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Page last updated at 10:58 GMT, Wednesday, 31 March 2010 11:58 UK

Dr Who cast, Matt Smith and Karen Gillan, in Sunderland

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The new stars of Dr Who, Matt Smith and Karen Gillan, speak to BBC Look North while visiting Sunderland.

The University of Sunderland hosted a special sneak preview of the first episode to a young invite-only audience.

Children from across the North East and Cumbria were rewarded for their achievements in school.

Half-mackem

Dr Who's new assistant, Amy Pond, is played by Karen Gillan who has connections with the North East of England.

Matt Smith and Karen Gillan speaking to Alfie Joey
Matt Smith and Karen Gillan speaking to Alfie Joey

Karen's granddad is originally from Sunderland. She said: "I am half-mackem, so it was lovely to come here.

"We went to Inverness earlier on today, so we've done Inverness and Sunderland in the same day - the two halves of me."

Daunting

Matt Smith is the 11th man to play Dr Who, a character who now has a following across many generations.

Matt explained: "It has been very daunting at stages, but for now it's something that's utterly enjoyable and a challenge we're relishing."

Karen added: "I think we're just starting to enjoy it now because our work is done on the series and we're all proud of what we've done."

Listen to the full interview with BBC Newcastle's Alfie Joey.

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