‘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
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  1. I think it would be interesting if the doctor regenerated and looked something similar to a past doctor, I’d like to see Sean Pertwee take over as the doctor.

    He looks a lot like his father (Jon Pertwee) and it would be a nice throwback.

    • That’d be awesome.

    • I’d love to see Sean Pertwee as the Doctor as well! Jon Pertwee is my favorite of the Doctors.

  2. Sorry to hear he is leaving, but it is the gate of all The Doctors to eventually change. Wouldn’t Clara already know he is changing as she went through his entire timeline (past and future)?

    • That is only true if the last episode made any sense.

      It didn’t.

      Utter bunkum.

      I’m still upset over it.

  3. Number 12…… The first female Doctor?

    Helen Mirren expressed interest at one point. That would be amazing!

    • If a women was to play The Doctor I’d rather they choose Jaime Murray

      • Snap! Id second THAT in a heartbeat!

      • Between Defiance, a reoccurring role Warehouse 13, and her movie Jaime Murray has a full plate.

        Speaking of women to play the role of the Doctor, there is the Doctor’s marriage to River…. that might be interesting, since they are on different timelines.

        Hopefully Clara will stay around she is such a good fit for the show.

        • Warehouse 13 is cancelled so that wouldn’t be a problem when they are finished shooting.


    • Anyone.

    • I never felt it was the writing which has been brilliant IMHO. A script is only as good as the actors interpretation of the writing and what the director can do with what an actor brings to the character.

      • I’m guess you don’t mind a few plot holes then Alice.

  5. I’d like to see Colin Salmon pick up the role of The Doctor, when the BBC were picking the roles Colin expressed interest in playing The Doctor.

    • better prepare your stomach

    • If only. I’d love an older Doctor, though not sure if Hurt would deliver a little quirkiness. You need serious, but not seriously camp – or dark and dank like Eccleston. Rhind-Tutt, or Whishaw would be good, but I’m open to a complete surprise, I enjoy the others all their other outings. Can I ask though that the next series actually employs some good sci-fi writing, and not have any episodes based on Earth – after all there’s a whole galaxy out there…

  6. I would like to see Philip Glenister as the new doctor although if they give it to a woman then I reckon Katherine Kelly would be great.

  7. I wish he would regennerate back into Tennant. Jamie Murray would be awesome, if different. Helen Mirren too.

  8. Michael Obiora? The guy who played staff nurse Lloyd Asike in Casualty?

    Only say this as pure wild speculation because if chosen, he’d be the first black Doctor, I could see him in the role easily (and way better than Matt Smith was) plus if I add 2+2 and get 5, Lloyd in the storylines has mentioned that he wanted to retrain as a doctor and in last night’s episode got the call to confirm he had the opportunity to do so.

    Like I said, wild speculation here.

  9. I like Matt Smith as the Doctor. He has been good and had some great episodes. Unfortunately, my interest has gradually wained due to some of the poor story telling and convoluted plot arcs: whatever happened to just having a normal companion who has adventures with the Doctor, rather than them having some deeper secret hidden link with him? And as for the majority of stories set on Earth and lack of diversity in the characters the least said the better. However, I put this down to Moffat rather than Smith. Smith has done the best he can with the material he is given IMHO.

    As for who will replace him, while it has been hinted at (in The Doctor’s Wife) that timelords can change gender occasionally, I don’t think they will do that this time. They may try and shake things up and have the first black Doctor (I know that Edris Elba, Adrian Lester and Colin Salmon have all had their names mentioned before Smith was cast). It would be great if they went ginger this time!

    Personally here are some of my picks as to who I think would be good:

    Adrian Lester (Hustle, The Day After Tomorrow)
    Eddie Redmayne (Les Miserables)
    Robert Sheehan (MIsfits)

    And just for fun: Simon Pegg

    I think they again will go for a young actor, because I think it was established during William Hartnell/Patrick Troughton’s tenure that when a timelord regenerates his body becomes younger (although don’t quote me on that). It makes sense though within the mythology of the show (as well as from a production stand point. young actors could foreseeably play the character for years and years and years if so inclined, even though it hasn’t really happened as they want to go and do other things).

    Whoever they get, I think Moffat has acknowledged that the story telling needs to change, although I swear I read online somewhere that he said he was thinking of leaving as the time involved in writing and producing the show is taking it out of him.

    • Like I said, Michael Obiora would be a good fit.

      He’s young (doesn’t turn 27 until October), has experience filming in Cardiff (that’s where Casualty has filmed for years, as has Doctor Who) and is still a relative unknown to the wider public like David Tennant and Matt Smith were.

      • Reading more about him, he appeared in Doctor Who in 2007. Interesting….

        But yeah, Moffat said a while ago he’d be leaving after the christmas special. Screen Rant named his successor at the time of the announcement.

    • Sylvester McCoy was not younger than Colin Baker. Peter Davison was the youngest to play the Doctor at that point and since then the actors were older. So no, youth is not essential. What is a essential is a decent actor and good writers!

      • Which is what the show has been lacking since Davis and Tennant left.

        Seems like the “youth is essential” people are those who only started watching midway through the Tennant run while everyone else would agree that good acting is what counts (although lets be honest, the show has never been known for good acting, not until Paul McGann, Christopher Eccleston and David Tennant took the role).

        • I have a friend who regular writes for another geeky forum and she made several good points about Moffat and his writing. Firstly – whenever he has a story in the future, it’s always in the 51st century. Secondly – he comes across as a bit sexist due to how he treats his female characters (they may be strong willed, independent and totally kick ass, but then they meet the doctor and go all googly-eyed and rely on him too much as well as willing to sacrifice everything for him). Lastly, he really doesn’t like having ethnically diverse characters in his stories. With the exception of Blink, he episodes he wrote before he became the main man aren’t actually that good. It’s just that they were surrounded by other episodes that were extremely well written so people didn’t notice as much.

          I would love to see them introduce another companion, someone totally unrelated to The Doctor or Clara, just to add something different. Maybe another girl (trivia question – has the Doctor ever travelled with two girls at the same time?).

          I would love for Neil Gaiman to write some more episodes and get Peter Jackson on the phone; he’s already stated on more than one occasion that he would love to direct an episode.

      • Obviously it’s not a hard and fast rule, otherwise he could conceivably regenerate into a teenager! lol

  10. A jab at “the younger generation” rollseyes typical elitist followed up by only the new stuff had good acting! shakes head! laughing! Moron!
    Oh I peed a little.

  11. Freddie Fox would be great, or going a bit leftfield Derek Jacobi or Keeley Hawes… Idris Elber would be so cool as The Doctor as well… Its a shame Matt Smith is leaving though, I liked him a lot as the Doc at least there will be a couple more episodes.

  12. There will not be a female Doctor for many years, a fan asked that question at the 2011 comic con and the writers and cast said that it would be hard to make work since River Song was so brilliant, and they felt like she really was like a female Doctor. Not saying it will never happen but I think they will wait a while

  13. there is another Time Lord,Jenny the Doctors daughter

    • i would love for them to bring her back. maybe have her travel with the Doctor for a little bit

  14. If John Hurt is the next Doctor that would be very cool. He can chew scenery with the best of them and for the five or so seconds he appeared in the last episode he owned the scene.

    • John Hurt is a total legend. That was the one thing about that episode that I liked. Having rewatched that scene over and over again, I really think that he is a past incarnation of the Doctor rather than a future one, as Matt Smith commented on something he HAD done, rather than something he was GOING to do. Maybe he was the original being who then regenerated into William Hartnell’s first Doctor.

      One things for sure, John Hurt is definitely going to elevate the anniversary special to a very high level.

      • Agreed.

        He was also the only thing about Merlin that I liked.

        Every time I hear that distinctive voice, I know I’m in for a treat. It’s a shame he hasn’t been knighted like Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen and Derek Jacobi have because I’d put him on the same level as them.

        • True. He is definitely on par with those guys and yet no knighthood. Maybe we should start a petition. He’s long overdue.

  15. EDDIE MARSAN – the wackiness of Smith and Tennant has been great fun but I think it’s time for a real change of character and let’s get sinister! Eddie would be perfect.

    • I agree. I definitely think a little less wacky, a bit more darkness, and a better looking Tardis interior

  16. Just had a thought after rewatching Sherlock. What about Andrew Scott (the guy who played Moriarty) as the new doctor?

  17. While I’m sad that Smith is stepping down, because I quite enjoyed him as the Doctor, the show must go on. I’m eager to see which actor they’re going to get to play the Twelfth Doctor.

    Personally, I’d like to see someone a bit older portray the Doctor for change. My top 2 picks would be Patrick Stewart and Rowan Atkinson, although that’s quite unlikely.

  18. Someone unknown and older would be good. We need an older doctor for a change. Also someone unknown would be good as it is about the show not about the actor who plays the doctor.

  19. I`ve been an avid Doctor Who fan for years now but Matt Smith will be no big loss to the series as I never liked his portrayal of our favorite Doctor anyway. I just hope that the BBC get it right this time around and choose a decent actor to play the next Doctor – Sean Pertwee would be the perfect replacement for Smith and Sean always wanted to play Doctor Who one day. So come on BBC SEAN PERTWEE for DOCTOR #12.

  20. Well, reading this was certainly emotional! :’)

  21. Been reading Who-fan comments for a while now; finally decided to jump in. I only started watching the show a year or so ago. My son insisted I watch “Blink”. From there we watched it out of order but got all the new stuff watched. I liked Eccleston & Tennant. Have never seen the others and won’t. Matt Smith is far and away the best of the three. He really gives a solid performance each outing. And that I appreciate. Personally, I love his youth, exuberance and energy. (Mark my words, we’ll miss that when he’s gone.) He somehow makes you see the true wonder of opening up the Tardis doors anew and embracing whatever he finds. Or confronting it, whatever the situation calls for. Yet he manages somehow to make you remember who he is: an old man. yes, but not just an old man. An old Time Lord. The Last Time Lord. And the Last Time Lord at his own hand. We get that he had to do what he did but it weighs heavily on him. Sometimes, for me at least, all that comes through in just a look. What faces! He’s entertaining as hell–what more can you ask?!
    That said, I won’t regenerate with him. I won’t watch the Anniversary or Christmas specials. I don’t care who the next Doctor will be. IMO I hate the way the whole story has arced. I don’t care who John Hurt is explained as or what he did or why he did it. It would have been soooo much better to not go there. The Doctor has secrets. Secrets that he doesn’t discuss with anybody. Secrets that must never be revealed. Can’t we just leave it at that? That was part of the charm of the character. Integral, really, to what drives him. And it should have stayed that way.
    The writers, all a talented bunch, should just have given us solid single episode stories. Certainly while keeping the Doctor’s motivation in the fore, and for that matter, the companion’s too, but c’mon, we’re talking about the UNIVERSE outside those Tardis doors! Less soap-opera, more sci-fi, please. So I won’t be journeying on.
    That said, I think 11 should have as abrupt a regen as fans got when first we were told Smith was signed on for season 8 oh, wait, he’s off the show BAM! Not much loyalty shown by a young actor to what was coalescing into a strong fan base and a known name. I guess that’s youth for you. But Mr. Smith, Mr. Matt Smith, might just ask himself what exactly have Tennant and Eccleston done since their too-brief terms as the Doctor? But I digress. My point is: just regenerate. No falderol. No big emotional send-off. No final good-byes. No knowing looks passing between Clara, whatever she be (bc that was not explained at all) and the Doctor, no tears, no regrets. Just do it. In the heat of battle, when he’s pulling out all the stops, when we glimpse the Doctor as Mighty Warrior, when we see at last that arrogant Time Lord who “killed them all”, reluctantly, but he did it, when simple, human Clara is staring, properly awe-struck at a man she loves but suddenly realizes doesn’t know at all, he can go out screaming, GGGEEERRROOONNNNI–and finish as the new Doctor, IIMMMOOO!!! What you think?

    • David Tennant had a very successful run as Hamlet on stage alongside Patrick Stewart after his tenure on Doctor Who finished, but I don’t suppose that counts. He’s also recently won an Emmy, as did Christopher Eccleston in 2011, but I don’t suppose that counts. The fact that Tennant went back to doing theatre work (something he was very successful in before he played The Doctor) means that he hasn’t done anything of note does it? As for Eccleston, GI Joe movie and appearing in the new Thor movie obviously doesn’t count either.

      You obviously view acting work only note-worthy if it’s constantly in the public eye. You obviously don’t haven’t done your research and found that apart from Tom Baker (who played the Doctor for 7 seasons, still a record), most actors are only in the role for 3 or 4 seasons before moving on as they want to do other projects and don’t want to be typecast.

      You should read the interview that Christopher Eccleston gave as to his reasons for leaving the show and you will see some of the ridiculous constraints and conditions the actor playing The Doctor has to put up with in this modern incarnation of the show.

      Not trying to knock you; you’re obviously entitled to your opinion. However, it might serve you to actually do some research and get some facts to help you.

  22. What makes me more upset about Matt Smith leaving is that it was established a long time ago that there could only be 12 Doctors before he couldn’t regerate any more & will die for real. Does this mean that the next Doctor will be the last?

    • I think it’s 13 regenerations, so we technically have two left. However, in my reading, it states that a timelord is able to use the eye of harmony (the star in the centre of the Tardis) to gain extra regenerations.

      • Everyone keeps looking in the wrong direction. Although there are only 12 regeneration cycles for a Timelord, as mentioned in “Trial of a Timelord”, we have no idea how many regenerations The Doctor has now. Since he did a reboot of the universe, was infused with the 10 or so regenerations of River Song, and has been the Lord President of the High Council of Timelords, he may have an unlimited number of regenerations left. Remember in the episode “The End of Time”, Rasillon was President of the Timelords, even though he had died centuries earlier. Unless of course, the events of the ‘Time War’ took place before The Doctor left Gallifrey in the TARDIS. But that would be a huge paradox wouldn’t it.
        I believe that the November Anniversary Special will clear up all of the loose ends. The Pandorica, The Silence, Omega, River Song, etc.
        A lot of answers in just 2 hours, but Clara knows. After all, she knows the real name of The Doctor………. SPOILERS!

  23. As it’s science fiction, I fully expect the writers to come up with some loophole. For instance, “did I say 12 regenerations? I meant 12 hexadecimal!”

  24. I trust Steve Moffat. He’s proven himself for years. Whoever he picks will be awesome.

  25. I have read so many posts on the topic of the blogger lovers except this paragraph is genuinely a fastidious article, keep it up.

  26. I would love to see CALLUM BLUE as the new doctor !!! Check out ‘dead like me’ on youtube ?

  27. This Dr has been the worst since Sylvester Macoy. This DR Matt b
    Smith lacks the dark menacing side of the time lords lie when the Dr Tennant when he took on the Queen of the Racnos, It’ s past time to go Mr Smith.