For a qualified helicopter pilot, the Tardis controls didn't prove too troublesome for the Prince of Wales visiting the Cardiff set of the BBC sci-fi drama Doctor Who.

Having been a fan of the series since the age of 15, Charles got to meet the current Time Lord, actor Matt Smith, and skillfully wielded the sonic screwdriver.

Smith is shortly to step down from the role, and speculation over the identity of the next re-generated Doctor is rife. Male? Female? Royal?

Judging from his performance, the prince would be more suited to the part of the baddie than that of the extraterrestrial scientist.

It's a long time since he trod the boards as a Cambridge undergraduate, but his impersonation of a Dalek went down well.

Using a microphone plugged into a voice modulator, he uttered the Daleks' famous "exterminate" catchphrase, leaving the show's lead writer, Stephen Moffat, thoroughly impressed.

"I haven't thought about how I could weave a meeting between the Doctor and the royal family. But Prince Charles's attempt at being a Dalek was great," said Moffat. "There would be a part in the show for him if he wanted it."

Smith said: "He's got the makings of a future Doctor!". Whether Whovians worldwide would agree is another matter.

As the prince got to grips with the Tardis controls, the Duchess of Cornwall pulled a lever to activate it watched by Smith and co-star Jenna-Louise Coleman.

Smith said: "He took quite a lot of interest in the Tardis's controls and asked a lot of questions about it. He told me and Jenna that he'd been a big fan of the show since he was 15 – which we didn't know."

Sound technician Nicholas Briggs, who voices the Daleks, said: "The prince has got a history of performing and has done stuff with The Goon Show previously, so he really stepped up to the plate.

"Apart from a couple of giggles at the end, he did really good."

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