I meant to post this back in June, after it was first announced that Matt Smith was leaving, but never got around to doing so. At any rate, writing it tonight will do, as tomorrow we find out who will replacing Matt at the helm of the TARDIS, in a live, half-hour special called Doctor Who Live: The Next Doctor. It's airing at 7pm on BBC One and will be simulcast in the U.S., Canada, and Australia. (Possibly elsewhere as well, but these are the countries where the simulcast has been confirmed). Here's a trailer for the special from BBC America:
The nice thing about the event being simulcast is that all of us will get to find out who the Twelfth Doctor will be at the same time, which eliminates the possibility of spoilers, like you get with the regular Doctor Who episodes, which air at different times (though all on the same day).
I admit, way back in June, when I heard Matt was leaving the show, I was just as shocked as anyone else. I think I've said on here that Eleven isn't my favorite Doctor. Ten gets that honor. And I've said good things and bad things about Matt Smith and his performance as The Doctor. I was just re-reading my posts about Series 7 Part 1 earlier today, and I realized how much I disliked Eleven back then. Now, months later, I feel differently. The 2012 Christmas Special and Series 7 Part 2 changed my mind about Eleven; I've warmed up to him now. (That and this fanfic I've been working on that stars Eleven, which forced me to actually think about him as a character). He's still not my favorite, and I doubt he ever will be. (Granted, after I watch Series 5 and 6, my opinion on that may change).
In the past several months, I have realized that Matt Smith truly is a gifted young man. He really can act, and act well. And it's because of this that he went from being a nobody in 2009, when he was cast, to a much-beloved Doctor now 4 years later. With him came Steven Moffat as showrunner and a much darker hue to the show in general (at least based on what I've seen so far). And with him came great Companions in the forms of Karen Gillan, Arthur Darvill, Alex Kingston, and Jenna-Louise Coleman (Jenna Coleman now...sorry) as Amy Pond, Rory Williams, River Song, and Clara Oswald respectively. Each Doctor brings something new to the show, and Matt has brought his something in spades, giving us a young, rather hyperactive, childish Doctor who likes to wear bow ties and fezzes and Stetsons and a worn-out suit with patches stolen from a hospital (or fancy purple Victorian-esque suits with top hats), enjoys eating fish custard and Jammie Dodgers, and is married to a woman whose timeline is all out of whack who also happens to be Amy and Rory's daughter. (And yes, I can say this having not seen Series 5 and 6...I'm spoiled enough on those seasons that I have an inkling of what goes on in them).
So am I going to miss Matt Smith? Absolutely. But I know I still have the two specials left to see him in, and I'm sure Moffat will send him off in proper fashion come Christmastime (it was confirmed in a recent Comic-Con panel that Moffat is writing this year's Christmas Special). Apparently, according to the Wikipedia entry for the Christmas Special, that episode will also be the 800th episode of Doctor Who, which will make the send-off for Matt extra special. Also, I just realized the Complete Seventh Series DVD and Blu-Ray will be released in the UK and Europe on October 28, which is Matt's birthday. (And also mine...that's right, Matt and I share a birthday!)
But now we have the Twelfth Doctor to look forward to. It's 12:06 a.m. right now as I type this sentence, meaning that the special announcing the Twelfth Doctor is in slightly less than 11 hours from now, my time. And you know what? I can't wait. I'm tired of all the speculation (and believe me, there has been a LOT); I just want to find out who it is already. This is the first time I've been able to be part of the lead-up to a new Doctor's run, so I want to enjoy it while I can. I want to find out who the next Doctor will be, and spend the next few months letting that revelation sink in, and possibly watching other things with him (or her; many people think we'll get a female Doctor this time around) in it so I can get used to him (or her) beforehand. Personally, I am hoping for Ben Whishaw:
Ben Whishaw has long been a favorite for the role of Twelve. I loved him as Q in the latest Bond film Skyfall. He's also been in other movies like Perfume: The Story of a Murderer and Cloud Atlas and has a fair amount of TV experience, including playing the main character in the TV series The Hour. Plus, he's close in age to Matt, so the transition between Doctors will be a little smoother if he's cast.
Honestly though, I think I'm mature enough to be happy with whoever they picked. I'm not sure about the female Doctor idea; I mean, I'm not against it (I'm writing a story right now myself that stars a female Time Lord), but it would be such an abrupt change. Still, if, as Jenna has said, the 50th Anniversary Special is going to send the show in a whole new direction, I suppose anything's possible. Also, one of the Doctor Who audio dramas stated that, in order for a Time Lord to change sexes when regenerating, he or she has to commit suicide. Whether Moffat considers this canon or not, I just can't see Matt's Doctor doing that.
I'm more open to the idea that we might get a person of color as the next Doctor. Like the female thing, we also have never had a Doctor of color. We had Companions of color (Martha, Mickey, Rosita from "The Next Doctor," Rani from The Sarah Jane Adventures) but never a Doctor of color. I would be open to that idea. I like the idea of an Asian Doctor for some reason. (Maybe because the Time Lady in the aforementioned story I'm writing has one regeneration where she looks Chinese). One of the favorites for Twelve is black, though I forget his name.
So, let's enjoy these last few months we have with Matt before he turns in his bow tie and fez (or not; I have a feeling he'll talk someone into letting him keep those) and takes a bow. And let's get excited about what is to come, especially once we know who Twelve is (which is now in about 10 1/2 hours my time). Allons-y, as Ten would say.