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.
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.