taking on such an iconic programme?

He told Newsbeat: "It was very relaxing. I just love being taken on as a hired hand. Very relaxing. I must do it more."

Richard enjoyed working with Matt Smith, who plays Doctor Who: "He's fantastic. We did a really long read-through in Cardiff. We got to the end and said, 'Oh... I was rubbish'. So we went back through the whole thing and did it again!"

British talent

Impressed by Matt, even in the early read-throughs, Richard sees him as one of a number of talented young actors currently on the rise in the UK.

It was like being in a Doctor Who soap opera because we took over the entire town - wherever you looked you'd see a Doctor Who person
Karen Gillan on filming in Croatia

He said: "I think there's a really great bunch of young actors around at the moment.

"Matt is great. Tom Sturridge, Aaron Johnson. There's a whole generation of young guys and I'm very optimistic for them."

The episode sees Doctor Who and Amy travel back in time to meet the famous artist Vincent Van Gogh, who is troubled by an invisible monster.

Most scenes were shot in a small Mediterranean village in Croatia, which Karen Gillan (who plays Amy), enjoyed.

She said: "It was beautiful in Trogir. It was a tiny little town, the water was really nice, a nice colour, and it was a bit warmer than I'm used to filming in Cardiff.

"It was like being in a Doctor Who soap opera because we took over the entire town - wherever you looked you'd see a Doctor Who person."

One of the things a lot of people like about Doctor Who is the props that actor Matt Smith gets to play with - whether it's his sonic screwdriver or any number of implements in the tardis.

But it's something Karen is a bit challenged on. She said: "I expressed my jealousy to Matt during filming.

"I had this one book - a Van Gogh book - this was the one book I had. Matt was like, 'Look at your little prop' but it was a book not a sonic screwdriver or anything!"