It wasn’t me that noticed… It all started, as with most good stories, with a girl in a pub. It was a Saturday night back in 2007 and I was in London visiting some of my friends. Towards the end of the evening while sat in the pub chatting I was surprised to have a random, slightly drunk (and from memory not unattractive) girl stumble over to me and proclaim “Did you know you look like David Tennant?!?”
I think my reply was ‘That’s the nicest thing anyone has ever said to me’. After that I didn’t give it another thought as she’d had a few…
Skip forward a few months to August and it happened again. This time it was at home, my housemate of the time had friends round, I’d come home wearing a (pin stripe) suit and the same comment was made. Ok I thought to myself, perhaps there is something to this.
Around March 2008 I got myself a 10th Doctor suit and coat, by this point I’d also got a new housemate who, as it happened, worked for BBC Radio Suffolk. As part of the 2008 Suffolk Show they were going to broadcast live from the show, have a Doctor Who display in the tent and suggested that I should go along in my Tennant gear as it would be good fun. The reaction was crazy! I’ve never been photographed so much in my entire life!
Following on from that, I attended my first convention in 2009. At this point I had no clue that there was such a thing as cosplay so I went along in jeans with a shirt and jacket. People kept commenting on how I looked and I had my first exposure to convention costuming, so for the second day of the event I took the 10 outfit. The rest as they say is history…
What does the transformation process involve when you make an appearance as the Doctor?
It’s all about the hair. It’s become a bit of an art form now, haha! Back to being serious (which is rare for me) if the hair looks right it makes the whole look work.
Originally it took a long time and multiple attempts to get it right but after lots (years!) of practice I’m now able to produce the iconic fringe in a few minutes, with a little help from straighteners, gel, wax and a lot of hairspray.
Personally, what has been your experience cosplaying the Doctor?
Probably the most memorable was this year at Stars of Time in July which was a weekend event in Weston Super Mare.
Her mum spotted me next to the TARDIS and said ‘Look the Doctor is over there; he won’t let anything happen to you’.
With that I knelt down and extended my arms out. The little girl walked over, buried her head in my shoulder and gave me a big hug. Once she’d stopped sobbing I looked at her and asked her to give me a smile at which point she gave me a big grin.
She was still looking slightly nervous that she’d run into the scary monster again so I gave her my void vision glasses and said if she sees anything scary to put them on and everything will be ok.
With that she beamed and went off happy 🙂 Job done! Its little moments like that which stay with you.
Have you ever had any funny encounters with the general public who do not know about your lookalike work?
In my real life I have a work uniform; it’s a pinstriped suit… You can image all the fun that’s caused!
What is the strangest request you have been asked to do whilst cosplaying Doctor Who?
I don’t get many strange requests, I have had a number of people ask if they can either steal me / marry me / take me home, etc, etc
Have you met David Tennant?
I’ve met him numerous times now, seven I think?
He is genuinely one of the nicest people I’ve ever met, he is really good with fans and I’m glad I’ve managed to have a few conversations with him. The best thing is that he really seems to enjoy interacting with people.
If you were the Doctor, who would you choose as your companion?
If the choice was from any of the Doctors current or former companions it’d be an easy decision. Anyone who knows me or follows my page know that my favourite companion is Peri played by the ever lovely Nicola Bryant.
If it was the choice of anyone then, erm… I really don’t know! I should really have an answer for that question! I’ll come back to that question…
Do you have a favourite moment from the Doctor Who series?
It’s so hard to narrow down! I think Paul McGanns surprise appearance in ‘The Night of the Doctor’ has to be one of my all-time favourite moments, other than that closing speech from Human Nature was great, as well as the episode Blink, Caves of Androzani is also awesome…
I fear this list could get very long quite quickly so I’m going to stick with McGanns appearance.
Are you looking forward to Tennant appearing in the 50th anniversary episode?
Yes and No. Yes because it’ll be interesting to see how he plays off opposite Matt and as a Tennant fan it’ll be good to see him do another performance as the Doctor. My reason for being slightly apprehensive is wondering what the episode will be like and will Ten be the same as we all remember him?
I’ve managed to avoid most of the information that has been released about the 50th and haven’t watched any of the trailers, so my only hope for the episode is that it’s brilliant and is a fitting tribute to 50 years of the show – no pressure Moffat!
A lot of people have had a negative reaction towards Peter Capaldi, what is your opinion?
For the Journeys in Fandom Podcast we did an episode on what the next Doctor should be like and Peter Capaldi met all of the criteria. An older Doctor will be good for the show and will hopefully remove the Doctor/companion ‘love interest’ dynamic that has been a running theme since the shows return in 2005.
Who would you have liked to have seen as the new Doctor?
If we’d (Tim and I) had a choice we would have cast Sean Bean, admittedly he’d regenerate at the end of his first episode but what an episode it would be! If we couldn’t have Sean Bean we also toyed with the idea of Arnie (Arnold Schwarzenegger) but we get shouted at whenever we suggest it…
Oh, almost forgot! My companion if I was the Doctor, I think I’d go for Gillian Anderson, because, welllll, because she’s Gillian Anderson!
Follow Matt Holden on Facebook and Twitter @Mh10thdoc
Photo credits – Matt with Daleks – Monster Photography, Matt with Ood Exewing Fundraisers, Amy Pond featured is Hayley Smith