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Published on June 1st, 2013 | by Christian Cawley

Matt Smith to Leave the TARDIS!

The big Doctor Who announcement has been leaked – Matt Smith is leaving the show.

Expected to be formally confirmed by the BBC and various outlets at midnight, we have been told that the item would feature on the front cover of at least two pages, so planned to tune into the Sky News newspaper review at 10.30pm. In the event, the Sunday Mail’s cover has been published…

BBC Confirms Matt Smith Leaving Doctor Who

And the Telegraph website has run the story. Someone was bound to break it early, and this has now happened. Also, The Times’ cover plays with the old JNT “lady Doctor” nonsense.

Matt will apparently leave the TARDIS “after the Christmas special”.

Although in the meantime, switch BBC One on now in advance of the 10.30 news bulletin… or read below for the official press statement.

The BBC is today announcing that Matt Smith is to leave Doctor Who after four incredible years on the hit BBC One show. Matt first stepped into the TARDIS in 2010 and will leave the role at the end of this year after starring in the unmissable 50th Anniversary in November and regenerating in the Christmas special. During his time as the Doctor, Matt has reached over 30 million unique UK viewers and his incarnation has seen the show go truly global. He was also the first actor to be nominated for a BAFTA in the role.

Matt quickly won over fans to be voted Best Actor by Readers of Doctor Who Magazine for the 2010 season. He also received a nod for his first series at the National Television Awards, before winning the Most Popular Male Drama Performance award in 2012.

Matt has played one of the biggest roles in TV with over 77 million fans in the UK, USA and Australia alone!

Matt Smith says: “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 realise 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 honour 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.”

Steven Moffat, lead writer and executive producer, says : “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 behaviour 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!”

Having starred alongside three different companions, Amy Pond (Karen Gillan), Rory Williams (Arthur Darvill) and most recently Clara Oswald (Jenna Coleman), Matt’s Doctor has fought Daleks and Cybermen, as well as Weeping Angels in New York. Regularly heard shouting ‘run’ and ‘Geronimo’, through Matt’s Doctor fans have been introduced to a new culinary combination – fish fingers and custard!

Matt’s spectacular exit is yet to be revealed and will be kept tightly under wraps. He will return to BBC One screens in the unmissable 50th anniversary episode on Saturday 23rd November 2013 – TUNE IN!

The BBC’s official Doctor Who site also mentions quotes from Jenna and a video from Matt Smith coming over the next few days… so, how do you feel now?

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About the Author

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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+.




40 Responses to Matt Smith to Leave the TARDIS!

  1. avatar Spider-pope says:

    “(*”!! *(“)!!**&”!! MOTHER(*£&!!
    I knew it’d be this and i’m gutted. First Tennant leaves too soon, now Smith. Really, really disappointed by this news.

  2. avatar John Shandler says:

    He has been a great, great Doctor. I have been thoroughly unimpressed with Steven Moffat’s tenure as showrunner, but one thing he got spot on was casting this brilliant actor in the role. I don’t think that people will appreciate how good he has been until a few years have passed. A fantastic ambassador for the show too! One of the best!

  3. avatar authorman94 says:

    Matt’s had a great run as the Doctor and is definitely my favourite of the new series Doctors. Not to mention having the strongest debut for any Doctor in years (“The Eleventh Hour”) and, despite Series 7 being inconsistent overall, getting some dramatic work in that series that showed off his calibre as an actor (the speech in The Rings of Akhaten, his conversation about “ghosts” with Clara in Hide). I’m very sad he’s going because I’ve grown a bit attached to his Doctor, but at the same time, him going allows another great actor to follow in the footsteps of eleven great actors and play one of the most iconic roles of all time.

    Godspeed Doctor Eleven, you will be missed and here’s to a happy future for Doctor Who!

  4. avatar Steven Moffat says:

    They’re lying.

    • avatar zarbisupremo says:

      If you’re Steven Moffat, then I’m Tom Baker.


  5. I was looking forward to having at least one more season with Smith, and suddenly he’s only got two episodes left and only one more that has yet to be filmed. This is disappointing.

    • avatar Maria says:

      Yeah I know. Its like we’ve been cheated. Still lets enjoy those 2 episodes. I have stopped counting down for the 50th. The thought of 11th regenerating in Christmas of all times is rather glum. Good luck Matt!

  6. avatar FrancoPabloDiablo says:

    gutted!

  7. avatar TimeChaser says:

    I don’t know whether to believe this or not. He said he was on for Season 8. Unless that was a way of deflecting attention from what they were really planning. Bah!

    • avatar Bob James says:

      That’s my only misgiving here. It’s his choice, and I thank him for his contribution, and wish him all the best. I, for one, will miss him. But why state that he was staying for Series 8 and then announce his departure? Was this a VERY recent turn of events, a recent decision? Herald the next (12th?) Doctor!

  8. avatar DWFanPenn says:

    Technically the Christmas special this year is part of Series 8 so he didn’t really lie.

    However, I’m gutted by this news. Matt Smith’s a brilliant actor and a brilliant Doctor — if I had a favorite it’d be him. I was hoping he’d make or break Tom Baker’s record run of 7 years but I guess that’s a bit much…

    Godspeed, Matt Smith. It was wonderful seeing you as the Doctor, and I wish you well in all future prospects!

  9. avatar yoyosi23 says:

    I know that this is the way of things….but Matt – I don’t want you to go!

  10. avatar Bob James says:

    He was spectacular, wasn’t he? At least we get two more stories with him.

  11. avatar drew says:

    I’m shocked by this news…I thought everyone was set to come back for 8. This might turn out to be the saddest Christmas special in years! I’ve heard rumors that Ben Daniels is being considered for Doctor 12 (…or 13?!) and he would be EXCELLENT!!!

  12. avatar vortexter says:

    Matt Smith. The floppy haired boy I’d never heard of who turned into an amazing Doctor and easily in my top three of favourite incarnations. I wish we had another season but he’ll go out on a high I’m sure. Matt Smith, all the best my friend. You have a great future ahead of you and to take a quote from your first story,’ Who Da Man?’ – You Da Man!

  13. avatar barry whysall says:

    matt was a great doctor but the time is right , now its time for the moff to GO to ,lets start with a fresh new team

  14. avatar David F says:

    He’s been wonderful. Now the wheel turns. Bring it on. The mythology deepens.

  15. avatar Bob James says:

    It is up to the BBC, and/or Steven Moffat, and no one else, as to when it’s time for him to go. As far as this fan is concerned, I hope he has the job as long as he wants it. He’s been brilliant, and I’m looking forward to where he’ll take the show with a new Doctor alongside Clara in Series 8.

  16. avatar Alyssa says:

    As a fan of the show, I’m saddened. As a fan of Matt Smith’s, I’m terribly excited! He’s going to do great things.
    And I’m sure whomever is cast as 12 will be brilliant.

  17. avatar Tina says:

    Noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo I’m going to cry now

  18. avatar Andrew G. Dick says:

    Well, here we go again…

    I am sad. Matt has been brilliant and even though the Moffat era has been inconsistent, Matt himself has been the one saving grace of this era. I was sure he would leave at the end of Series 8 but the fact he only has two episodes left (one already in the can), is a bit of a shock. Though I thought the “Regenerations” box set was a dead give away to this.

    Kind of ironic that Jon Pertwee announced he was leaving at the end of 1973, Peter Davison make his announcement about this time in 1983. A good twist for the 50th.

    Thanks for the last 4 years Matt. Bow ties are definitely cooler now!

  19. avatar Gruff says:

    Good luck Matt and thank you for more than exceeding any expectations. You were not anyone’s first guess as the Eleventh when cast, but now you are still only moving onwards and upwards career wise. No actor has been so dedicated to the role and Who-lore from day one (David Tennant was already a long term fan) of being cast.
    We are truly lucky to have had you over the years.

    It’s now down to Steven Moffat and Andy Prior to find someone equally as good to continue your good work. Fingers crossed that there is as committed an actor ready to take on the role. Hopefully Steven Moffat can set them up with a great first series before he chooses to hand over the reins to some other poor fool who won’t be as appreciated.

    Funny how (in the nu-Who era) we get lesser known actors cast as the Doctor, who then become household names, but when fandom’s hero writter became the show-runner he gets slated for his efforts.

  20. avatar Scott says:

    Well, this news defies the laws of physics by both blowing and sucking at the same time!!!!! I thought he said he was doing series 8? This is horrible news. I think something else was going on behind the scenes…

  21. avatar Scott says:

    This news has taken the thrill of the 50th away from me a bit. Anyone else feel like this? I thought Matt Smith was the best of the current Doctors.

    • avatar David F says:

      He’s brilliant, but Doctor Who changes and I wouldn’t want that to stop, because that’s what makes it great. In the space of a month, we’ll have a tribute to the past and a doorway to the future. Not only do we get a special party episode, but we also get a landmark Christmas one. Not a bad deal at all.

  22. avatar Zoe says:

    Definitely my favourite new series doctor and maybe one of my favourite doctor at all. You will be missed Matt!

  23. avatar CatPiper says:

    Well, I’m all sad now. Matt Smith has been consistently brilliant. As far as I was concerned he could have stayed for ever……

  24. avatar Elm says:

    I have a huge crush on Matt Smith as the Doctor since I think he is perfect at it. I was totally stunned and heartbroken to hear the news since I thought he was staying through season 8. However, it totally makes sense with them wrapping up River’s story arc and the whole fall of the eleventh and the lack of any resolution along that angle in this last episode. I really feel that him dying will make the finale very epic and awesome even if I know it will break my heart. I’m super excited and super sad at the same time – typical for me when it comes to changes in this series.

    I can’t wait to see Matt in other things since he’s a great actor and I can’t wait to see what a new Doctor brings to the series.

  25. avatar glotzfisch says:

    I sort of feared that news for weeks now… somehow it was in the air. But while I’m very sad seeing Matt leave I think it’s also a good time for him do go on and start something new, something completely different.
    It’s change that makes life interesting. That goes for the Doctor and for the actors in it. Looking forward to seeing Matt in other roles (will definitely watch “Christopher and his kind” some time soon) and looking forward to a (hopefully) completely different doctor.

  26. avatar lozzer says:

    Here we go again…

  27. avatar callinton says:

    I was really hoping for one more series, maybe under a new show runner. I thought when Tennant left he seemed tired and so did the show. The Moffat era is getting old now (although 7B has rejuvenated it somewhat) but three series in and Matt just keeps getting better and better. He’s still fresh, surprising and inventive. He’s just a joy to watch and lifts every episode he’s in. A bad day at work capped off by this news. Bugger. Still, leave them wanting more I guess. Let’s raise a glass to Smith’s big face!

  28. avatar Jon Roberts says:

    I think its the right time to move on, 3 years in the role is probably long enough to keep the actor and audiences interested. Good luck to Matt, and good luck to the Moff for choosing the next Doctor.

  29. avatar castellanspandrel says:

    Is it my imagination or is it 1983 all over again? The current Doctor quits during the summer before the anniversary special.

    It feels like he’s going too soon. Maybe it’s because the last few years have gone by incredibly fast for me, or because he’s still young and so still feels like he’s the newcomer. Whatever – I would’ve have liked at least one more season out of him, preferably with another show runner just to see if they could bring out other aspects of his character, not as a boring anti-Moffat thing.

    In fact, when he finishes he’ll have done the same number of programmes as Tennant, bar 2 specials, so perhaps that’s become the typical length for a modern Doctor.

    And while it feels like the wrong time for the programme and the fans, it’s certainly the right time for Matt Smith to move on following his casting in a Hollywood film and his own confident directorial debut on Sky Playhouse the other night. I wish him well and thank him for being the best Doctor since Tom Baker.

  30. avatar Spacephantom says:

    I’m really sorry to hear this news. For me Matt Smith really only got properly into the role in series 7b, and I was sure his best was yet to come in series 8. Not to be though. A real pity.

  31. avatar Geoff says:

    It’s so good to see even people who haven’t enjoyed this era as much as I have acknowledging what an excellent casting choice Steven Moffat made with Matt Smith. I’m very disappointer that he’s moving on. Every year he has grown into the role more and has constantly brought new aspects to his performance. I can understand why Matt wants to move on now and wish him well.

    I am tempering my disappointment with these thoughts:
    The Christmas special which could have been a bit of an anti climax after the 50th has now suddenly become a lot more exciting and this means that if you include John Hurt (and I do) we are going to see four Doctors this year in the flesh. Maybe this has been planned for a while. I’ve always thought that if a multi Doctor story coincided with a regeneration year we might be able to see the future Doctor before he appears. They just missed out on this on the 20th and knowing Steven Moffats predilection for timey wimey stories who knows. I know there are a million good reasons for not introducing the new Doctor this way but it’s a fun thought.

  32. avatar Caity says:

    Thank God. I hated him as the Doctor.

    • avatar castellanspandrel says:

      Why not tell us why, Caity, instead of just the dismissive comment?

  33. avatar Caity says:

    Fair enough. He played the Doctor all wrong as a bumbling, gurning idiot. Admittedly this might not be Matt Smith’s fault, it could be the writing and the direction that Steven Moffat wanted him to go in. But on top of that he couldn’t act – just look at the completely embarrassing scenes in the Cyberman story in 7B where he is possessed. Absolutely cringe-making. And there are other examples, too numerous too mention. He was too young for the role – but that is Steven Moffat’s fault for casting him.

  34. avatar castellanspandrel says:

    Thanks, Caity. I don’t agree with you – at least not 100% (see below) – but it’s always better to see someone supporting their opinion rather than just giving it, as it makes for a more interesting site.

    I think he can act and did it very well on the whole. However, I did cringe at some of those scenes where he played chess against his Cyber-self and also when he shouted at the sun (?!) of Akhaten. But those moments, as scripted, would defeat just about any actor, and sometimes the writers get carried away with themselves and forget that some poor bugger has to read the lines they write.

    As Harrison Ford once said to George Lucas: “You can type this shit, but you can’t say it.”

  35. avatar Caity says:

    I am actually quite sad that I couldn’t like him in the role, because I did start off thinking he was going to be (to quote the 9th Doctor) “Fantastic” – I really liked him in “The Eleventh Hour”.

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