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Published on April 8th, 2011 | by Christian Cawley

In for the “Long Haul”?

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!



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About the Author


A long-term Doctor Who fan, Christian grew up watching the show and has early memories of the Graham Williams era. His favourite stories are Inferno, The Seeds of Doom and Human Nature (although The Empty Child, Blink and Utopia all come close). When he’s not bossing around the news team, Christian is a freelance writer specialising in mobile technology and domestic computing, and enjoys classic rock, cooking and spending time in the countryside with his wife and young children. You can find him on Twitter, Facebook and Google+.

4 Responses to In for the “Long Haul”?

  1. avatar Andrew says:

    Great to here, I can see Matt staying for at least another 2 or 3 seasons after this.

  2. avatar 23skidoo says:

    It should also be noted, however, that Smith has also said he’s taking things season by season. If the right opportunity presents itself, he may take it. (Though granted if the BBC is flexible enough to let him do side projects, that’ll lessen the temptation; this also goes for Karen Gillan being signed to do a couple of movies during what presumably will be filming breaks for her on Doctor Who). We also have to bear in mind that Tom Baker, it’s generally acknowledged, overstayed his welcome, so I think the key is timing it right. Tennant stayed for four seasons as far as I’m concerned — I count the specials as a short season, just like Children of Earth was — so that’s the target for Smith to reach. A lot will also depend on what Moffat has planned, or if the BBC’s budget issues result in a gap year along the way. An interesting carrot might be letting Smith write or co-write an episode, which is unprecedented but would be really cool.

  3. avatar Rick says:

    I don’t really feel Baker over-stayed his welcome as far as the fans were concerned. He hurt his career by staying as long as he did though. Smith is very “mercurial” and yeah, it wasn’t that long ago that he was a lot more tentative on how long he’d stay. Realistically, I don’t expect him to hurt is future by staying 6 or 7 years. I’d be happy if he simply stayed through the 2013 50th anniversary season,regenerating at the end which would mean him staying for four seasons. If they do that ridiculous year of specials again for the fifth year, I’d hope he’d stay on and regenerate and the end of that. I really didn’t like the year of specials mostly because it really disrupts the flow of the show, I feel. Or at the very least, if they do it again, give a little bit more reasonable spacing between the specials so we don’t have to wait 8 months in between.

  4. avatar REECE says:

    iam so sory you leving doctor who so sose man i have got all the dvds of you your the best you rool for ever man

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