Very, very sad news today. Matt Smith will leave the lead role of Doctor Who at the end of the year. The news was broken by a few news outlets but was recently posted on the BBC website. Matt will, of course, be in the 50th Anniversary special along with former Doctor David Tennant, which they’ve already shot, and will regenerate at the end of the 2013 Christmas special.
Smith had this to say about his decision:
“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 realise 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 show runner 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 honour 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.”
Adding to it, Executive Producer and Head Writer Steven Moffat said this:
“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 behaviour 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!”
I for one am incredibly sad about this news, but it’s a day we all knew was inevitable. There hasn’t been a single episode where I haven’t been fascinated and thrilled by Matt Smith’s portrayal of the Doctor, the way he goes about things, and the way he delivers each line. I’ve made no secret of it: he is my favorite Doctor.
That being said, whoever the next actor to play the Doctor is, I’m sure they will be just as excellent and I’ll be just as excited to see who next will pilot the TARDIS as I will be to see Smith step down. That, as Steven Moffat said, is the beauty of Doctor Who. Always regenerating.