John Hurt: "I Had No Idea That Doctor Who Had Got So Huge"

John Hurt has been talking to the Guardian about blockbusters, bees and, of course, his role as a mysterious incarnation of the Doctor in the Doctor Who 50th Anniversary episode.

During the chat, it was pointed out to John that as Doctor Who celebrates its anniversary, he also celebrates 50 years in the business. Had he realised about the link?

"I'd never thought of that, but let's use it!" he said, "Oh yes, there's a huge link definitely." 

However, the popularity of Doctor Who caught him by surprise:

"...I had no idea that Doctor Who had got so huge; I just thought, "Brilliant, I'll be a Doctor!" I was suddenly – what do they call it? You start "trending". This is all new to me!"

He still cannot reveal much about his role and how his 'dark Doctor' fits into the Time Lord's history

"Of course you have to remember that the Doctors are all one person, so I'm not outside of that. I can't talk about it, but I will say I was really impressed when I did it. Both the previous doctors – Matt Smith and David Tennant – boy, are they good at it. Whoa-wee! They are so quick, and there's a huge amount of learning and no time to learn it in. All that fake scientific nonsense. Terribly difficult to learn."

However, the former star of Alien is prepared for the fan attention that he will now receive following his appearance, and he's in no way perturbed by the Whovians.

"I've done a couple of conferences where you sit and sign autographs for people and then you have photographs taken with them and a lot of them all dressed up in alien suits or Doctor Who whatevers." he said. "I was terrified of doing it because I thought they'd all be loonies, but they are absolutely, totally charming as anything. It's great fun. I'm not saying it's the healthiest thing – I don't know whether it is or isn't – but they are very charming"

Read the full interview on the Guardian website

John Hurt stars with Matt Smith and David Tennant in the Doctor Who 50th Anniversary special. The celebratory episode, also featuring Jenna Coleman, Billie Piper, Joanna Page and Jemma Redgrave, will be shown around the world from Saturday 23rd November. 

Keep up to date with the 50th Anniversary news here