Doctor Who star Matt Smith swapped his sonic screwdriver for the Olympic torch as the relay began its journey from Cardiff to Swansea.
He ran an early morning leg in the Welsh capital, where the successful television show is based. Later in the morning the torch was carried in Merthyr Tydfil by Welsh rugby player Matthew Rees. And hurdler Colin Jackson, who in 1988 won Olympic silver in Seoul, will run one of the day’s final legs in Swansea.
Large crowds have once again turned out in the sunshine to watch the relay wend its way from the Welsh capital to the valleys and the coast. Smith ran from the historic Norwegian Church in Cardiff Bay to the National Assembly building, just before 06:30 BST – earlier than planned.
He said he was “thrilled” that about 1,000 people had lined the streets so early on a Saturday morning to watch.
“It’s a great privilege to be involved. I can’t quite believe people have actually turned up, I thought I would be just be carrying it around, waving to the ducks. I’m really excited about the summer of sport we have ahead. It’s wonderful.”
In a previous life the Doctor, then played by Tennant, went forward in time and carried the Olympic torch in London in 2012.
Smith passed the flame to 14-year-old swimmer Llio Roberts who is ranked top 3 for her age in Wales at the 100m freestyle. Runners were applauded and cheered at each torch changeover and a cavalcade of cyclists and runners energetically followed the flame.
Hundreds lined the streets taking photographs, and newsagents and coffee shops did a roaring early morning trade.
Ann Taylor, 52, was up at 4am with her friend Jonna Batt, 31, to get a good vantage point.
“I’ve never seen Matt Smith before. He was very talkative and really polite,” said Miss Batt.
Her friend added: “I think it is a really good idea to have the torch tour the country like this. It puts everybody in a really enthusiastic mood.
“I think it attracts a lot of people who might not ever pay attention to it.”