The Stage

Blogs

TV Today

Matt Smith is the Doctor!

You know, it’s quite an achievement when what amounted to a 30-minute press release pulled in ratings of 6 million as Doctor Who Confidential announced on Saturday that Matt Smith would be the new Doctor Who. It shows just how much of a phenomenon Who has become, and I loved every second of that show. The slow build, the clips of old Doctors, Lis Sladen getting ready for panto (unless she dresses like that at home…)

And TV Today’s official line on the casting of Smith is that we are surprised and delighted by the news. It was a totally unexpected choice. Smith’s name hadn’t even been linked to the role - well, not until Saturday lunchtime, when some bright spark in the BBC newsroom had probably worked it out. I can’t imagine the announcement would have had the same buzz had it turned out to be Richard E Grant or Paterson Joseph or other actors with so-called “Doctorish” qualities. I hate that word!

Smith looks old beyond his years, an expressive face, intense eyes and a cheeky little smile. As Tom Baker said of David Tennant on his casting as the Doctor, Smith looks like he’s got secrets. He was utterly charming in his interview on Doctor Who Confidential and if anybody is in any doubt that he can’t pull it off, tough. Matt Smith is the Doctor whether you like it or not.

And if you haven’t seen it, check out the extended interview with Smith below:

While Smith has a varied CV (including partnering Billie Piper in The Ruby in the Smoke), it is limited by his relative youth, but his TV and theatre work has been well received. We know, at the very least, that he’ll be able to learn the lines and not bump into the furniture. But the fact we don’t know a great deal about the actor is all to the good. There’s a blank canvas to work with here - the Eleventh Doctor could be absolutely anything, and from an audience point of view, that’s tremendously exciting.

Of course, within seconds (yes, seconds) the usual narrow-minded, ignorant and sweaty-palmed drivel from the fan message boards erupted across the web. If Smith were to read even a couple of lines of some fairly tedious keyboard dribbling, then he’d probably hand his notice in before he’s even started. It goes with the territory, naturally, but some of the things I read on Sunday morning made me genuinely sad, especially as amongst the bile were some genuinely warm messages of welcome that got lost in the crowd. The thing to remember is that the fans shout the loudest, but it’s the other 10 million audience members that will get your show recommissioned. And therein lies the dichotomy of fandom…

The BBC has played a clever game here, a perfectly executed and stage-managed publicity operation. I’m glad the news is out there, it puts paid to the rampant speculation that would have run and run and no doubt overshadowed David Tennant’s final days in Doctor Who.

Now it’s all sorted, Steven Moffatt, Piers Wenger and their team can get on with giving Matt Smith the best possible launch as the Doctor in 2010. And elsewhere in Cardiff, Russell T Davies and the current production team are clear to give David Tennant, one of the best Doctor Whos we’ve ever had, the magnificent send-off he so richly deserves.

11 Comments

Lol, He Looks Like He Has No Eyebrows =]

Matt Smith will be a great replacement; like David Tennant was when he began as the Doctor, he has an impressive theatre background (for his age) and has proved himself in a variety of roles on TV. DT was always going to be a hard act to follow, and Matt's age may mean the female fanbase age drops slightly, but he will be able to continue the Doctor's key personality traits of deep sadness/madness/enthusiasm - and probably lots more running with ease. Give him a chance - he's got a year of this before he's seen on screen.

In fact, I found a list on the bbc website of potential 'who's and Matt Smith was on it.

So he wasn't heralded by many, but his name was around a little. When I read that list on Saturday I thought to myself... if it could be anyone off that list, I'd like it to be Matt. And then it was :D

I was saddened by papers like the Mail and their screaming headlines saying fans were disgusted and unhappy, quoting anonymous statements from message boards. That hardly counts as journalistic evidence surely?

They, and paper/people like them, are branding Smith a failure before he even starts.

To me, he has a look of the Tennant about him you know. And let's not forget, when Tennant was chosen a lot of people hadn't had the pleasure of hearing about him and there was also a lot of "who the hell is he?" going around. Anyone remember the absolute slating Billie got in her announcement as the companion. Embarrassed to say it now, but I didn't give her the time of day on the announcement. Thought a past it pop star would be an awful choice. Little did I know her debut in 'Rose' was to be one of my favourite episodes of television ever.

SO, to all the naysayers, this is familiar territory, and Matt Smith has quite a lot to back him up already.

I'm looking forward to seeing what he does with the role. Although I am sad to see David go, he really is brilliant, it'll be interesting to see something different. Let's just hope it's good!

I don't know what all the fuss is about. I have watched the series since the very first show and a new doctor is always exciting. The only one I didn't really take to was Silvester McCoy but that was down to the rather poor scripts he was landed with and the fact that the BBC seemed to have lost interest back then. Since the revival the programme has gone from strength to strength and as the current production team chose Matt we should trust their judgement. It is always sad to see a great doctor go and David Tennant has been one of the very best but at least we have DVD's to watch again so his performances are preserved. How I wish I had had a video recorder back in the days of Jon Pertwee! (still my favourite).

Sorry, I'm trying to be positive but Emma says "he's got the look of Tennant" and I don't know how that's a good thing. I don't think people said Davison had "the look of Tom" or even Tennant "had the look of Eccleston."

While I'm sure Smith will be good, I can't shake the feeling they're playing it safe, desperate not to lose the fangirls that Tennant has brought.

"It goes with the territory, naturally, but some of the things I read on Sunday morning made me genuinely sad....."

Well, your fanboy sycophant gene might not like it, but there's no getting around the fact that this guy looks like Rocky Dennis. Of course people are going to make jokes about something like that.

I'm trusting their judgement. Matt Smith looks like a lovely bloke, and I remember thinking how good he was in 'Shadow in the North.' I think it's pointless to comment on him, really, until his first episode is screened. Has anyone been over to imdb? Some of the things the 'fans' have written on the message board are vile!

It does seem crazy how people want to make up their minds before he's even started. I could understand when people complained about Catharine Tate (not that I was one) in that she came with a lot of baggage that people had to get past to realise how brilliant she was. But Matt's hardly had a chance to show what he can do - he's a fresh canvas.

And as for looks - who cares. Most of the Doctors were no oil paintings (though I must admit, Peter Davison did make my heart flutter at times). The Doctor's got to have character, it's not a matinee idol type of part.

Whoever had been picked, some people would have hated him. He impressed Stephen Moffat & that should be good enough for the rest of us until we've got more to go on.

I must admit, though, I'm a bit unhappy about his age - having finally recconciled to the fact that I'm too old to be a companion, I'm now old enough to be the Doctor's mother !

This is a good pick. There is something very special about his looks that makes him fit the mysterious world of Doctor Who. Let's hope he'll also act it well.

I have seen him in other stuff and I think he will do well. But it betrays the direction of the show - the Doctor as action hero/hearthrob and while their was some of that with Tennant he always remained above it and showed the dimensions of the character.

They can't possibly put him with a young assistant - I only hope that they have a pensioner as the assistant!

Sarah-Jane Smith, Mickey Smith, and now Matt Smith...it's a conspiracy of Smiths, I tell you...

All I can say is that he looks the part, and it's really down to the writers, directors, etc, to give him decent material to work with. Until he actually starts, there's no point in commenting further. At least without Davies-ex-machina writing the stories there's a chance that he will get some decent material, and not need to grin, shout, run around, wave a sonic screwdriver and act like a hyperactive schoolboy all the time (except when he has to break off in the middle of a tense escape to deal with some emotional baggage, that is).

If anyone thinks he's too young, they might like to remember Susan, the first Doctor's granddaughter. Presumably she could have been several 100 years old, for all we know - now that we know she was a Time Lord (of course the people producing the show didn't know this at the time, in 1963) - and she looked, and acted, like someone of rather less than Matt Smith's current age. If he doesn't scream and twist his ankle every few minutes, it will be a good sign...

Loading
Subscribe to The Stage Podcast (iTunes edition) Square Eyes: Twice weekly TV previews Turn off the TV: TV Today's radio picks

Recent Comments

LizR on Matt Smith is the Doctor!
Sarah-Jane Smith, Mickey Smith, and now ...
Mick on Matt Smith is the Doctor!
I have seen him in other stuff and I thi...
Sam Sweiti on Matt Smith is the Doctor!
This is a good pick. There is something ...
Sue on Matt Smith is the Doctor!
It does seem crazy how people want to ma...
Emily on Matt Smith is the Doctor!
I'm trusting their judgement. Matt Smith...
Joe on Matt Smith is the Doctor!
"It goes with the territory, naturally, ...
Ian Robinson on Matt Smith is the Doctor!
Sorry, I'm trying to be positive but Emm...
carysk on Matt Smith is the Doctor!
I don't know what all the fuss is about....
Emmy on Matt Smith is the Doctor!
In fact, I found a list on the bbc websi...
Jade Spring on Matt Smith is the Doctor!
Matt Smith will be a great replacement; ...

Content is copyright © 2012 The Stage Media Company Limited unless otherwise stated.

All RSS feeds are published for personal, non-commercial use. (What’s RSS?)