So. The Matt Smith news.
I’ve been a Doctor Who fan for years, and so I’ve been forced to become used to the idea of change; ever since William Hartnell turned into Patrick Troughton, Doctor Who has changed and adapted and, well, regenerated, so that when news of Smith’s departure broke yesterday evening, it was less a crisis and more another turn of the wheel. A song ends, but the story goes on forever.
That doesn’t mean I’m not a little sad; Smith’s been great and it feels like maybe he had another year in him that we missed out on, what with production schedules and split-seasons and all that behind-the-scenes stuff that Andrew Pixley will meticulously document in years to come. Smith has brought a lot to the table and it would have been nice to see more of it.
It’s funny; for all his Doctor has been at the centre of big, complex story arcs, it’s the quieter stuff I’ll miss; his fairytale-wizard-like empathy with children, his physical and social klutziness, his nerdy enthusiasm underlying his declarations that something else is now cool. I’ll remember his Doctor for telling the young Amy a bedtime story, for showing Van Gogh his legacy, for every conversation he had with the TARDIS in ‘The Doctor’s Wife’, for dropping the mic before delivering an epic call to arms.
And yet there are two moments when I saw we had a great Doctor that weren’t even part of the show; Matt Smith’s one of my favourite Doctors because he can explain non-Newtonian fluids on The One Show and because he can admit to a little girl that he finds the Weeping Angels scary. There’s a sense behind both of those clips that Smith understands the part and its role in the UK’s pop culture.
Speculation as to who will play is rife, but last time this happened I was convinced it was going to be Patterson Joseph; we got someone I’d never heard of and he was great. I’m going to trust the producers and just say “thank you Matt.”
And fezes are cool.