The fall of the Eleventh is upon us…
Listeners of the podcast will not be surprised to read that both Ewan and I are huge fans of Matt Smith and the eleventh Doctor. They also will know that I have been predicting his departure from the show since the start of series 7b and had posited that it would happen at Christmas this year. Still, I was very much hoping that I would either be wrong or Moffat would pull off the impossible and give us a surprise regeneration. Sadly, that was not to be as the BBC officially announced today that Matt is stepping down from the role.
I was wondering around Santa Monica today when the news broke and I couldn’t help but feel instant sadness. Matt’s time on the show has been controversial. While his performance never faltered in my eyes, the split seasons and long waits for new episodes have done the show no favors. So deep down I was hoping for at least one more series with the bow tie and the chin.
I won’t lament too much though and I won’t sit here and write a long eulogy to the eleventh Doctor (though I certainly considered it). Instead I’m just going to look to the future. We still have the incredibly exciting team up with the tenth Doctor in the 50th Anniversary episode as well as the Christmas special farewell that is set to start filming in September. And then the inevitably long and very anxious wait for the new man to take over the TARDIS controls.
I can’t even begin to think about who might be suitable for the role of the twelfth Doctor. It will most likely once again be someone we’ve seen other places but won’t recognize. So all I will say is thank you to Matt Smith. It’s been a brilliant 4 years and I’m sure he has bigger things on the horizon.
Here is what Matt had to say in the BBC press release:
“Doctor Who has been the most brilliant experience for me as an actor and a bloke, and that largely is down to the cast, crew and fans of the show. I’m incredibly grateful to all the cast and crew who work tirelessly every day, to realize all the elements of the show and deliver Doctor Who to the audience. Many of them have become good friends and I’m incredibly proud of what we have achieved over the last four years.
Having Steven Moffat as showrunner write such varied, funny, mind-bending and brilliant scripts has been one of the greatest and most rewarding challenges of my career. It’s been a privilege and a treat to work with Steven, he’s a good friend and will continue to shape a brilliant world for the Doctor.
The fans of Doctor Who around the world are unlike any other; they dress up, shout louder, know more about the history of the show (and speculate more about the future of the show) in a way that I’ve never seen before, your dedication is truly remarkable. Thank you so very much for supporting my incarnation of the Time Lord, number Eleven, who I might add is not done yet, I’m back for the 50th anniversary and the Christmas special!
It’s been an honor to play this part, to follow the legacy of brilliant actors, and helm the TARDIS for a spell with ‘the ginger, the nose and the impossible one’. But when ya gotta go, ya gotta go and Trenzalore calls. Thank you guys. Matt.”
And from Steven Moffat:
“Every day, on every episode, in every set of rushes, Matt Smith surprised me: the way he’d turn a line, or spin on his heels, or make something funny, or out of nowhere make me cry, I just never knew what was coming next. The Doctor can be clown and hero, often at the same time, and Matt rose to both challenges magnificently. And even better than that, given the pressures of this extraordinary show, he is one of the nicest and hardest-working people I have ever had the privilege of knowing. Whatever we threw at him – sometimes literally – his behavior was always worthy of the Doctor.
But great actors always know when it’s time for the curtain call, so this Christmas prepare for your hearts to break, as we say goodbye to number Eleven. Thank you Matt – bow ties were never cooler.
Of course, this isn’t the end of the story, because now the search begins. Somewhere out there right now – all unknowing, just going about their business – is someone who’s about to become the Doctor. A life is going to change, and Doctor Who will be born all over again! After 50 years, that’s still so exciting!”