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Late bets on new Who hit Paddy Power's pocket

Ten punts around Matt Smith's home town

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The largely unexpected announcement that 26-year-old Matt Smith will become the next Doctor Who was possibly not quite as unexpected in the actor's home town of Northampton, according to bookmakers Paddy Power.

The bookies is £5,000 out of pocket having taken 15 bets on Smith securing the keys to the Tardis, with "with two thirds coming from the Northampton area", the Telegraph explains. Paddy Power says that - despite progressively shortening the odds from 33/1 to 10/1 in the two days prior to the announcement - it had to stump £800 to one punter and £1,650 to another who bet £75 at 22/1 in the 24 hours before the news broke.

Paddy Power spokesman Darren Haines said: "There were 15 bets in total on Matt Smith becoming the next Doctor in the hours leading up to the announcement. Ten of these came from the Northampton area, where he lives. This would suggest that friends and family would have known already. In our experience they are usually the first to know.

"The betting always starts in the community. We're not bitter about it - if someone finds out before us, we can't do much about it."

Although the BBC apparently went to great lengths to protect the new Time Lord's identity, with publicity snaps "taken in an empty studio with the Tardis added to the background later to ensure no one working on the shoot knew why they were being taken" and just a handful of execs in the know, Smith himself appeared to confirm Paddy Power's suspicions that his family may have been the source of the leak.

He told the BBC in an interview: "I had to tell someone, I was going mad. So I told my dad because I just had to tell someone. He was rather flabbergasted and sort of laughed. He's very proud because he loves the show." ®

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