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Sunday, June 2, 2013

Fall of the Eleventh: Matt Smith Confirmed to Leave Doctor Who, Regenerate at Christmas

Eleventh Doctor Regenerates

Sad news, fans of the Chin, but Eleventh Doctor Matt Smith has confirmed that he will be leaving the show at the end of the year, regenerating into the Twelfth incarnation of the Time Lord in the 2013 Christmas Special. Here is his official statement:
“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 realise 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 show runner 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 honour 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.”
You can read some very nice statements from showrunner Steven Mofat, and current companion Jenna-Louise Coleman by clicking the links. After David Tennant left the role in 2010, most fans were apprehensive at having a younger, ganglier, Time Lord on screen (and, blimey, that chin!) But I think Matt Smith has proved himself to be a fantastic Doctor. He was able to play both the alien and the leader, the clown and the madman, which embodies the spirit of the Doctor. He made bowties (and fezzes) cool, and provided us with some really exciting episodes. His companions, Amy and Rory, River, and Clara, were always engaging and intriguing. Recurring friends like Craig and the Paternoster Gang were always a treat. We saw the return of classic villains like the Daleks, Cybermen, and Ice Warriors and battled new foes like the Silence and the Whispermen. And we got not one, but two new TARDIS interiors. Especially in the latter part of Series 7, I think Matt Smith was able to put a whole new twist on the character. We got to see him grow as the Doctor and as an actor, and that's quite an experience!

And while I'm sad to see him go, I know that he'll go down as one of the best Doctors to date. In that spirit, here are Eleven (get it?) of my all-time favorite Matt Smith episodes:

1.    The Eleventh Hour
Doctor WhoThe Eleventh Doctor meets a young Amelia Pond, eats fish fingers and custard, and discovers a mysterious crack in her bedroom wall. After a miscalculation the Doctor returns fourteen years later and saves an older Amy Pond (and Rory) from Prisoner Zero and saves the Earth from the Atraxi. And we first hear the prophecy..."Silence Will Fall."

2.    The Lodger
Doctor WhoPeople are disappearing when they enter a second-floor flat and the Doctor, locked out of a malfunctioning TARDIS, wants to know why. He befriends his new roomate, Craig, and does his best to blend in to regular human life (and fails spectacularly). This episode shows just how alien the Doctor can be, and it's hilarious.

3.    The Pandorica Opens/The Big Bang
Doctor WhoThe Doctor's greatest enemies construct an impenetrable prison in order to seal him away from the universe, believing him to be responsible for the cracks in time. Using Amy's fondest memories, they create the perfect trap, complete with Roman soldiers and a revived Rory. Amy is injured, placed inside the Pandorica, and is reawakened two thousand years later by her younger self. The Doctor pilots the Pandorica into the heart of the exploding TARDIS (with River Song trapped inside) in order to restart the universe in the second Big Bang.

4.    The Impossible Astronaut/Day of the Moon
Doctor WhoThe Doctor, Amy, Rory, and River travel to Lake Silencio, Utah and see an astronaut rise from the water. The Doctor warns his friends not to interfere as he approaches the astronaut...and is killed. But a past version of the Doctor is enlisted by President Nixon to save a scared little girl, who is being hunted by the spaceman. They travel to an abandoned orphanage where they first encounter the mysterious and deadly aliens known as the Silents, who have been manipulating humanity for all time Amy discovers that she's pregnant...and somewhere in New York City a little girl regenerates.

5.    The Doctor’s Wife
Doctor WhoThe Doctor, Amy, and Rory land on a planet outside of the universe, where the sentient being "House" is waiting for them. Sucking the soul out of the TARDIS and implanting it inside the body of a women named Idris, House takes over the blue box and makes Amy and Rory run for their lives for his entertainment. Idris and the Doctor construct a makeshift TARDIS and go to their rescue. We find out that the TARDIS "stole" the Doctor because she wanted to see the unvierse, and we got to see the old control room again!

6.     A Good Man Goes To War
Doctor WhoThe Doctor and Rory, along with Jenny, Strax, and Vastra, (and yes, even Doriam) rush to save Amy and the newborn Melody Pond from the Silence. The epic Battle of Demons Run ends with the Doctor's greatest victory, followed by his farthest fall. They may have saved Amy, but Melody has been abducted. It's then we learn the true identity of Professor River Song.

7.    The Wedding of River Song
Doctor WhoEvery moment in time is happening at once. Churchill is the leader of a Roman Empire in which pterodactyls fly overhead. A shaggy Doctor reveals that time has gone wrong because River, the impossible astronaut, refused to kill him in Utah. The Doctor, River, Amy, and Rory battle the Silence in the alternate world, but the Doctor must right the wrong, face his death, and restore time. This is accomplished when the Doctor and River wed, kiss, and return to their positions at Lake Silencio. But the Doctor, as always, has found a loophole. Using the Teselecta, he cheats death and fixes the paradox. But Doriam's head informs him that there is one prophecy that is yet to be fulfilled. "On the fields of Trenzalore, at the fall of the Eleventh, when no living being can speak falsely or fail to answer, a question will be asked. One that must never be answered." The first question, the one hidden in plain sight.....Doctor Who?

8. The Angels Take Manhattan
Doctor WhoThe Weeping Angels are drawn to the city that never sleeps. Rory is sent back in time to the 1930's by the Angels during a trip to New York and Amy, the Doctor, and River go to rescue him. In order to defeat the Angels the Ponds create a paradox by jumping of the roof of the Winter Quay to their deaths, which will poison the time energy that the Angels feed on. The plan works, and the team is dumped into a graveyard back in the current day. But one Angel remains, and zaps Rory back again. Amy decided without hesitation that she will follow her husband into the fixed point in time, and bids a heartbreaking farewell to her raggedy Doctor.

9. Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS
Doctor WhoAfter the TARDIS is pulled in by a salvage vessel, the Doctor coerces the crew to help him find Clara. We get a free-wheeling tour of the Old Girl and see the swimming pool, the observatory, the library, the Eye of Harmony, and the heart of the TARDIS herself. Clara briefly learns the Doctor's name, but forgets it when time is re-written. Add to that the burnt-up Time Zombies and a race to save everyone from certain death, and you have one classic episode of Doctor Who.

10. Nightmare in Silver
Doctor WhoThe Cybermen are back and they are leaner, meaner, and more deadly than ever. When the Doctor is infected by cybermites he battles for control of his brain (and thus the knowledge of a Time Lord) against the Cyber Planner. Matt Smith is equally convincing as the Doctor and "Mr. Clever", and we are even treated to a flashback of previous incarnations, as well as the geek-squeal-inducing moments when the Cyber Planner quotes his predecessors famous catchphrases. Clara also holds her own and proves to be a strong and valuable companion.

11. The Name of the Doctor
Doctor WhoThe Doctor's greatest secret revealed, the Question answered (but not really), and the mystery of the Impossible Girl solved. We saw all the previous incarnations of the Doctor...including one never knew existed. And now we go from the Fields of Trenzalore to the 50th Anniversary Special...

So, what are your favorite Matt Smith memories? And Who would you like to see take on the mantle of Time Lord? Sound off in the comments below. Of course, we still have the 50th Anniversary Special and the Christmas Episode to go. So, for now.....Geronimo!

- Joe

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