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Doctor Who star Matt Smith is leaving: A review of the Eleventh incarnation of the Time Lord

Neela Debnath
150281782 199x300 Doctor Who star Matt Smith is leaving: A review of the Eleventh incarnation of the Time Lord

Doctor Who star Matt Smith (Getty Images)

He entered the world of Doctor Who yelling and bemoaning the fact that he wasn’t ginger (again) before crashing the Tardis (again). But now it’s time for Matt Smith to leave – how will the Eleventh incarnation be judged?

Back in January 2009, there was much scepticism as to whether this 26-year-old could play the Doctor. Admittedly, a twenty-something had done it before when Peter Davison took on the role as the Fifth incarnation, but that’s by the by. Just who was this Matt Smith? He had only really made an appearance in the political drama Party Animals and starred alongside Doctor Who alumna Billie Piper in The Ruby in the Smoke.

David Tennant’s multitude of fans were bowled over by his Time Lord, and could not imagine anyone replacing him. There are still those now calling for Tennant’s return – don’t worry, he will back… briefly.

So Matt Smith had a challenge to equal  Davison’s when he took over from Tom Baker. Truth be told, I actually didn’t like Tennant’s Doctor when he first regenerated. Yet with Smith I was sold after one of the final scenes in The Eleventh Hour when he uttered the immortal words: ‘Hello. I’m the Doctor. Basically… run’. This fresh-faced footballer-turned-actor could pull it off.

Over the past four years, there have been less than convincing storylines, particularly when they involved the crossing of timelines and overarching arcs, lost a few of us somewhere along the way. But Smith has brought something new to the role. He has the slapstick of Patrick Troughton – the other bow-tie wearing Doctor – who Smith has cited as his favourite incarnation. But in Smith we saw a more vulnerable Doctor, when he lost the Ponds and wept over River Song.

Smith will be appearing in the 50th anniversary special on 23 November, and will be making his final appearance in this year’s Christmas special when he will be regenerating.

It’s unsurprising to learn of his decision to leave – after all, he’s currently starring in Ryan Gosling’s directorial debut How to Catch a Monster, but that’s not all. Smith’s own foray into directing, Cargese, recently aired on Sky Arts. Time to leave the Tardis.

Goodbye, Sweetie.

Profile of the Eleventh Doctor:

Sartorial choices: Fezzes, Stetsons, braces and bow ties

Culinary favourites: Fish fingers smothered in custard; Jammy Dodgers

Also known as: Raggedy Man

Main companions: Amy Pond, Rory Williams and Clara Oswald

Catchphrase: ‘Geronimo’

Greatest foes: The Weeping Angels, the Silence, the Whispermen, the Daleks

Best episodes: The Eleventh Hour; The Doctor’s Wife; Asylum of the Daleks

Snog: Clara Oswald

Marry: River Song

Avoid: Amy Pond

For more on this topic see:

Who will be the next Doctor Who?

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  • smartmind

    “they will try to adhere to the laws of physics”… and where in the laws of physics does time travel, Alien from a fictitious planet called Gallifrey, the Tardis all fit into the laws of physics?

    It is a corny scifi-cum-fairy story drama, if they want superpower rays coming out of people’s hands, why not?

  • sonnyliew

    Tennant I still think brought more range – a better actor. His persona also communicated intelligence – you could actually believe he was the smartest person in the room/space ship/galaxy. Not sure Smith quite pulls that off.

  • Cole Davis

    No, it wasn’t originally such a corny fairy story. Time travel as a possibility was based on real scientific theories (hence the name TARDIS – Time and Relative Dimensions in Space). Sure, it accreted monsters and alien planets to maintain attention, but the old series was very much into science. The ‘new Dr Who’ is a different animal.


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