Published on February 11th, 2014 | by Christian Cawley

Matt Smith “Surprised” By His Doctor Who Ending

An interesting panel with Matt Smith at last weekend’s New Orleans Comic Con revealed multiple versions of his final Doctor Who scenes were recorded…

The Time of the Doctor was notable for its aging of the Eleventh Doctor, as well as the return of Amy Pond )in the Time Lord’s first trippy regeneration sequence since 1984) and a quite sudden metamorphosis into his twelfth self (without getting into issues of numeracy!).

I thought that one the real moments – I was really pleased when Amy Pond came back into it, I thought that was really nice.

But for me, as an actor, being really honest with you, I did loads of really different takes. So I was quite surprised to see that was the take they used, cause I didn’t think – I thought that they might use something else, because we did a lot of different takes and we did a lot of different versions of that ending, and a lot of them were really troubling, and I quite liked them.

I’m going to get in trouble now from them, “Why are you talking about Doctor Who when you’ve left?” So, but you know, that’s what they went in [inaudible] and it’s sort of interesting, so yeah.

What is particularly interesting about this is that it chimes in with several things we’d previously heard:

  • That the Doctor would die as an old man, only for a “new man” to appear but not as a regeneration.
  • The Doctor would regenerate as an old man, on the clock tower. BOOM. Then Clara returns to the TARDIS, where Twelve is waiting.
  • Another rumour suggested that the explosion of regenerative energy would blast the Doctor off the clock tower, and when Clara find the body, up sat Twelve.

From what Matt said at the convention, it sounds as though a lot of endings were considered and recorded in different takes, but perhaps ultimately it was thought that without a proper regeneration it might not have been as memorable, or accepted by younger viewers.

(With thanks to Daren)


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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+.

14 Responses to Matt Smith “Surprised” By His Doctor Who Ending

  1. avatar IGettings says:

    It is a weird limbo of a time, hearing the Doctor you love and knowing he has already gone, yet knowing someone else has already taken over, but isn’t here yet. A weird time.

  2. avatar SutekhsGiftOfUnlimitedRicePudding says:

    I think it’s a real stretch to believe that Matt saying “we did a lot of different takes… different endings” means they actually filmed completely different scenes. He probably just means they performed the scene in different ways, and he was surprised which take was used.

    • avatar Spider-pope says:

      That’s my read on it too. And we know the same was done with Tennant, with multiple takes where he’s in hysterics, or angrier etc.

  3. avatar Geoff says:

    That’s how I took it but it would be cool to think there were other alternate endings floating around. Personally I like seeing the actual change, which is of course what we got. I don’t mind the speed it was done at because it wrong stepped me at least (having got used to the more drawn out and emotional regeneration scenes we’ve had in recent years), but there’s no reason why they couldn’t have broken with convention and just had 12 be waiting in the Tardis or sit up in the rubble. Had they gone down that route I have confidence they would have made it just as dramatic and memorable.

  4. avatar STLShawn says:

    I don’t know what to think of that regeneration. I thought it was a bit talky, really, but that was Matt Smith’s doctor. The talker with the wavy hands. Tennant was the one who could change the tone of a scene with a look or an expression. Ecci was no nonsense, so he just told Rose what was up and “whoosh” it happened.

    I do miss the “watcher” concept. I wonder if we will see that idea revisited.

    • avatar Geoff says:

      I think the Watcher is long overdue a return but I don’t think Mr Moffat is a big fan of Mr Bidmead to put it politely so I guess we won’t see that in the foreseeable.

  5. avatar drewboynton says:

    Not to sound bitter or like I’m trying to rile things up, but maybe the alternate takes could be edited together someday to come up with something better than we got! (I was extremely disappointed with “Time”, and thought Matt and Jenna were the absolute best parts of it.) Also interesting to note: While Matt was in New Orleans at the comic con this last weekend, Karen Gillan was a skip and a jump (well, about an 8 hour drive) across the US in Dallas at the Sci Fi Expo!

  6. avatar TonyS says:

    David Tennant filmed his final line several different ways and they chose the one he was happiest with. Paerhaps there are other filmed takes of Matt’s final scenes

  7. avatar Freek Hummeling says:

    I think there were better ways to regenerate the Doctor. This was a cheap one.

  8. avatar Howard Railton says:

    You don’t get a proper regeneration now. Just a head flicked back and Capaldi’s head when he leans forward, you don’t see the regeneration properly at all. It’s a cheat like the majority of Moffat’s rubbish, promises much but delivers little.

    • So what would you consider a “proper” regeneration…?

      • avatar Paddy says:

        Yeah, because all the others were totally identical….

        Of course new Who fans who haven’t gone back to the original series seem to expect all regenerations to be flames, face morph, etc. I found this one jarring, surprising, but that’s the intention. To surprise, to use your assumptions against you. And it heralds the new era.. more dangerous, surprising, “raw” as Moffat put it.

        The more I watch it, the more I like it precisely BECAUSE it did something different.

      • avatar Geoff says:

        Ha ha! I have to answer this: a proper regeneration happens with The Doctor flaked out on the floor of a very brightly lit Tardis or on an unconvincing patch of AstroTurf. Shot in one take on video naturally, preferably at 21:55 at night on the last studio day and featuring a plethora of cheap n nasty video effects and old companions and enemies twirling about the place. Now that’s a regeneration and don’t let any of these fancy Johnny come latelys tell you otherwise!

        I am only half joking by the way!

  9. A proper regeneration ?
    The 11th Doctor is nearly defeated, there’s no way out, he has not the power to defeat his enemies.
    Then there is a regeneration and there’s the 12th doctor, who teaches his enemies that there’s only one ruler: the Doctor !!!.

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