Sonic screwdriver at the ready: Matt Smith and Karen Gillan launch new Dr Who

It landed him in trouble at airport security, but it's an essential prop for the new Timelord, Matt Smith. The actor had his sonic screwdriver at the ready as he met young fans at an event in Manchester to launch the brand new series of Doctor Who.

Matt was joined by his trusty assistant Amy Pond – played by svelte Scottish actress Karen Gillan – as he also showed the youngsters the Doctor's famous Tardis, before they settled down to watch a special showcase of the first full episode.

TV viewers will have to wait until April 3 to see it, when the series kicks off on BBC One at 6:20pm.

And watching along with the nation will be Matt, who will be at home surrounded by his loved ones. "When it airs I'll be with my family sitting down watching it. I'm just going along with the ride and enjoying it as I go," he said.

The 27-year-old, who takes over the reins as the 11th Doctor from number ten David Tennant, said he really wanted to evolve the character.

"I have always wanted to make the character more interesting. I have become more confident with him and as the series goes on he really does becomes more interesting," he revealed.

In the first episode, the Doctor crash lands in a quiet English village when his Tardis is wrecked by his regeneration. He finds himself in desperate need of a companion, and Amy steps up to the mark, helping him fight off the Atraxi.

They are thuggish galactic policemen who have appeared through a crack in Amy's bedroom wall in search of a mysterious criminal.

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