Doctor Who News Matt Smith returns as the Doctor in Series 7b

Published on April 14th, 2014 | by Christian Cawley

Was Matt Smith Disappointed By Later Doctor Who Scripts?

What’s your favourite run of episodes in the Matt Smith era of Doctor Who? Perhaps you’re a fan of the “fairytale” Series 5, or the mindbending/stealing Series 6? Alternatively, you may prefer the cataclysmic events that comprise Series 7 and its various specials.

Speaking to fans at the Wizard World Con last week, (via DoctorWhoTV) Matt revealed his thoughts on what he considered “the best storytelling” during his run on the show.

Series 5… had great adventure and great clarity and I loved that whole idea about the Pandorica and the Big Bang. It was the one I connected with most.

Looking back I think some of my best work was in my first series because I was actually taking real risks and that was a real moment.

Whereas when he recalled Series 6:

I think in terms of revelations River being Amy’s daughter was a bit ‘what the hell?!’

These comments might come as a bit of a surprise so close to the actor’s departure, but do you agree or disagree? The sensible thing to do at this stage would be to throw it open to a poll!

We’ll revisit these results midweek, so let us know what you think in the poll and the comments below.


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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+.

52 Responses to Was Matt Smith Disappointed By Later Doctor Who Scripts?

  1. avatar Paddy says:

    It’s hard to pick between 5 and 7b.. 5 is such a gem of a series, everything feeling so new again, like the show had got the shot in the arm it badly needed after the last year of Tennant.. but then 7b with the build-up to the anniversary and personal favorites like Akhaten (I know..) and of course Name/Night/Day… But then, do we count the specials as part of 7b? Argh my head.

    • avatar Colin McDonough. says:

      To be honest all three of Matt’s series have their pros and cons. 5 really refreshed the show at a time when it really needed it, 6 had some stone cold classics like TIA,DOTM, TDW, TGWW and TGC and some of the most ambitious plotting of any Who series. Lastly 7 restored the settings to Fun with some great one off episodes. All in all a tricky choice but a sense of nostalgia would inch me towards voting for Series 5.

  2. avatar Elley says:

    I actually didn’t like much of 7 as a whole. I think everything was a bit rushed and quite disappointing. I loved the 50th, but I think the christmas special had too much content and not enough time, which kinda just made it frazzled and didn’t give enough time to let things (answers to things we have been waiting for since season 6) get the attention they deserved. I think Matt was a brilliant Doctor and I think he deserved better. ALthough, in saying this, there were good parts and bad parts since the beginning and I will always love Doctor Who.

  3. avatar lozzer says:

    I don’t think Matt was saying he was unhappy with his last two series – he has a very close relationship to Moffat, and they are clearly good friends. I think when you step out of any long term engagement you’ve had, you then have time to reflect and see what was, or wasn’t, the defining moments for you. I enjoyed Matt’s time as the Doctor, but for me he had big boots (or Converse) to follow, and his era wasn’t my favourite run of new who. In reflection I guess for me his best, most consistent series, would also be his first – but then again, at the time I was still struggling to get to grips with him as the doctor. I think the constant back-room staff shuffling during Matt’s run may also have a lot to do with the hit and miss nature of series 5 -7. I hope they’ve learnt from their mistakes and Capaldi is given strong stories that feel neither rushed or too cluttered.

  4. Season five was the best of Smith’s, but I do find that rather like choosing a best hangover.

    • avatar Craig Turton says:

      What a wonderful phrase! Anyway, season 7 gets my vote as I thought the stories were more consistent.

    • avatar Kate says:

      See I still don’t know what the heck a Pandorica is or why I should care. Apart from a few scattered episodes early, 7b had the best stories, and 7a had some of the best of Matt.

      People think Matt’s eccentricity is a strength, but it was far too unfocussed most of the time. No one is weird for it’s own sake. Not even Doctors.

      • avatar TonyS says:

        Indeed. The Dream Lord commented on the Doctor’s “tawdry quirks” in “Amy’s Choice”.

  5. avatar Philip Bates says:

    I love Matt’s whole era, but as Colin says, partly because of nostalgia, Series 5 takes the crown for me. I think it was so fresh and the Doctor was so brilliant and different, that’s why it stands out. Doctor’s first seasons do tend to get more praise than the rest of their stories, I find – in general, anyway. And I think that’s the change of direction and feel. Matt’s Doc has always been amazing, and he is My Doctor, so that’s not to say I didn’t love Series 6 or 7; merely, that they continued my enthusiasm.

    I think I’d got fed up with the end of Tennant’s era (nothing to do with David, who was great from the get-go), so Matt’s reign made me fall in love with the show all over again. It’s a wonderful feeling.

  6. avatar Deryn says:

    See I really didn’t like series 5 apart from the finale. NONE of the bad guys got their comeuppance. I felt like every episode the ending was a cop out. I love series 6 though!

    • avatar TonyS says:

      Okay. Eleventh Hour- Prisoner Zero recaptured; Beast Below- no bad guy as such; Victory of the Daleks- yes you are right; The Two Parter with the Angels- they fell into the crack in time; Vampires In Venice- Vampire fish girls splattered all over Croatia; Amy’s Choice- ….

      Not getting their comeuppance? really?

      • avatar Deryn says:

        Beast Below- big decision stop torturing the whale and die or torture it and live- the cop out being oh no we’ll live anyway… I liked Vampires in Venice and my problem with the angels episodes was that they ruined the angels by making them move- the WHOLE reason they’re scary is because they move really fast when you’re not looking. The Van Gogh episode- the beast isn’t really evil just blind and scared. Other thing that annoyed me was how obvious the crack was, should have been more subtle not shoved in our faces, they might as well have just screamed THE CRACK IS IMPORTANT.

        • avatar TonyS says:

          Fair point. On THIS I agree with you.

        • avatar Kate says:

          Mostly agree. I did like what Beast Below revealed about Amy, but too many other episodes were too similar. Plus Moffat’s habit of unraveling what he can’t get out of in real time drives me crazy. He plans it! Look ahead! I didn’t care enough about the vampire episode. And the Van Gogh isn’t Moffat, so it’s understandable that the beast was sympathetic. But ABSOLUTELY with the crack. Especially when you don’t bother to resolve it until series 7.

  7. avatar dr jon says:

    I have to agree with paddy,series 5 and 7b were the best. Its pretty hard to choose from. The 11th hour I enjoyed a lot and the name of the doctor also.

  8. avatar Steve Andrew says:

    A bit of a misleading headline, I think. None of this says Matt was disappointed with the later scripts at all. Saying “my best work was in season 5″, doesn’t translate as “therefore my worst work was in season 7″. And even if it did, that certainly doesn’t translate as “therefore I was disappointed with season 7 scripts”.

    Personally, my favourite season was S5, it was a fun rollercoaster of a season, reminiscent of Eccleston’s run. I only find S6 and S7 “less good” rather than “bad”. I still love them, just not as much as S5. I suspect this is what Matt is alluding to. And suggesting he was disappointed with the later scripts is a bit of an extrapolation.

    • Rhetorical questions are now “misleading”?


      • avatar J Wiley says:

        I wouldn’t have called that a rhetorical question, just a question. One that was meant to draw people to the story, with hopes of getting an answer…which the didn’t.

        All that aside, series 5 was my favorite. 7b was a let down and if Matt Smith wasn’t disappointed with it, I was.

        • avatar James Mclean says:

          Matt Smith, as the article says was very happy with Series 5, his favourite of them all, which by direct logical inference, means he couldn’t have been as happy with what follows, if he was happiest with his early stuff.

          Add to that a minor dig at the oddity of Amy’s daughter I think gives a fair reason for a rhetorical. If the article stated he WAS disappointed based on the evidence, I think there was reason to challenge the direction of the article, it doesn’t – it queries his comments and takes that as a spring board for a topic discussion.

      • avatar Steve Andrew says:

        Sorry Christian – I have trouble interpreting tone of voice in blog posts sometimes.

        • avatar Philip Bates says:

          “I have trouble interpreting tone of voice in blog posts ” I think you speak for the entire internet, Steve. ;) A big issue with the internet – it’s very hard to tell when someone’s just joking, being cheeky or sarcastic!

      • avatar DJLance says:

        Christian, you are seriously ungraceful towards any criticism offered in the comments section on this blog. Your tendency to give petty knee-jerk responses to posts that are in any way critical undermine your credibility. Comments sections invite controversy, wouldn’t you be better off emotionally just putting yourself above the fray?

        • DJLance, again, thanks for your comment.

          In this particular case, you’re late to the party and unnecessarily stirring something up. I’m sure that wasn’t your intention, so we’ll leave it there.

  9. avatar Al says:

    You never forget your first, the saying goes so it’s not surprising that Matt would prefer his first year when everything was fresh and new. As far as the vote, I can’t give one because there was no Series 7 option – I don’t subscribe to the whole 7a-7b thing. It was one season and in my opinion the best of the three for risk-taking and variety.

  10. avatar Craig Turton says:

    I am intrigued by a couple of comments about people becoming a bit fed up by the end of Tennant’s era. Any reasons why guys?

    • avatar James Mclean says:

      I must admit, I felt the need for change by end of Tennant – mostly brought on by The Next Doctor and Planet of the Dead which just felt run-of-the-mill. A fresh look felt needed, but in contrast to that Water of Mars is still the best bit of Nu-Who I’ve seen and End of Time has a great re-watch factor.

      Series 5 disappointed me greatly. While Matt Smith as fantastic, I felt it steered far too clear from giving him much more than eccentric moments, steering the show away from real character drama (which Water of Mars did so well). I also found that many of the stories felt under par for me with Amy feeling underwritten bar quippy lines. Victory of the Daleks and Vampires of Venice were show lows for me, Pandorica Opens and Big Bang felt indulgent, ill-thought out, and just a ridiculous attempt to top some of RTD’s ridiculously epic finales, resulting in a resolution that put RTD’s alleged magic-over-science to shame. That being said, Vincent and the Doctor, Amy’s Choice and The Beast Below were some great bits of innovation. If not perfect, certainly a fresh direction.

      Series 6 hit middle of the road, with some very strong episodes in The Girl Who Waited and the God Complex, some fun outings in The Doctor’s Wife and some great monsters – The Silence. That being said, you had some real messy attempts at epic again, in the same vibe as The Big Bang, with the indulgent A Good Man Goes to War, The Wedding of River Song. Overall I felt this series felt more confident. Overall the focus on River Song that neither felt gave the audience what they wanted – an understanding or journey of the Doctor and River’s dynamic, and just some messy and shallow plot integration into an arc that just confused people, marred the series. Take River and the death of the Doctor out of Series 6, and its a stronger beast.

      Series 7 I think has been the most enjoyable, being more stand alone, though it has suffered from what feels like slapdash episodes. The Power of Three, A Town Called Mercy, The Crimson Horror, The Snowmen, all start really well but feel like they hit weak end points. There were a couple of messes in there, Nightmare in Silver and Journey to the Center of the TARDIS being the worst for me, but again, some good, fresh material also – Bells of St John, Rings of Akhaten, Hide, Asylum of the Daleks, Cold War and Dinosaurs on a Spaceship. Add to that Day of the Doctor was fun, Time of the Doctor perhaps had a messy ending but I found generally enjoyable.

      I think for me no Series was truly brilliant, but each had their moments. I think series 7 worked best for me because while I liked Rory, and felt by series 7 Amy was finding her place, the support cast of Rory River and Amy never felt as harmonious as Doctor and Clara – even though Clara suffers from Amy’s rather fairy tale background that doesn’t really root her as a believable character, but she seems to have a good chemistry nonetheless. I think the other reason I would punt for Series 7 is because it does what I felt series 5 didn’t – it gives Matt a great range of material. There are brilliant moments throughout, from his excellent Cyberleader battle, to facing a planet god, to the simple understated acting against Tom Baker, to his very genuine outro. So I think tl;dr, series 7!

    • avatar Philip Bates says:

      I felt it was too self-indulgent and unnecessary. I enjoyed parts of it – The Waters of Mars is incredible – but the other specials, including The End of Time, weren’t very good at all. Planet of the Dead was mostly good – until the end. The Next Doctor was good – apart from belittling the Cybermen so completely. I can’t see why everyone liked The Stolen Earth/ Journey’s End either. I did like (and by ‘like’, I mean, ‘was heartbroken by’) what happened to Donna.

      Honestly, I was losing a lot of faith. I loved Doctor Who, but compare the later RTD stuff to Series 1… Yowch.

      I guess two things really irked me: bringing Rose back for no reason at all; and the bit with Dalek Caan, talking about seeing the heart of the Doctor revealed. What, he’s a bit angry and upset as he’s faced with the truth we all knew – that he fashioned his companions and allies to be weapons, essentially? A bit of a pointless thread.

      Now, please don’t get me wrong. I owe Russell so much; he changed my life when he brought Doctor Who back. And I still think he was a fantastic showrunner. I will always rewatch his era, just as I rewatch all the other eras.

      But Moffat’s era was a breath of fresh air and I’ve loved those three series with the Eleventh Doctor. Every single one.

  11. avatar Maria says:

    I don’t think Matt sounded like he was not happy with the later stuff. More like answering a question and he never said a thing about Series 7. I like Series 5 and Series 7B. Series 6 gave me a headache plus it focused too much on The Ponds and River Song.

  12. avatar Stephen Brantley says:

    It is hard to choose because his entire run was horrible.

  13. avatar J W says:

    I to was ready for the Tennant Doctor to move on. What did it for me it was the fact that RDT never let go of the whole Doctor/Rose angle. Even after bringing on Martha and Donna it was still all about Rose. For me that got tiresome, and by the end of series four I was ready for it to just be over with. That being said the Smith era as a whole was a bit hit or miss for me. There are episodes I loved, others I simply enjoyed, and still others that had me wishing I could have that 50 minutes back., i.e. The Beast Below, The God Complex, Journey To The Center Of The TARDIS. I honestly wish he had stayed for another series as I felt there was more to explore between he and Clara.

  14. avatar Andrew Dorgomire says:

    Is this whole article just an excuse to shred into Moffat?

    • Where is Steven Moffat mentioned, exactly?

      Where is any episode title named other than in Matt’s quote?

      In short: what the hell are you talking about?

      • avatar DJLance says:

        “What the hell are you talking about?”- A bit of a nasty and unprofessional reply to a reader comment. If you cannot deal with criticisms directed at your site, then shut the comments off. You lose journalistic credibility with these sorts of responses and make it difficult for you work to be taken seriously. I meaan, why should someone be sworn at for presenting criticism in the specified section? There was no personal attack directed towards you, yet your reply was very personal in tone.

        • DJLance: thanks for your comment, which I will take on board.

          However, if a reader is going to level accusations at us (unfounded or otherwise), I feel it is only fair that they explain themselves.

    • avatar Philip Bates says:

      Hey Andrew. Trust me, many of the people behind the K like Moffat, so please don’t feel we’re like some other internet dens of negativity.

  15. avatar Jon Roberts says:

    Every series and every Doctor has good and bad episodes, stories, moments etc, Matt was no different. I think it was time for a change in 2010 and ditto 2013. The Doctor’s dead, long live the Doctor.

  16. avatar TimeChaser says:

    For me, Season 6 was the most consistent. There were still a few issues – honestly 13 episodes is too short to resolve something like a race across time and space to save Amy’s child, and the whole Mels thing was confusing and too convenient. But overall the stories were better.

  17. avatar MWRuger says:

    I’m too uncritical to really have an opinion. I liked all of them. I read all of the comments here and I can see the points people are making but…Meh.

    In the end I only ask myself one question: Did I enjoy it?

    Yes, Yes I did.

    While most TV gets a pass from me, I’m much tougher on books. Plenty of time to get it right so I hold them to a higher standard. TV is ALWAYS rushed. The writing, the shooting, everything. So I give it the benefit of the doubt. Clinkers? Sure, every show and every season has ‘em. But in almost every case if they had more time it could have been fixed..

    • avatar Philip Bates says:

      Can’t say I agree about all you say there, but this bit – “In the end I only ask myself one question: Did I enjoy it? Yes, Yes I did” – is perfect. :D

  18. Series 5 and most of 6 were amazing…though things began to fall apart in 6. However 6 had some of the best stories…7b was good…I loved Rings…Crimson sucked…Nightmare in Silver..well lets say I am still waiting for a good cyberman story. Matt Smith’s wackiness was more out of control when the scripts sucked…it was like, well we have no clue what to do so lets have the doc go crazy.

    As the Doctor…I will say Matt was one of the best…he brought back things that I had forgotten about after Doc 10. There was this alien coolness 10 had…but he was just so human…11 had this coolness..but also a coldness. The way he would lie and manipulate. Of all the Doctors, the way Matt played him, I could see having so much fun with him, only to get a knife in the back by why of deception. TGWW…who else felt like they had just got a swift kick to the junk when the Doc coldly locked Old Amy out of the Tardis…and then told Rory..well its up to you.. And you notice…he was not sorry about it.

    TGWW is a good example of how to write for 11. LKH was an example of how to not only screw up a DW story but also betray the actor all in a single episode. When The Moff is on his game…he is damn good, but god help you when he skunks it up.

  19. avatar Philip Bates says:

    I don’t really think Matt disliked his later Who stories – I think his enthusiasm for everything shows, and if you listen to the commentary to Hide, for instance, he is so in love with the writing, direction and the show in general.

  20. avatar Galen Faulkes says:

    I liked series 5 & 6 (five more than six) when I watched them a second time. I developed a greater appreciation for Amy after Clara came on the scene. The Doctor’s next companion will have to be a pet rock or a politician for me to appreciate Clara.

  21. avatar eblackwell says:

    You forgot something very important: Matt Smith listed “Let’s Kill Hitler” as his favorite episode. And he listed it is as his favorite because of River. So obviously the answer to your question is No. Because he wouldn’t list a Series 6 RIver Song episode as his ultimate favorite if he was disappointed post-Series 5 scripts.

    • avatar eblackwell says:

      And as for what the viewers like the best: Best ratings where for Series 6 River Song story arc. They increased the viewership by millions; it did what Series 1 – 4 couldn’t do: solidify the international market. River’s series 6 episodes was the series that got New Who near the Fourth Doctor numbers.

      • avatar lozzer says:

        I’d say the groundwork from series 1-4 paved the way for the international market – without the ground-breaking work of those series the Matt Smith era would have been mostly overlook. I’m not saying either one is better, but it didn’t happen overnight from series 5 onwards – fact.

        • avatar lozzer says:

          overlooked… even – typo schmypo…

  22. avatar rickjlundeen says:

    The low point was 7B until the end with Name of the Doctor and the 50th special. Even then, there were some good stories mixed in to it.

  23. avatar Ian says:

    Sounds like Matt and I are on the same page lol. His era started off so great with series 5, I honestly thought we were on the verge of something really special.
    Never has an era of Doctor Who gone downhill so fast and disappointed so much.

  24. avatar drewboynton says:

    I love the end of series 5–”Lodger” and “Vincent” are two of my favorite DW episodes ever. But because I thought 5 was finally getting good, it made series 6 even more of a letdown. I will never stop watching DW, but “Rebel Flesh/Almost People” almost had me reconsidering that stance. I have to say, though, that series 7 contains some of my favorite episodes ever, and I don’t want to admit how many times I have rewatched “Asylum” and “Name of the Doctor” over and over! I also loved “Dinosaurs” and the first 15 minutes of “Power of 3″ were fantastic. Overall, series 6 is a real down period for me–I have watched almost none of those episodes a second time, and the Melody Pond/River Song overly complicated non-mystery was a real letdown.

  25. avatar PertBaker34 says:

    I do think that Series 5 is his best, but I think it is an extremely close race with Series 6. I don’t dislike the River Song story line. Series 7 has a lot of problems with story pacing due to them all being one parters and trying to overload the episodes to make them epic, and instead many of them just feel rushed or end abruptly. I wish they had just let some of the episodes go for 60 full minutes or made them two parters if that is what the story required. There were several great story ideas in Series 7 which got botched to mediocrity because of the Movie of the Week idea. I should mention that Series 5 and 6 are my two favorite of New Who.

  26. avatar Andrew says:

    I know this will come off bad, I know a lot of you will hate on me big time & maybe some of you will agree but hey it is my opinion so here goes. Also keep in mind I enjoyed watching Matt in series 5 to 7 not hated it, BUT…

    I disagree that the series needed refreshing at all… the series was just fine the way it was. Tennant took that role and DESTROYED it! (in a good way) Honestly I think that Matt’s doctor would have been much better off with RTD at the helm.

    RTD era stories kept me glued to my seat, I cared about the characters both minor and major and also a lot of the stories got me right in the feels! Some of his stories were complicated but easy to follow, everything made sense and everything fit together perfectly! RTD era Who was so much FUN! :D

    Moffat era stories felt forced (sometimes) and unnecessarily & overly complicated. I have re watched series 5 to 7 maybe like 4 times and still can’t follow some of the stuff he threw at us. Which sucks because during RTD era Who some of my favourite episodes were Moffat stories. Moffat stories had quite a few “feels moments” but most of them felt forced and unnecessary. Heck he couldn’t even give us a proper regeneration sequence. Don’t get me wrong it was all good and feels inducing but the quick regen from 11 to 12 was total b*lls! Moffat era Who was like listening to Sheldon Cooper explain string theory in the most complicated way imaginable! :(

    Also not happy that we did not learn more about JIM THE FISH!!!!

    So with that all said, I voted for series 7B because it marks the end of those very hard to follow over complicated story arcs. I will miss Matt and I soooo miss the Ponds but I look forward to the future! Mind you Moffat is still around so we may be going through the same thing with series 8… who knows. Honestly I am totally looking forward to Capaldi!

  27. avatar Yona says:

    I loved all of Matt’s run. series 6 and 7b are my favorite series of the new show. Are there some clunkers? Yes. But all of it is some of the best tv I’ve ever seen. Miles above everything else. I find parts of series 1-4 unwatchable now in comparison, IMO

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