A WEST Somerset drama teacher who taught the new Time Lord in cult TV series Doctor Who as a teenager has given his debut the thumbs up.

Jerry Hardingham, a teacher at The West Somerset Community College in Minehead, taught 26-year-old Matt Smith, the 11th and youngest Doctor Who, during his time at Northampton School for Boys.

And on Saturday his former pupil attracted eight million viewers as he took over the role from David Tennant.

Jerry told the County Gazette that he was in Istanbul when his debut aired on BBC One, but accepted an invite from the Doctor himself to attend a special advanced screening of episode one in Northampton last Wednesday.

Jerry said: “I saw him last week and it was great to spend a bit of time with him.

“I was thrilled to bits with his performance and am over the moon with the way he has been received by fans.”

Jerry always believed his pupil was destined for the stage.

As reported in the County Gazette last year, Jerry 'conned' the Time Lord into taking the lead role in a play as a teenager.

Matt wanted to be a top footballer rather than a TV star, and played in the youth teams of Leicester City and Nottingham Forest until a back injury forced him to quit.

But when the then 14-year-old failed to audition for a part in a school production of 12 Angry Men his biggest supporter called his mum and told her he was doing the part without him knowing.

Matt went on to star in The Cathedral - a play acted out at Westminster Cathedral before an audience of Royals and dignitaries.

Matt was unveiled as the new Doctor back in January 2009.