The Fall of the Eleventh: Smith to Leave Doctor Who


by Kevin Rigdon (@pralix1138)

Tick tock goes the clock

We laughed at fate and mourned her

Tick tock goes the clock

Even for the Doctor

One thing that Matt Smith has made me forget over the last three seasons is that everyone’s stint on Doctor Who is temporary. Even when Karen Gillan and Arthur Darville left, there was Matt Smith in his bow tie being wonderfully, maniacally genius in his portrayal of the Doctor. This weekend it was revealed that now Matt Smith is leaving the show. He will regenerate in the Christmas Special. On Saturday, BBC America released a statement on their website:

The BBC is today announcing that Matt Smith is to leave Doctor Who after four incredible years on the hit show. Matt first stepped into the TARDIS in 2010 and will leave the role at the end of this year after starring in the unmissable 50th Anniversary in November and regenerating in the Christmas special. During his time as the Doctor, Matt has reached over 30 million unique UK viewers and his incarnation has seen the show go truly global. He was also the first actor to be nominated for a BAFTA in the role.

Our household became properly Whovian during the last half of Tennant’s run as the 10th Doctor, and when it was announced that Tennant was leaving, I thought surely no one could replace him. I mean, how the hell can you follow David Tennant? Can’t be done. Then “The Eleventh Hour” debuted, and there was geeky, quirky, Matt Smith loving apples, then hating them, then yogurt, then bacon, and beans, buttered bread, before finally settling on fish fingers and custard. That episode I did not hate the 11th Doctor, but it wasn’t until “The Wedding of River Song” that Matt Smith, the 11th Doctor, became my Doctor. Yet even then, the fields of Trenzalore and the fall of the Eleventh loomed.

Through twists, turns, ups, downs, wibbly-wobblies, and timey-wimies, Smith has helmed the TARDIS with geeky style, and an almost childlike wonder. In the same statement from BBC America website, Smith comments:

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.

Sadly, I have to agree with him that it’s time to move on, not because he’s become boring or has ceased to do less than a stellar job in the role. But I have to say since the Ponds, something has been off. And with the apparent close to the River Song story arc, it seems like a natural leaving point. Smith has been brilliant, of course, and Jenna Louis-Coleman as Clara has been good, but they haven’t been good together necessarily. It’s really hard to imagine the 11th without the girl who waited, the centurion, and the Doctor’s wife.

So, as we prepare to weep-or that could just be me-at Christmas, the speculation has already begun on who replace Smith as the 12th Doctor. Will it be an established actor? Will it be a complete unknown? Will it be Hugh Laurie as some have voiced? I imagine that the secret will get out at some point before the 50th anniversary episode, so the web will be filled with passionate commentary on whether the new Doctor will be a success or failure. Some will still pine for Tennant. Some will pine for Smith. But one thing is for sure, the folks behind Doctor Who know exactly what they’re doing, and whatever they have planned will be spectacular.

So, what are your thoughts on Smith’s departure? Who do you want to play the next Doctor? Share your thoughts in the Comments.


  1. Christopher NavisJune 3rd, 2013 at 1:46 pm

    Doesn’t matter, so long as he’s Ginger.

  2. Emily BulkleyJune 3rd, 2013 at 3:13 pm

    Matt is my doctor…so I am so upset to see him go. However I feel the same way about how it’s been slightly off since the Ponds. I like Clara well enough, but there was a certain spark with the Ponds that made the show like it was with the Doctor and Rose. Matt Smith will forever be my Doctor, and I will be bawling under a mountain of blankets. However, the new Doctor will be amazing and bring new adventures and companions for us to fall in love with.

  3. JayneJune 4th, 2013 at 9:28 am

    I first got into Doctor Who with David Tennant as the doctor, and LOVED him, so it took me a good while to get used to Matt Smith … I’ve continued to enjoy it though & will be sad to see Matt go, but I’m looking forward to see whatever they come up with next …

  4. KiaraphoenixJune 6th, 2013 at 1:27 am

    I’m going to miss him sooooooooo much! Matt Smith is my favorite doctor! I’m going to miss him sooooo much! I just dunno how I’m gonna like the new doctor….I hope they keep him young I really liked how this one was younger and geeky and fun. But sadly I know they like to mix things up so that probably won’t happen…

  5. Sam DavisJune 20th, 2013 at 1:35 pm

    I’ve followed the Doctor ever since the 9th. Chris Eccleston was a great doctor. But David Tennant blew him away. I thought nobody could be a better doctor then David Tennant. But I was wrong. Along came Matt Smith who was brilliant in the role and now holds the role of my favorite doctor. If history is any indicator we should be just fine with a new doctor.

  6. johnJune 25th, 2013 at 2:57 am

    I’ve been watching Dr who since Jon Pertwee played the role, so i’ve seen most of them. Each actor brings something new to the show and plays the role in their own style. The bench mark is being lifted higher and higher with each actor who plays the Doctor, it goes without saying the 12th Doctor will have their work cutout for them. The makers know what they are doing and will cast the right actor to take the Doctor to another level, what must not happen though is to cast a female actor as has been suggested on the net and in the press, this would not be good at all for the show. Anyway lets hope he finally is ginger, maybe Robert Grint!!!

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