Doctor Who fans have wanted a long-running star in the TARDIS since about, oooh, 1981, when the legendary Tom Baker finally said goodbye to the show for 30-odd years.
Since then there have been various hopes and what-ifs but in the end none of the actors that followed Tom’s Fourth Doctor felt comfortable with or were able to carry on longer than three or four years. While Paul McGann and Sylvester McCoy were technically the Doctor while the show was off-screen, if they had been starring in an actual produced show during those periods things might have been very different.
So it puts a smile on my face when I read that Matt Smith isn’t planning on leaving Doctor Who anytime soon.
“It’s certainly not a part I want to give up anytime soon, and I love playing it… I’m still the new boy”
“There’s a long way to go if I’m going to cement a place in Doctor Who folklore like Tom Baker, David Tennant, Patrick Troughton and people like that.”
Bless him for having such an attitude, one that might well have been helped by his appearance and success in Christopher and His Kind recently, a biopic of writer Christopher Isherwood’s time in pre-WW2 Berlin that gave Smith the opportunity to do something different that Tom Baker or Patrick Troughton perhaps wouldn’t have dared do (or be banned from doing) while starring in the series.
When Doctor Who returned in 2005, a BBC journalist asked Christopher Eccleston is he was in it “for the long haul”. Interestingly Eccleston – who at this point hadn’t been announced as leaving – answered “I’ve done the long haul”. No one batted an eyelid, but it is good to see that Matt Smith has a competitive edge and is under no illusion that to overcome the shadow of David Tennant (one that is still cast in certain quarters) he has to be an exceptional Doctor.
If you consider how successfully Tom Baker managed to replace the huge personality that was Jon Pertwee, there is no reason why Matt shouldn’t be able to repeat this feat!