John Hurt, the prolific English actor died Wednesday at age 77, has more than 200 acting credits to his name. Not least among them is his role as the War Doctor — an incarnation of the time-traveling hero at the center of BBC’s long-running sci-fi adventure series, Doctor Who.
Hurt played the role in the seventh season finale, in a 7-minute special about the character, and in the show’s 50th anniversary special, The Day of the Doctor, which saw him act alongside stars David Tennant, Matt Smith, and Jenna Coleman, among others.
Hurt talked about the role in a 2013 interview on BBC One, during which he marveled about the fan response to the special — and his role in it.
“It’s a lot more than I thought it was going to be,” Hurt said. “I had no idea it was going to be as big as this. I always thought it had a sort of cult status. I didn’t realize it had gone mainstream to the degree that it has.”
In a featurette about the special, Smith and Tennant sang Hurt’s praises, calling him “a lovely man” and expressing awe at his acting prowess.
“He really delivers,” Smith said. “I often go, ‘He’s just moving his eyes, and I’m literally climbing off the walls.’”
Tennant added, laughing, “As I pull another face, J. Hurt has slightly raised an eyebrow, imperceptibly raised an eyebrow, and you know he’s winning an Oscar right there.”
Hurt never won an Oscar, though he was nominated twice — for his roles in The Elephant Man and Midnight Express.
Watch the featurette with Tennant and Smith, and see a clip of Hurt in the Doctor Who special in the videos above.