The BBC Doctor Who production team confirmed to the world on June 1st that Matt Smith will depart the iconic science-fiction drama at the climax of this year’s 50th Anniversary special run. Matt stepped into the role of the Doctor in 2010 to rather overwhelming odds, following in the midst of the revered Scottish actor David Tennant. It’s testament to Matt’s power and presence, then, that he has become a truly beloved incarnation of the Time Lord in the eyes of the fanbase, and in this writer’s honest opinion the best rendition of the character yet.
So, how much time do we have left to spend with the Eleventh Doctor? Matt will appear in this November’s Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Special as planned as the lead star of the show, before his regeneration into the Twelfth Doctor occurs in the 2013 Christmas Special. The decision comes as Matt has become further lured by the limelight of Hollywood and other sectors, having starred in BBC1’s hit one-off dramas Bert and Dickie and Christopher and his Kind and currently filming Ryan Gosling’s directorial US debut movie blockbuster How to Catch a Monster. On top of all of that, Matt recently directed a standalone piece of drama of his very own in the form of Cargese on Sky Arts.
There’s absolutely no doubting that Matt’s departure from Doctor Who will be met with immense sadness from fans such as myself when the day of his regeneration comes. Nevertheless, Matt has spent the same amount of time on the show as David Tenannt, with Christopher Eccleston appearing as the Ninth Doctor for one year in 2005, David as the Tenth for four years in 2006-2009 and now Matt as the Eleventh for a further four years in 2010-2013. It’s in the nature of the show that change comes time and time again, as we learnt with the departure of the Ponds in Season Seven, so we as viewers can be excited for this latest change to once again breathe fresh new life into the programme.
We’ll be bringing you a host of tributes to the Eleventh Doctor in the weeks ahead, but for now let’s pay tribute through Matt’s own words and his colleagues’ too:
- MATT ON HIS DEPARTURE- “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. 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. Thank you 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!”
- JENNA-LOUISE COLEMAN ON MATT’S DEPARTURE- “I feel so privileged to have been part of Matt’s reign, to have to been companion to what is and what I think always will be one of our greatest Doctors. And of course, with the same welcome I was brought in with, I look forward to welcoming the next Doctor. BUT it’s not over till it’s over. See ya at the big 5-0!”
- STEVEN MOFFAT ON MATT’S DEPARTURE- “The Doctor can be both clown and hero, often at the same time, and Matt rose to both challenges magnificently. 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.”
Doctor Who will return for its blockbuster 50th Anniversary Special on November 23rd, with its 2013 Christmas Special set to follow and chronicle the Eleventh Doctor’s regeneration on Christmas Day. The show returns for Season Eight in 2014, starring a new actor as the Twelfth Doctor and Jenna-Louise Coleman as Clara Oswald.