Matt Smith leaving Doctor Who: to be replaced by a high school student

matt docThe BBC has announced that Matt Smith, the actor who has played the Doctor in Doctor Who for the last four years, is leaving the show. Speculation will no doubt begin regarding his replacement. Given that the BBC first cast Christopher Eccleston for Doctor Who's revival (in his 40s in 2005), followed by David Tennant (in his 30s), and then Matt Smith (in his 20s), no doubt we'll be seeing a teenage high school student saving the universe this time next year (Justin Bieber perhaps?) At this rate, a small baby will be flying the Tardis within ten years' time. The entire Tardis will have to be rebuilt and scripts altered as the BBC tries to target the children's market. Baby Daleks and tiny Cybermen will battle the Doctor in an electronic pram. The Doctor's sonic screwdriver will be replaced by a sonic dummy.

Anyway, back to reality, I actually really liked Matt Smith in the roll. He gave the Doctor an eccentric quirkiness that had been missing with David Tennant. He also wasn't as over the top and less of a superhero figure. It will be sad to see him go.

In the BBC's press release, Matt Smith had this to say about his departure:

"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 realize 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 showrunner 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 honor 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."

"Of course, this isn't the end of the story, " said Steven Moffat, lead writer and executive producer, "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!"

If you're a student actor watch out. The phone could be ringing soon.

Matt Smith will return for his final episodes starting November 23, 2013, for Doctor Who's 50th Anniversary Special.

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