GeekPlanetOnline's resident Doctor Who Correspondent Martin Thompson takes a deeper look at the adventures of a mad man in a box, along with his friends, foes and fandom. With over fifty years of rubber monsters, changing faces, dented police boxes, exterminations and pointed goatees to look at, he has more than a few things to say on the subject...
A few weeks ago I saw an old promo picture of Matt Smith and Karen Gillan from their first series together in 2010 and I thought it looked rather old, despite being taken only 3 years ago. Pretty soon that whole era is going to be consigned to the 500 year old diary as the BBC have just announced [http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/doctorwho/articles/Matt-Smith-to-leave-Doctor-Who] that Matt Smith will be leaving the role this Christmas.
With all the hoopla surrounding his casting still fresh in the mind, it’s sad to think that by the end of the year a new Doctor will have the TARDIS key in their sweaty palm. Indeed, I had hoped that Matt would at least see out series eight before he went, but it wasn’t a great shock to discover that he’s off sooner. He’s been in the role for three years now which is an average time for a Doctor to last and the 50th anniversary special would have been the perfect time to have a regeneration, since Steven Moffat has been quoted as saying that he is keen to look to the future as well as celebrate the past. Perhaps they just wanted a big, jolly celebration and to hold off the real fireworks for a month. I wonder if it will be a two part story like The End of Time but then we may have already seen the beginning of the end with The Name of the Doctor so, depending on how the 50th anniversary special goes, we may have just seen the first in a three part goodbye to the Eleventh Doctor. The cracked TARDIS window of his Trenzalore tomb certainly suggests that he’s heading that way fairly soon. What of Steven Moffat? It wouldn’t surprise me to learn that he’s going to leave with his Doctor. Maybe he’ll stay to help the newbie bed in or even assist a new production team. Mark Gatiss as showrunner anyone?
I expect I shall write more about the Eleventh Doctor another time, but for the record I have loved Matt’s time in the role despite getting off to a rocky start. I didn’t like the ‘young fogey’ look and despite the Doctor’s insistence that they are cool, I have never liked bow ties, but then I was initially put off the suit-wearing Tenth Doctor too. A clip of The Vampires of Venice shown in the run up to series five didn’t impress me much either, but after the first few episodes were shown I began to like him. The youngest actor to take on the role was also the most convincing as an old man in a young body. Sometimes just the light falling on his face in a different way managed to put the weight of the years upon him. The large quiff, the bowtie and the tweed jacket will soon be joining the long scarf, question mark jumper, pinstripe suit and various others as the distinguishing marks of a Doctor and he’ll become another face in a past Doctor montage.
So the search begins all over again and depending on your opinion it will either be a thrilling time of speculation, rumour and guessing, or a depressing wait as the same old topics do the rounds. New actors will be pimped out as suitable replacements, former Doctors returning to the role will be considered and the debates about whether the Doctor should now be a different colour or even a different gender will begin again. As if the various rumours about Star Wars VII casting weren’t enough pointless speculation to be filling column inches these days. Steven Moffat is more enthusiastic than me though, saying on Twitter that “Somewhere out there right now – all unknowing, just going about their business – is someone who’s about to become the Doctor.” Perhaps they may even be ginger.