Matt Smith almost backed out of playing Doctor Who

Matt Smith has admitted he almost quit Doctor Who before he filmed his breakout role.

The 41-year-old actor was thrust into the international spotlight in 2010 thanks to his turn as the eleventh Doctor in the BBC's long-running sci-fi show.

But Matt almost turned down the chance to play the character after being spooked over the pressure fans of the franchise put on him.

Opening up to Variety, he explained, "I would walk down the street, and people would say 'Don't break Doctor Who!' Because they had no idea who I was."

The House of the Dragon star went on to admit he considered turning his back on the show, "Briefly. But my agent, very quickly, was like, 'You're doing it.' Thank God."

Matt took over the mantle from David Tennant when he joined the cast in 2010 and held down the role until 2014.

He was joined on the show by Scottish actress Karen Gillan, who played companion Amy Pond, and he said he is stunned by her success in Hollywood, where she has landed roles in the Guardians of the Galaxy and Jumanji films.

Matt gushed, "I'm so proud of her. She always had her eyes on the prize - she knew she wanted to move to L.A. and make big films, and she f**king did it."

While Matt did portray The Doctor, his on-screen assistant revealed there are huge roles he has rejected since.

Karen told the magazine, "If you knew the things he hasn't done, you'd be shocked! He's turned down some huge things because they weren't the right stories for him. And it was exactly the right move."