Is Matt Smith Leaving ‘Doctor Who’ After the 2013 Christmas Special?

Published 2 years ago by

Doctor Who Mid Season 7 Poster Premiere Is Matt Smith Leaving Doctor Who After the 2013 Christmas Special?

Whenever we’re on the verge of getting more Doctor Who episodes, it seems like obsessive questions about swan songs, endings, and new beginnings start to pop up. Basically, everyone wants to know when Matt Smith is going to leave.

One of those people is UK chat show host Jonathan Ross, who asked Smith during an appearance on The Jonathan Ross Show how much longer he would be comfortable as the Doctor and whether he’d started to think about moving on. With a fair amount of candor, Smith offered his answer, an answer that actually inspired a response from the BBC over Smith’s status as the Doctor.

Here’s what Smith told Ross:

“I’m very happy doing it. I mean, I go and I do the anniversary special, then I go away for a bit, and then I come back and we do the Christmas special. And its sort of one of those jobs where you have to take [it] year by year, really, because it’s 10 months a year, its all consuming. So, I don’t think you can plan sort of 5 [or] 6 years ahead, or even 2 years ahead. So its a year by year thing and at the moment, it’s 2013 and we will see what 2014 holds.”

And here’s the BBC statement via The Sun, who had reported that Smith would indeed be bowing out after this year’s Christmas special:

“Sorry, folks, but even we don’t know what’s going to happen at Christmas. It’s not been written yet! But Matt loves the show and is to start filming the unmissable 50th anniversary, and the new series starting on Easter Saturday.”

As Smith explained later in the Ross interview, he is set to film How to Catch a Monster – actor Ryan Gosling’s directorial debut – during his hiatus from Who. One could see how that could lend a small amount of weight to the well worn speculation that Matt Smith will leave the TARDIS behind in search of Hollywood fame, but as previously stated, this is a familiar dance.

In December, while promoting last year’s Christmas special in an interview with Collider, Smith said:

“I take it year by year, you know? See what comes. I love working for Steven Moffat. I love making the show, it’s unlike any job I’ll ever have.”

This followed remarks that he had made to Empire Magazine, wherein he said, “I couldn’t do this for seven years. I’d be run into the ground. I don’t think you can sustain it…

This prompted BBC spokesperson Sam Hodges to release a series of tweets denying Smith’s exit:

Matt Smith hasn’t quit – just an over[ly] excitable headline. [...] He says in an interview that he won’t be the Doctor forever – hardly quitting!

Smith also put a scare into Whovians in 2011 when he said: “I’ve got another year of Doctor Who, but then I’m certainly going to come and give it a shot, come and hang out in LA.

One would imagine that the BBC would be tired of these repeated rumors and that Smith would become exhausted by the constant questions about his desire (or lack thereof) to stay in the role that made him famous, but then again, there’s no such thing as bad publicity.

matt smith ryan gosling how catch monster Is Matt Smith Leaving Doctor Who After the 2013 Christmas Special?

Remember, the premiere is very close and every little drop of ink helps. This buzz won’t hurt ratings, and in fact, were Smith genuinely settled on leaving the show, it seems unlikely that he and the BBC would keep it a secret and forfeit the opportunity to cash in on the benefits of a farewell bonanza a la David Tennant’s departure.

Then again, maybe they’re just waiting for the right opportunity to reveal that Smith is leaving?

So in answer to the other ultimate question, “Is Matt Smith leaving Doctor Who?” the answer is: Yes… someday. Honestly, when Matt Smith is really ready to leave Doctor Who, he will surely proclaim it loudly and proudly, so until then, maybe we should all just relax, enjoy the ride, and stop fixating on it like a death obsession.

Doctor Who premieres on BBC America Saturday March 30th @8pm.


Sources: The Sun, TG Daily, UPI, & Collider

Follow Jason Tabrys on Twitter @jtabrys
TAGS: Doctor who
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  1. I think Matt Smith is by far the best Doctor. Tennant was alright, I don’t see what people see in him though ( as far as being a great actor ) he seemed like an average actor at best. I think Tennant was alright but he was pretty bland in most episodes. I hope Matt Smith stays as long as possible. After he goes I might stop watching the series ( definitely if the next Doctor is like Tennant because I wouldn’t be able to adjust back to a serious non charismatic Dr. ) depending on who the next Dr. is.

    • I agree with you completely, I don’t want matt to go :( Hopefully he won’t, I mean other doctors wouldn’t be right because it would be different people and I like matt. And if there is a new doctor he might not like Clara, and she my favourite character soooo…

    • Erm…Tom Baker?

    • I loved Eccleston , I love Tennant .
      Matt Smith tried to substitute THE doctor .
      He was a MISTAKE !
      I hope than John Hurt is coming to FIX IT !
      Everythig will be better than the actual Doctor Matt Smith .
      Ok , you’ll say that I hate Matt Smith because of he became Eleven .
      And that’s true , but i alredy like John Hurt because he’ll become Twelve .
      As you’ll hate John Hurt ’cause you Loved Matt Smith .
      Then , when Matt Smith’ll finaly DIE ! you’ll enderstand how much we suffered ! so don’t juge me because I hate Matt Smith , because you’ll hate John Hurt … And us , we’ll love him :)

      May Doctor Matt Smith die soon ^^

      • no I love all the doctors so far even the bad ones like u call “Matt Smith” the things that I hate is their companions when they change rose belonged with David Tennat and alwys will Donna and Martha just ruined the entire show but I still love them partialy I still watch doctor who though cuz I knew they were going to change anyway but still you can’t criticize matt Sm9ith just becase you think he sucks

  2. Never been a fan of Smith’s Doctor, the show as a whole has seemed lacking since he picked up the role. Blame Smith or Moffat or whatever you like, but I feel the show has suffered greatly since Davies and Tennant left. I like the Doctor less and I like the stories less. I’m just getting to the point where the Ponds take their leave, and to be honest it worries me because they have been the thing keeping me interested despite the 11th Doctor.

    @Maria- People keep watching because they are fans of the show. Know what happens when people don’t watch? Look what happened to Firefly when it didn’t pull the ratings, and it is pretty widely considered among the best sci-fi shows out there. Remember Doctor Who got canceled in ’89, don’t think it can’t happen again. I’d rather nobody quit watching. Besides, like Smith/Moffat or not, there are some great episodes that I would rather not miss just because I’m pouting about the actor involved. People compare Smith to Tennant because people loved Tennant in the role and the stories he was involved in were epic. It’s only natural to compare them when discussing the show. I don’t want Smith to play the Doctor like Tennant (not that he could)any more than I wanted Tennant to be like Eccleston (whom I also liked quite a bit.) “He’s not like the 10th” isn’t why I dislike him. He pulls off silly just fine, but when it’s time to be serious or threatening, he’s still just silly. He’s like a cartoon, like watching a slightly less slapstick Jim Carrey as the doctor.

      • I think you miss my point. It’s not that I’m taking the show too seriously. As a whole it’s not a serious show and I realize that, even if it is hard on my OCPD when Moffat completely ignores any concept of continuity or suspension of disbelief. But there are moments where they need (and do try) to sell serious for the good of the storytelling. I feel previous Doctors did that better. The writing on previous seasons was significantly more engaging for me (opinion, I know.) Over the second half of season 7 the overnight viewership went from 6.7 million (The Bells of Saint John) to 4.7 million (Nightmare in Silver.) Time adjusted numbers show a comparable loss two episodes sooner. Should losing viewers be taken seriously?

        Who knows? Whether it’s Moffat or Smith, I’m ready for a change so I can be excited about watching again.

        • If they are losing that many viewers and it continues at such a rapid pace as you stated the show will probably be off the air in the near future. If they get a new Dr. and he is worse in anyway for viewer stats it would be a death sentence for the series most likely. How many viewers would they have to lose for it to go off the air? You said they lost 30% of viewers for the “Bells of Saint John” to “Nightmare in silver”. That seems like a time to evaluate the production of the show if the viewers continue to drop off.

          Also the show is like a living cartoon. That’s why I said that the show isn’t really supposed to be taken seriously. Because when I read “Matt Smith was like a cartoon” I thought that to be more of a compliment on his portrayal of the Dr. versus negative. But who really cares, there will be a new Dr. just not soon enough for some people.

        • Also it’s VERY bad they are losing that many viewers with Clara being his new travel companion. She is by far the best looking girl in the whole entire series yet they are losing viewers rapidly. Maybe a lot of the viewers are female and gay also and an attractive new character didn’t help ratings at all. With the change of actors and director at the same time I don’t think anyone should be shocked by a rating plunge. People don’t like change, most already had it in there mind not to like Smith because they were used to Tennant.

          • Coleman is a very attractive girl, but either she isn’t much of an actress or they are not giving her the opportunity to show that she is. Being pretty is not enough to carry her as an interesting companion. If she is a decent actress then they need to give her a chance to show it off. It’s up to the writers to give her a chance to shine.

            The director changes almost every episode. Moffat is the Executive Producer and head writer, but I get your point and agree with it on the change thing.

            To be fair, viewership often drops some after a season premier type episode. It fluctuates, and The Name of the Doctor will likely pull in some of the sometimes watchers and get decent ratings. The 50th anniversary is bound to pull good numbers, both because it’s the 50th anniversary and because Tennant is returning. My numbers were pulled from Wikipedia entries on the shows; I have no doubt that the people in charge are watching more reliable numbers and will make changes if they feel they need to. It’s always around the top 5 most watched BBC shows I think. BBC loves the show as far as I can tell, and they are not likely to cancel it without trying to right things if viewership drops too drastically. I don’t know what it would take for them to cancel the show again, but I don’t want to find out.

            BBC reported that the season 7 box set was sent out early by mistake, and promised a David Tennant scene would be released if people don’t release spoilers before the finale. Due to the lack of availability of the material online many people think it is a hoax by BBC to try to drive up interest. It wouldn’t surprise me; I like to think BBC is interested in doing what it takes to keep the show going.

            • Honestly I think that Matthew Smith is the best doctor I’ve seen perform I mean don’t get me wrong I’m a huge fan of David Tennant but when I found out matt was leaving the show I honestly started to cry

  3. The BIG question is: Did Matt Smith really want to quit? Or, didn’t BBC want to renew his contract as the Doctor for a new season?

  4. May 18, Matt Smith said he was taking a break, filming in Detroit, then coming back to do 2013 Xmas special and series 8 beginning of 2014. He said he was.

    June 1, BBC officially announce Matt is quitting the show.

    This is either the producers and BBC poking a very large bee hive or something really bad happened in those 2 weeks.

    Long story short: MATT DON’T LEAVE DOCTOR WHO YET!!!!

  5. the only solution would be that in fact the Professor River Song
    not really dead but just in a pharmacological coma
    and why you can get in touch with the doctor
    by moffat not make me beg
    would be a nice Christmas gift
    For Christmas Is You do what you can not ever do