Talk about leftfield! Relative unknown Matt Smith – younger viewers may recognise him from the television adaptations of Philip Pullman’s novels that starred Billie Piper, such as The Ruby in the Smoke – is the Eleventh Doctor, the BBC has confirmed.
So it’s not Hugh Grant, it’s not Chiwetel Ejiofor, and it’s not Paterson Joseph (sorry, everyone).
Matt Smith is the name, he’s the man, and he is the Eleventh Doctor – at just 26 years old. That just beats the casting of Pater Davison in 1980 who was 29 when filming began.
Announced during a special Doctor Who Confidential, Smith is compared prior to his announcement with Peter Davison and Tom Baker – and it will be fascinating to see how the youngest ever actor to play the Doctor shapes up.
"I’ve got this wonderful journey in front of me where I’ve got this six months to build this Time Lord – and that’s such an exciting prospect."
Piers Wenger, head of drama at BBC Wales, told Doctor Who Confidential that as soon as he had seen Smith’s audition he "knew he was the one".
"It was abundantly clear that he had that ‘Doctor-ness’ about him," he said. "You are either the Doctor or you are not."
Wow – what a day, and what an astonishing piece of casting!
And with the new Doctor named, casting attention turns to his companion – or companions. After all, someone has to join the new Doctor in the TARDIS, don’t they?