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Breaking News: Matt Smith to Leave “Doctor Who”


Very, very sad news today. Matt Smith will leave the lead role of Doctor Who at the end of the year. The news was broken by a few news outlets but was recently posted on the BBC website. Matt will, of course, be in the 50th Anniversary special along with former Doctor David Tennant, which they’ve already shot, and will regenerate at the end of the 2013 Christmas special.

Smith had this to say about his decision:

“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.”

Adding to it, Executive Producer and Head Writer Steven Moffat said this:
“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!”

I for one am incredibly sad about this news, but it’s a day we all knew was inevitable. There hasn’t been a single episode where I haven’t been fascinated and thrilled by Matt Smith’s portrayal of the Doctor, the way he goes about things, and the way he delivers each line. I’ve made no secret of it: he is my favorite Doctor.

That being said, whoever the next actor to play the Doctor is, I’m sure they will be just as excellent and I’ll be just as excited to see who next will pilot the TARDIS as I will be to see Smith step down. That, as Steven Moffat said, is the beauty of Doctor Who. Always regenerating.

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  1. Ashley says:

    I’m a little disheartened at the new doctor they’ve announced. Although i’m sure he’ll be great Matt Smith just brought something different to the character… a spark of a good kind of weird that hadn’t previously been there. And nine times out of ten, that doesn’t follow on to a new actor of the same character because it has to be the actor that brings it to the lines. I suppose until the regeneration we won’t know how Peter’s going to play the doctor, he may bring a little spark with him too.

  2. Raven says:

    As a lifelong fan since the 60s, what struck me most was the knowledge that there can only be one more incarnation now, as many years back it was mentioned that a Time Lord can only regenerate 13 times! I can’t recall which series episode and Dr, as so long ago now and has always been at the forefront of my mind at each regeneration – and as the thirteenth came closer.

    Reason why actors leave the role so quickly is the very real risk of being seen in whatever role as Dr WHO. Tom Baker is the ideal example of this… followed closely by John Pertwee…

  3. Mellissalynn says:

    Why does everyone seem to get so upset at the mere thought of a female Doctor? I’m all for it, and I can even tell you who the perfect ginger would be: Emma Watson. The problem is, she’s too well-known. So my vote is for an unknown ginger female to step up and take the role to a whole new place. It would be fun to see how the TARDIS reacts to that!

  4. Kats says:

    He’s quickly become my favorite, too — or, at least, he runs neck-and-neck (quite fitting, for the bow ties) with #2, who had been my favorite until Matt stepped into the role.

    I will miss him like crazy, but I’ll always have the magnificent perfection that was most of S6 (from “The Impossible Astronaut” to “Wedding of River Song”), and now that I’ve gone through the five stages to “acceptance,” I’m looking forward to seeing “Who” the next Doctor is!

  5. eboe says:

    Isn’t it obvious why The Nerdist has been on BBC America? They are preparing the world for the first American Doctor… Chris Hardwick… 😉

  6. EvilMentalHamster says:

    People who want a celebrity such as Eddie Izzard, Alan Rickman etc. need to lower their expectations and not get their hopes up.
    It’s guaranteed to be someone who isn’t as high profile.
    I would personally love it to be Idras Elba as I believe he would be able to bring a new, rougher personality to the Doctor.
    Matt Smith, for me, was alright but was ruined by gimmicks and some cringeworthy characters and stories (I hated Amy & Rory and I will never ever like River Song)
    The Eleventh was really interesting when he snapped into the darker, take-no-shit character we had been promised (Killing Filch in ‘Dinosaurs on a Spaceship’ being a perfect example)
    I think someone like Elba or someone of that ilk would to wonders with the character and show.

    On the subject of a woman taking on the role… No thanks. I’m sorry but I simply can’t see it working especially with Moffat behind the wheel. An alternative universe type thing on a different show… Maybe…
    Sherlock Holmes has many incarnations which work fine (Watson being a female in one) but only because they’re completely different universes. I would also be completely fine with a show dedicated to a female timelord and think that could work exceptionally well but not The Doctor. A show about The Doctor’s daughter could probably work brilliantly and would give so much room to wiggle with because it’s a whole new character and future (and past for that matter)
    Now I know that Doctor Who gives much more leniency to changing characters etc. but to change the lead character so drastically is on par with changing the Tardis’s camo.

    So… All in all…. Darker, rougher Doctor who isn’t someone obviously famous and isn’t female please.
    Thanks a bunch.

  7. HK says:


    The Doctor always WANTS to be a ginger. I’m not sure why people always get that wrong. There have been articles about the Doctor being anti-red heads and that is incorrect.

    I’m going to miss Matt, but am excited for the new mystery man, or woman. (I’d love it to be a woman. A ginger lady!)

  8. Derik says:

    >Can a male Time Lord ever regenerate and have a female body and vice versa?

    Yes, in the episode “The Doctor’s Wife” they mention a Timelord who switched genders when they regenerated.
    Per the Extended Universe, gender swap regenerations usually result from the previous incarnation deliberately ending his own life… some sort of psychological trauma thing.

  9. Michael says:

    He will be dearly missed, and it will be hard for the next actor to take the role after such brilliant performances by Eccleston, Tennant, and Smith. The future is bright for DW.


  10. Shayde says:

    What is it about British actors, always leaving their plum roles way before their time.

  11. Tsuliwaensis says:

    “Males are male. No flipping.”

    you’re wrong. it’s already canon (rewatch “the doctor’s wife”). and it will happen eventually, but I’m pretty sure we’ll get a black doctor before we get a female one. and actually I wouldn’t want a female doctor right now because I don’t want stephen moffat to write her.

  12. Egraine says:

    Very sorry to see Matt leave. I wish him wonderful success in future endeavors.

    I started out really liking Eccleston (the man is so intense….who knew he could do comedy?), liked Tenant and his energy and then grew to really like Matt’s incarnation. So, that makes me a Who Whore.

    Very intrigued by John Hurt as Doctor 9.5. What on earth did he do that was so unthinkable. Can’t wait to find out!

    Looking forward to the new Doctor. Helen Mirren would be wonderful. Stephen Fry is so incredibly witty and well spoken. Eddie Izzard can be wonderfully wicked and fun. We’ll see what time and Mr. Moffatt bring us.

  13. Kris says:

    Why is this sad news? Matt Smith is a great Doctor. But so were David Tennant, Tom Baker, John Pertwee, etc. The brillance of Doctor Who is exactly what is going to happen during the Christmas Special.

  14. silent says:

    im excited. i think they’ve exhausted and concluded the 11th’s arc pretty well.
    I hope clara sticks around though. like rose did. She’s pretty awesome, and it’d suck if she only got half a season to be awesome in.

  15. Jnvrmind says:

    Do you think that maybe we’ll have some type of reversal,and go back to David Tennant ? Just an idea.

  16. Hob says:

    Putting it out there, like others — Colin Salmon for the 12th Doctor

  17. Maiku says:

    This makes me really sad. I only just recently started watching Dr. Who and while I love it to death it’s gonna be really hard to see Matt go. I mean he is my first Dr so I would imagine I might kinda get slightly more attached then series vets who know another new Dr is just around the corner.

    At least I can go back and catch up on all the series 5 and 6 stuff and further back as well.

  18. Henry says:


  19. Henry says:

    Very disappointing.

    It had been announced earlier that 11 would stay through 2014 & I thought it was perfect. But I guess you have to respect his personal decision.

    Matt Smith, thank you so very much for all the thrilling experiences your Doctor provided. To come in after such a popular Doctor as Tennant and not loose any momentum to the show is a great tribute to your talent, abilities and love for the character. I will miss you … GERONIMO!!!

    I would not have been as upset if Executive Producer Steven Moffat announced he is leaving. I’ve enjoyed many many moments with him in charge, but I can’t help but feeling we need a fresh new look into The Doctor’s production team.

  20. spoilermuch says:

    Thanks a bunch for the spoiler!

  21. Thomas says:

    Question… I know in the history of Time Lords there had to be female Time Lords, Can a male Time Lord ever regenerate and have a female body and vice versa? Or does a male Time Lord always stay male?

  22. Michael says:

    Sad news indeed, but we all know this will come sooner or later as that is the nature of Doctor Who.

    Matt Smith is my first Doctor that’s why I’m not so upset when I watch David Tennant regenerates as I know the Doctor will remain the same character. Hopefully they won’t do to Clara’s character what they did to Rose when the new actor comes along.

    Oh well~
    Hugh Laurie for 12th Doctor!
    Stephen Fry for 12th Doctor!

  23. Wildride says:

    Time to resurrect this campaign:

  24. Kristoffer says:

    wow, shocking news. Looking forward to seeing the next incarnation!

  25. Tarun says:

    This wasn’t “leaked” or anything. Matt Smith even released a public statement saying he is leaving. While Matt was great, I am looking forward to a new Doctor. Will they choose a lanky, sharp featured white British dude dressed in tweed, or will they choose someone different?Maybe a short, grumpy man, or maybe a Doctor like Chris Eccleston, or maybe a LADY DOCTOR. That would be an unexpected change. Or a GINGER? (The Doctor is always relieved he is never a “Ginger”, I have NO idea why). Either way, chances are he will still be white. Not that that’s an issue or anything. I LOVE DOCTOR WHO!

  26. CJ says:

    while it took me this long to get into DR WHO after the David Tennant Years (yeah it did take me a long time to get into Matt Smith’s version), I am sorry to see he is moving on (but I can’t blame him, the BBC underpays their talent and I’m sure Hollywood’s paycheck is beckoning him to move on) ….

  27. Nancy says:

    Internet sucks. This feels all too sudden especially since I thought he was in for series 8. Furthermore, I wish it was accounted after the 50th. Why can’t we be surprised anymore?

  28. Chris Hadden says:

    Really, is nothing secret anymore? Why couldn’t they just give us the run around for six months and have the regeneration be a HUGE surprise? The Internet would have blown the hell up! Now we already know what to expect. I’ll miss Matt as he’s been absolutely incredible. Just bummed out hard that this leaked.

  29. vehean says:

    @Jack West
    Note the tone even ” he was the doctor that broke all the rules ” was not will (past tense) I don’t think he’s the reincarnation

  30. Anony says:

    @Jack West- Were YOU paying attention? John Hurt’s Doctor is supposed to be a forgotten and disgraced incarnation, NOT number 12.

    On a more related note, Matt was an excellent Doctor, and I will miss him greatly. Good luck for him in the future- I look forward to seeing his next films.

    • Jack West says:

      I disagree with you-the titles that introduced him indicated he was to be the next doctor just minus the usual transformation.

      • TheSyFyGuy says:

        I believe you are putting a meaning not actually spelled out. No.

        • Jack West says:

          Well then, I gues we’ll have to wait till Novembere 23nd to see if I’m right or wrong.

          • Gary Glover says:

            People need to get over Tennant. He’s coming back for the 50th and that’s it. This show is about change, not reverting back to what the fangirls want. There’s nothing worse about people constantly wanting Tennant back. It’s so f**king obnoxious. GET OVER IT!!!!!!

          • Jack West says:

            I’m over Tennant as the doctor. I don’t know how you picked it up that I was advocating his return from my answer. I’m arguing with the other nerds over my perception of the ending with John Hurt’s appearance. Why would the producers identify Hurt as the Doctor? Is he next up? No? Then I yeilded in part and wrote we will find out the answer on 11/23/13. Happy summer!

  31. csmith says:

    to the person who compared this to the boston bombings: get a grip