Tonight, silence will fall.
Matt Smith, the Eleventh Doctor, regenerates in The Time of the Doctor, written by Steven Moffat. He first appeared in 2010, the youngest actor to take on the role, making his debut briefly in The End of Time before announcing himself properly as the Doctor in The Eleventh Hour. In three incredible series and a ground-breaking 50th anniversary special, the Doctor’s eaten fish fingers and custard, made friends and enemies, battled Daleks and Cybermen, and proved that bow ties are cool.
We asked the Kasterborous team how they’ll remember Matt Smith’s Eleventh Doctor.
Fondly! I see a lot of myself in that man – socially awkward, an old man in a young man’s body, little-to-no dress sense, mind-of-its-own hair, a passion for bunk beds… He’s more fun than I am, though. I will remember him for all these things, plus his energy, and the wiry way in which he ‘dances’ through his adventures, almost oblivious to the chaos around him. He’s going to be a hard act to follow…
He burst onto the scene in what, for me, has to be the most assured debut from anyone who ever played the part, fully demonstrating why Moffat and co were prepared to take what must have been a hell of a risk in casting one so young. His tenure has, for me, been a little too whimsical at times, the ‘fairy tale’ element not quite in keeping with how I see the show. But I can’t deny it was right for the Eleventh Doctor’s character, and it was a treat to see the journey of Amy Pond and the Raggedy Man played out from beginning to end. I have a friend with young children, too young even to remember Tennant, who tells me they simply adore Matt Smith, that he’ll always be ‘their Doctor’. I think those kids are going to need a hug come Christmas night…
Matt Smith’s Doctor was my first Doctor, and even though I’ve loved pieces of all the other incarnations, the Eleventh is my Doctor. What I’ll always remember the most from Matt Smith’s terrific performances is how full of hope Smith’s Doctor was; the Doctor, at his best, brings hope to all those that he crosses paths with. While Smith gets plenty of nods about how he looks young but plays an old Doctor, I’d say that his playing of the Doctor always had a bit of child-like wonderment; not unlike the look upon a child’s face on Christmas morning when you can see that for that child, anything is possible. So, definitely that. Also, the whole dialogue from The Eleventh Hour, as I’m not sure any other actor could have spun the lines from Moffat’s pen with as much excellence as Smith did.
At first, I was not a fan of the Eleventh Doctor. He was too young and too hyperactive. He seemed to be doing a bad David Tennant impression – I hate it when the Doctor excitedly rattles off a bunch of information under his breath super-fast. It’s supposed to be funny, but it’s not. I also was not a fan of the Ponds. I did not hate them, but I thought they were pretty boring, and still do. I was anxious to see Matt Smith with a different companion, and I think he has come into his own with Clara. He seems more relaxed, more sure of himself, and well, more mature. Or maybe it was the change away from the tweed coat?
Honestly, I don’t know how the Eleventh will be viewed in the future compared to the other Doctors, but I suspect somewhere square in the middle. A person cannot deny, though, that Matt Smith’s time has seen an explosion in Doctor Who‘s world-wide popularity. And the actor himself is a great ambassador for the show. Now it feels like he’s leaving too soon, just as he got going.
I hope the Eleventh Doctor comes back in a couple years for the 10th anniversary of the “new” show.
That’s easy. He’s “MY” Doctor. I once said, when asked who my Doctor was, that Nine, Ten, and Eleven were all my Doctor because I watched the whole new series so quickly. But since then I’ve come to realise that while I love Eccleston and Tennant, Smith is the one that really wrote the Doctor on my heart. His smile, his utter seriousness one moment and silliness the next, his constant curiosity – they all came to exemplify who the Doctor is and always has been the more I look back on the shows from the classic era. I knew I liked the show before I began his episodes, but I fell in love with it because of Smith’s Eleven and will be a fan for the rest of my life.
Whenever I feel like testing the very limits of language by describing just how wonderful Matt Smith has been in the role of the Eleventh Doctor, I’m always drawn towards The Eleventh Hour.
I cannot overstate what an amazing hour it was: here was the youngest Doctor, the most alien of Doctors; pushed to his limits, forced to improvise and hurting from regeneration – a man with no means and no plan; forced to rely on his wits while his wits were ‘still cooking’.
But perhaps the most enduring aspect of that episode and all subsequent episodes was the Eleventh Doctor’s charm, his heart, and his ability to be a clown and a battle-hardened warrior and not have that seem like an improbable, unlikely combination – it’s within that combination, wrestling with untold evil and perilous foes where the Eleventh Doctor truly shined.
We’ll miss you Matt!
Choosing your favourite Doctor is a tough one. And I maintain that I don’t have a favourite. They’re all the same man and they’re all just brilliant.
Ah, but my Doctor – that’s different. He’s the one that connects the most; the one that helped you out in tough times; the one who helped form who you are. I have no qualms in saying that Matt Smith is and will always be My Doctor. His every performance is perfect, his entire era simply fantastic.
I will be truly hearts-broken when he regenerates, but I know that he is the Doctor, no matter what. And he’s just like us. He’s fallen in love with the show and is a true ambassador. Thank you, Matt. It’s been an honour.
And as to the future? Geronimo…!