‘Doctor Who’: Matt Smith Out; New Doctor Revealed in 2013 Christmas Special

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Doctor Who Season 8 Executive Producer Doctor Who: Matt Smith Out; New Doctor Revealed in 2013 Christmas Special

It’s the unfortunate day that Doctor Who fans knew would eventually come: After 4 years as the Doctor, Matt Smith announced that he will be leaving Doctor Who after the 2013 Christmas Special, in which the Eleventh will fall and Twelfth will be revealed.

Both Smith and Moffat released a letter about the departure, filled with kind words about the series as well as a few hints at what’s to come. Even though he has announced his departure, Smith still has two new adventures coming up, including the Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Special in November.

You can read Smith’s letter to below:

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 realize 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 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.

Smith, who never really watched Doctor Who before taking the role, took on the task of replacing David Tennant as the Tenth Doctor, an act many thought would be difficult, if not impossible. Yet after Smith’s first episode aired, the concern of many fans subsided as everyone knew that Moffat had chosen well, and that Smith would go on to become a great Doctor. And that’s exactly what happened – and the series grew, too, because of it.

doctor who david tennant matt smith Doctor Who: Matt Smith Out; New Doctor Revealed in 2013 Christmas Special

But as this is Doctor Who, it’s time for the TARDIS to be passed on to a new (or old but new) Doctor, the Twelfth Doctor (who is unlikely to be ginger). In Smith’s statement, he hinted at the return to Trenzalore; in Moffat’s statement, the series showrunner makes one thing absolutely clear: he’s going to make you cry on Christmas.

You can read Moffat’s letter below:

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 behavior 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!

Though some fans may still be a bit upset at Moffat about the way in which Doctor Who season 7 was handled, he still knows and loves the series as much as the fans – so if the Doctor needs to regenerate, the quality story will most certainly meet the occasion.

And even though the departure of Matt Smith is sad, the final paragraph of Moffat’s letter sums it up best: “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!”


Doctor Who returns in November for the 50th Anniversary Special.


Follow Anthony Ocasio on Twitter @anthonyocasio
TAGS: Doctor who
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  1. WHAT! this is unexpected… i thought it was confirmed he was returning to next season…

    shame too cause i was starting to get used to him. i wonder who the next doctor will be. maybe tennant again!? XD i wish lol

    i wonder how much of this is forced…. they may want this to be extremely memorable on the 50th anniversary. its quite a milestone. only soaps have reached that. i hope this wasnt like a last minute thing because tennant got a year of buildup to his death but matt isnt.

    • Yeah, i like the whole “your song is ending” and “he will knock four times” story arc for Davids death. Wish Matt would’ve had more of a buildup. thats why i thought it would be nice for him to do series 8.

      And yeah i think he was confirmed for series 8, but now he is filming a movie in the US and im sure that made him rethink his decision.

      • Hate to say it but I can see that one film and then not much. Doctor Who actors have not led very stellar careers after they leave. Granted Tennant is an amazing actor in anything. (And I do wish he would regenerate as the Doctor again…). But even he couldn’t get his US Series (Rex is not your Lawyer) off the ground which I can’t help but think that show was why he left Dr. Who.

      • Trenzalore has been a slow buildup since series 6… The Name of the Doctor gave it the first strong kick, and we’ve also yet to see 11′s final encounter with River. The foreshadowing just hasn’t clicked yet. With Tennant, it was in Planet of the Dead that they made it explicit he was on the verge of dying. The 50th ought to set the stage for something similar and force the Doctor into a final conflict on his future grave world.

    • Yeah this came out of nowhere, feels like there hasn’t been time to build up a proper send-off for him. It also seems like it’s a relatively last-minute change of mind, seeing as we were told he was due for one more season.

      Just hope they wrap up all the unwrapped-up story lines from his time. The fall of the Eleventh, Trenzalore, and all that. I’m still convinced it hasn’t happened yet.

      (On another note… I suppose this means that for the first time in quite a while, Clara will be a companion who’s seen the Doctor regenerate/seen him in multiple incarnations? Most of the others only know him in one, after all (Amy, Rory, Donna, Martha). I’d normally look forward to see how the companion freaks out at the new regeneration, but then Clara already knows he does that… oh well.

      • Rose. Rose saw the ninth regenerate into the tenth.

        • Yeah I knew that, which was why I said it’s been a while – that was way back in the first season of the revived series after all. And it was fun seeing her adjust to the Tenth too.

      • Well, Clara might know that The Doctor regenerate but her reaction to The Doctor and how different he will be might still be good. Was really looking forward to more Smith and Coleman because how good their chemistry were.

        • Yeah me too. This news threw me into a loop. I really wanted Matt to stay longer but I guess he decided otherwise. Will miss the 11th Doctor.

      • I dont think its forced at all, since Trazalore was mentioned in series 6 and we know how far ahead Moffet plans for its fair to say they’ve known he was leaving after series 7 for a while :) Im looking forward to it now, i love Matt Smith but i also love the change and adjustment of a new Doctor

  2. Sad news, but i guess its better to go out while people still like you than overstaying your welcome (like the ponds). Hopefully a new doctor will freshen up the show a bit like a new companion does. it’s gonna be interesting seeing the blowup of 12th doctor actor rumors and speculations.

    Farewell Matt Smith. Hope to see you in some films now.

  3. and it just hit me… this is the final doctor incarnation, after this it end. or so we think. i wonder how they will get around that too because before the end of this decade the show could be over for good…

    • Technically, the doctor has 12 regenerations (13 doctors). but in series 4, when Tennant is struck by a Dalek and uses the DNA from his hand to regenerate to himself, does that count? if so, then Matt is the 12th and the next WILL be the final. Plus we have the whole John Hurt mystery about him being a future doctor, or a time war doctor, so this will be interesting. I hope they dont just glaze over it and do some stupid simple explanation.

      • No, he regrew his hand while he still had the regenerative energy in his body.

        • That would be the first xmas episode, im talking about the series 4 finale. do the research or watch the show to know what people are talking about.

    • They retconned that last season saying that he could regenerate hundreds of times.

      • No, that was intended as a joke, his regenerations are still limited like they’ve always been.

        But as Draagyn points out, we have a few question marks because of Tennant’s partial regeneration and the whole John Hurt mystery.

        Although, I do see an easy way out: it’s been mentioned that in the Time War, Time Lords were given new sets of regenerations (and it was established even before that that you could get new regeneration cycles) so it wouldn’t really be a stretch to think the Doctor had his cycle replenished and got 12 new regenerations when he went into the Time War.

        • Yeah, didn’t The Master have some regenerations added to his life during the Time War to serve as a weapon against the Daleks? He was also brought back waaaay after his last one of those to fight the Tenth. I think it’s really easy to just say The Doctor had more regenerations granted or will. I also think the whole time-locked Time War thing will get revisited and as new technology and a bigger budget for the series happen it will be easier for writers to address it and finally show us what mysteries lie in that section of The Doctor’s history.

          • There’s also a possibility that River gave the Doctor her remaining regenerations when she revived him in Let’s Kill Hitler. That idea seems less likely than what’s been stated but it could be one way they can explain the Doctor receiving more regenerations.

            • River used up all her regenerations to revive what was essentially the recently deceased Doctor. It took all those potential regenerations just to bring him back from the dead, so it is unlikely that this would be a plausible cause for the Doctor to have more regenerations from this.

    • Officially, there are only 12 regenerations possible, but there WILL BE more! They are not going to end the series just because such a limitation had been mentioned at some point in the past… They will find a way, be it a lackluster plot device, to extend his capability to regeneration far beyond the 14th doctor! There will be as many doctors as necessary to keep this show going. Some die-hards will be angry that the writers don’t respect DH lore but these are exactly the people who don’t want to see the show end in the first place! So, no, this is neither the ultimate nor the penultimate regeneration…

      That said, I’m sad that Matt Smith is leaving. I was hoping for a much longer run. If Tennant was this generation’s John Pertwee, Smoth should have been our Tom Baker!

      • I like that generational analogy and wish Matt Smith would have had a Baker-length run!
        But, I can see why he would have wanted to *not* do that for the sake of his career. He’s been quoted as saying such a run as The Doctor would ‘kill him’ or some such undesirable fate, and while it probably wouldn’t destroy his body or soul, he would have to lift himself out from under a very deep association with the character afterwards.
        He’s so young, and quite talented, and I think it was probably very wise to decide to take the accolades and the fan-love and director/crew/cast-love and move on to strike while the iron is hot. Now he’ll have to be careful about projects and put himself out in good work to solidify his reputation. I hope this first US film that Gosling is heading turns out well, because I think Matt Smith deserves continued career success!

    • They can get round that in many ways, in a throw away sentence that doesn’t make sense. Which is how most things happen in the show recently.

  4. I’m actually offended that I can’t watch the videos about the British TV series in this link because I am in the UK.

    • Complain to the BBC then, they hold the rights presumably.

  5. Well, if true, I and a cousin may start watching the show again.

    We stopped watching after Smith’s second episode in the role because the writing got dumber and his acting was atrocious (in a show filled with campy and very bad acting anyway).

    I saw the season 7 finale and yep, Smith was still horrible although Richard E Grant was at his absolute best hamming it up and Jenna Louise-Coleman is still great (I liked her when she played a lesbian barmaid in Emmerdale back in the day).

    With both Smith AND Moffatt leaving, I think I may tune into this 50th Anniversary special and then watch the Christmas special and hope for a good actor to become the 12th.

    • I don’t think it’s a particularly fair assessment to say Smith’s acting is atrocious based only on two episodes (the second of which most everyone has acknowledged as rubbish). While I do understand what you’re getting at (I’m not the biggest fan of how campy he can get) I’d still say his acting was great, but that the writing let him down sometimes. Seriously, his range is pretty amazing – there’s the campy (some say funny) stuff you see, then there are the emotional and angry bits too.

      But in the end of course it does come down to preference. Some people simply don’t like him. But I’d say it takes more than two/three episodes to tell.

      (Oh and Richard E Grant was great in the Christmas special, but hammed it up WAY too much in the finale in my opinion).

  6. Idris Elba

  7. but river gave him the rest of her regenerations and we know she regenerated 3 times so he should have 10 extra ones from her

    • While I mentioned that as a possibility even then I pointed out that it was an unlikely one. Amy told river the she had “used up” all her regenerations to revive the Doctor, not gave them to him. That is one way to explain giving the Doctor more regenerations but there are definitely methods then that one.

  8. you know what i just remembered? the last time river sees the doctor before the library is with eleven! (series 6 DVD extra “Night and the Doctor” shorts) so i guess we wont be seeing that story line! thats very disappointing!

    • Wait, wasn’t it supposed to be the opposite with The Doctor that came to visit River and gave her a sonic screwdriver.

  9. I’m actually pleasantly excited for a new doctor. Their were some great episodes with him, although in the end I stopped watching after awhile. I was never a fan of Amy and what they did with the weeping angels was a let down. A new doctor I hope will peek my interests again to a show that I used to love.

  10. I’m actually pleasantly excited for a new doctor. Their were some great episodes with him, although in the end I stopped watching after awhile. I was never a fan of Amy and what they did with the weeping angels was a let down.

    • I think 4 years is a good time to move on. The central theme of this show is a change of cast including the Doctor. I loved Matt Smith, but this last season was getting stale. I personally think it is time for Moffat to move on too. Alot of his monsters are just about use the same device as the Weeping Angels or the Silence. Creepy looking things that can only touch you if you have your back turned.

      • Also his plots make no sense when you take more than a cursor glance at the inherent logic in them.

  11. Nooo. Thought it was confirmed that he’ll be back for series 8/season 34. Series 5 was probably the best season so far.

  12. Well this stinks! While David Tennant will continue to be my favorite Doctor, I really thought Matt grew into the role. I just hope that his demise isn’t forced and there is a strong story leading up to his regeneration.

  13. “You never forget your first Doctor.”

    Eleven was my first Doctor and the reason I got into the show. I love Ten as well and I definitely cried when I watched his last episode. For sure I will cry during the Christmas special. I will miss his whimsy, the way he deeply cherished his friends, and his intensity when pissed. I’ll miss the bow tie! Most of all though, I will miss his child-like wonder. Here is a man that has been to the ends of time and space, yet he still finds ways to be surprised by our mundane, human lives.

    That said, I am also super excited to see who the next Doctor will be, since there hasn’t been a regeneration since I started watching. Man, though it’s very unlikely, I want him to be ginger!

    • I don’t know bout the first doctor thing. The 7th Doctor was my first but 11th and 3rd was my favorite.

  14. Hmmm. I guess the BBC finally had enough of half seasons and half revenue and forced it. Even profit and loss is mightier than the Time Lord.

    I guess River Song might finally get a chance to be the Time Lord.

    Btw, here’s a Doctor no one talks about too much, http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0001088/. He had two movies as the Doctor.

    • He was Dr. Who, he wasn’t the Doctor, he was meant to be a human scientist, and the movies were based off of 2 stories from the William Hartnell era.

  15. I for one loved Matt as the Doctor. When he was chosen as the 11th Doctor, I was like what, you chose this guy!? But while watching his first episode and especially towards the end of it when he faced down the one eyed alien and proclaimed himself the doctor and the earth was protected. I was like, yeah he pulled that s*** off. He made the role his just like David and Chris did. Am gonna miss him and I hope that Matt has an excellent career afterwards.

    Now who should be the 12th Doctor? Since the news broke I have heard a lot of names getting thrown around from Idris Elba, to Hugh Laurie to Chiwetel Ejiofor. I personally would like to see Chiwetel in role, but I know that s*** ain’t gonna happen but I hope they give him some consideration.

    So who does everyone have on their minds for the 12th Doctor?

  16. I wouldnt mind seeing a little older doctor this time. Maybe someone in their 30s or 40s would be a nice change. They would still be able to do the action scenes, but they would have a different appearance than matt and to an extent david.

  17. There is nothing more ammusing than someone whose never watched the show (myself) read all the comments about 13 doctors, regeneration some dhalek thingies and try to make sense of it all. Not by any means a diss of the show im just totally losed well played dr. Who

  18. I am thrilled we get a new Doctor. My first Doctor was 4, Tom Baker, however since the reboot 10 David Tennant was my favorite. Yes, there has been speculation of a female Doctor, however, that could be just another one of Moffet’s teases. I did remember Tom Baker explaining the number of regenerations and why… however, that was so long ago. Perhaps this is why Clare was reading the History of the Time Lord when she learned the Doctor’s name. If she was on Gallifrey during the choosing of the Tardis, what does that make her… really. Let the speculation continue.

  19. I really think he should stick it out for one more season. While I do think they need more new blood in both the cast AND crew. Mat shouldnt leave after the 50th anniversary and the Christmas special. The next season is perfect to start writeing out that plot points to send him off.

    You know what this season’s issue was? It lacked a great plot point that kept the story going. When he first appeared. He had amy pond the girl who waited and her issues with getting married. That and the cracks in time from the tardish exploding. It was the perfect drive! not to mention that “Silence will fall” helped set up the season after that. In that season we had the silence and Amy’s child to help drive the story. The season after that we had the new companion which was the girl who twice died. To be honest her plot point was not strong enough! Because from there they just made episode ideas up Just until they can get to the season finale just for we can finally see why she died twice. It was cool. But it was not enough to drive a entire season.


  20. Damn Smiths a great Doctor! I will miss him, I liked him as much as David and Baker, as for his “hamming” that would be charm for you folks who don’t have any, This guy had the best charm since the first Doctor. We definitely need new writers, but I still love the show, I don’t need to skip the parts that I didn’t like, I’m not an elitist.

  21. I will miss Matt Smith, but we might not need to worry about missing David Tenant. I have read that a possible end of the 11th doctor is something goes screwy with the regeneration and it works backward…re-introducing David Tennant. This also leaves the possibility as Christopher Eccleston returning after that.
    To me, Eccleston wasn’t given enough credit.
    TTFN Fellow Whovians

  22. It would be great if they got Neil Gaiman to be the next show runner, he ‘gets’ Doctor Who (scripted when TARDIS was downloaded into a woman on the junkyard planet & the recent Cyberman ep), and is an awesome writer in his own right – cf. Sandman series of graphic novels (which I would love to see turn into a BBC CGI and animated series).
    Thought Matt Smith was an excellent doctor, let down by some substandard scripts – loving the interplay between Clara and Doctor Who this past season too.

    • DOubt it will be Gaimen, him being a full time writer and not a TV type chap.

      Gattis might be interesting if he wants it.

  23. Matt Smith grew into the iconic role to emerge as one of the 4 best portrayers of the character–along with Tennant, Baker&Pertwee. But his departure no surprise& for him probably wise. Staying too long risks typecasting&that’s counter-productive for talented, ambitious, younger actors. Successor? If producers want to revert to the older,wiser, patrician but zany formula (Baker/Pertwee/Hartnell the original) then hard to better John Hurt. If they want to be more modern& progressive then a black actor or actress (why not go the whole hog&ring both the ethnic&gender changes?)would be smart move.

  24. Bring back David tennant

  25. Shaun Dingwall should be new Doctor Who.
    Just right for the part!

    • I think that might be a little difficult since he played Rose’s dad.

      • Probably. I just always say to bring back Tennant. he’s not doing much these days, though he’s been in some good stuff. He was in Broadchurch i believe.

        But i’d still just love the drama of him somehow coming back, just within the DW universe, explaining it, seeing how he adjusts, seeing how he reacts to it all..

  26. After the last show in the current series, the BBC put up a splash screen with photo saying “Introducing John Hurt as The Doctor”.

    I don’t see why there is so much debate about who the next Doctor is. Unless they were pedling misinformation, then the next Doctor is John Hurt!

    • Mainly b/c as Eleven said that what was done was not in the name of the Doctor. Which makes me wonder if whatever was done… was done before he named himself the Doctor.

    • I don’t know why people think this. There was no regeneration shown, the was no reasonable cause of death that would make sense.

      Just because it introduced him as the character, does not specifically mean that it is the next incarnation of the Doctor.

    • He ISN’T ‘THE’ new doctor, he is ‘A’ new doctor.

      There is no way on God’s green earth they have JOHN HURT playing a FULL series of TV Doctor Who.

      A bit of thought, mate.

  27. I just started watching the show in January so I’m a relatively new fan. My favorite Doctor is of course Ten and then Eleven is right behind him. I will definitely miss Matt when he leaves. I wasn’t sure about him at first but he really grew on me.

    Since Moffat took over and with the Ponds I’ve really felt like they “domesticated” the Doctor a bit… which was both good and not so good. Like most people I’ve been disappointed with the 2nd half of this season but with “The Name of the Doctor” they redeemed themselves a bit. I’m just wondering what happened… I mean was it b/c the Ponds left half way through the season that threw everything out of whack and they just didn’t know what to do except bring Clara back a third time? I haven’t even been really impressed with this incarnation of her either… there’s nothing about her character that truly stands out. At least in “The Snowmen” she was a bit fun and flirty.

    I definitely am looking forward to the 50th anniversary and the new Doctor.

  28. Dr who will be black in his next incarnation

  29. I hope they cast the next Doctor before the Christmas special and show him in the episode cause I really hate the speculating period. Always love 11 and Matt’s acting. Just not too crazy with season 6 despite some really good episode.

    • I think the next Doctor should be J.J. Abrams! Lol

      • Not only that, but he should also write an entire season and direct it as well. Also, how about making him the next companion?