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The (real) Next Doctor

Having recently learned that David Tennant plans to give up the TARDIS at the end of the next abbreviated series of Doctor Who (we Yanks tend to be a bit late on the uptake for news like that from across the pond), I just found out who the 11th Doctor will be after Tennant leaves: Matt Smith.


Forgive me, my UK readers, but before I found the BBC press release, I’d never heard of this guy before. (Of course, I had never really heard of David Tennant before he was chosen and only later realized that he had played Barty Crouch, Jr. in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, and he turned out OK, didn’t he?)

One thing that strikes me right off the bat is that he’s very young (26), perhaps too young, in my opinion. Indeed, he’s younger than Peter Davison was (29) when he took over the role. Personally, I like my Doctors to have a bit more age and appearance of experience to them, like John Pertwee–or even Christopher Eccleston. On the plus side, he does have a nicely “alien” look about him, which could be used to good advantage in playing the Doctor. Indeed, his facial bones almost have a David Bowiesque quality to them from back around the time when androgyny and Ziggy Stardust were all the rage. He also has eyes that resemble Peter Davison’s, particularly in this picture. Unfortunately, I have no idea how good an actor he is.

The commentary from the British press summarized here gives me reason for hope, although some wags have suggested that “they couldn’t have played it any safer if they’d just cloned David Tennant and subtracted a decade.” I guess I’ll just have to wait and see. In the meantime, fellow Who fans, what say you?

By Orac

Orac is the nom de blog of a humble surgeon/scientist who has an ego just big enough to delude himself that someone, somewhere might actually give a rodent's posterior about his copious verbal meanderings, but just barely small enough to admit to himself that few probably will. That surgeon is otherwise known as David Gorski.

That this particular surgeon has chosen his nom de blog based on a rather cranky and arrogant computer shaped like a clear box of blinking lights that he originally encountered when he became a fan of a 35 year old British SF television show whose special effects were renowned for their BBC/Doctor Who-style low budget look, but whose stories nonetheless resulted in some of the best, most innovative science fiction ever televised, should tell you nearly all that you need to know about Orac. (That, and the length of the preceding sentence.)

DISCLAIMER:: The various written meanderings here are the opinions of Orac and Orac alone, written on his own time. They should never be construed as representing the opinions of any other person or entity, especially Orac's cancer center, department of surgery, medical school, or university. Also note that Orac is nonpartisan; he is more than willing to criticize the statements of anyone, regardless of of political leanings, if that anyone advocates pseudoscience or quackery. Finally, medical commentary is not to be construed in any way as medical advice.

To contact Orac: [email protected]

30 replies on “The (real) Next Doctor”

I have to agree about the older doctors, but I guess they’ll do okay with this one.

Well my wife (who loves this show as much as I do) just said, “pshhh…they may as well have asked Marylin Manson.”

It took me a couple of episodes to like david tennant and now I really like him a lot. I hope this guy can do it.

I guess we’ll see.

Steven Moffat, the new lead writer, said in the show where this was announced that he thinks a good Doctor should be somehow both old and young — he cited Pertwee as one of the oldest ones who still acted quite youthful. With that in mind it sees likely that Smith’s acting has a bit more age to it than his appearance does. That could work really well, especially since the character is centuries old anyway, so by rights even a very old man would be preposterously young to play him.

I’m just thrilled that they are continuing the series, they were threatening for a while to just stop. If they can maintain the quality of the writing without throwing out the basic Tennants (HA tennant, get it?!) of the show then I think the new guy will work out.

Not Judi Densch — after her foray into 007-land they couldn’t afford her — but I’ve been arguing for Stephanie Cole (WAITING FOR GOD and OPEN ALL HOURS) since they were looking for an 8th Doctor — and for those of you who hated the tv movie that Fox produced, the 8th Doctor actually was used quite well in the books and they give a glimpse of ‘what could have been’ if the Foxdiots had stayed away.

Another possibility they’ve ignored is using a South Asian actor, possibly someone from Bollywood or Ravi Kapoor (Dr. Mahesh Vijayaraghavensatyanaryanamurthy — better known as “Bugs” — from CROSSING JORDAN).

I thought his performances were fine in the two Masterpiece Theater broadcasts I saw him in with Billie Piper (The Ruby in the Smoke + The Shadow in the North). This gives me hope that I’ll enjoy Matt as The Doctor.

I looked him up on IMDB and Smith hasn’t done much work. I was hoping for a black Doctor; even Tennant thinks it’s time. Chiwetel Ejiofor (Serenity, Children of Men, Kinky Boots) would have been a fabulous Doctor!

I adored Eccleston as The Doctor, so I was a bit hesitant when Tennant took over – but it didn’t take long for him to show he could hold his own in the role. So I’m willing to give the new guy a chance.

BTW, I love the idea of a female Doctor! I seem to recall references to not all regenerations being of same gender as the previous one. If they hadn’t already used her in the series, the actress who played the Doctor’s daughter might have been a good choice to replace Tennant. (Although Densch would’ve kicked ass!) And if Time Lords can change gender, why not skin color? (Dulé Hill, perhaps?) Just makes sense….

We’ll see how this works out. I would like the Doctor to be a little more thoughtful and less manic in this iteration. I had hoped for Thewlis, but Ejiofor is name that hadn’t occured to me. He would have been fantastic!

It took me a bit of time to get used to David Tenant as the Dr., but I did and I like him very much. So we’ll just have to see with Matt Smith. I think he was the choice in the hopes of drawing more younger viewers. Bottom line for me, like everyone else, If I don’t like him, I won’t watch.

Bad Astronomy linked to a YouTube video with some interview clips from Doctor Who Confidential, and I was very encouraged…I could definitely see some Doctor in his mannerisms! I agree that some Doctor-diversity would’ve been nice to see too, but I’m optimistic about Matt.

I’ll have to see how he acts. I’ve only been a Who fan for the new series (really need to go hermit to the old series some day), but I tend to think of The Doctor as being less dependent on appearance and more on how the actor handles the role of being an eccentric time traveler who’s seen just about everything.

I’ve been following the show since the 1980s. Every time a new Doctor is chosen, there is always a highly vocal and nasty contingent that hates the choice and is convinced that it will be The End of Doctor Who. I’m not worried.

I suspect it’s highly unlikely there will ever be another Hartnell/Pertwee aged Doctor. The “squee!” factor gets too many ratings and hence money. Also given that there seems to be very little ‘platonic relationship’ in the TARDIS these days – the idea of an old man (even though the Doc is technically several hundred years old) and young female would create a lot of questions and make a lot of people ill. What will be interesting though is how they handle the new female companions for the show given his young age – pure MILF/Cougar material.

The Doctor as a female? Won’t happen, especially since they made a big thing they made of Rosy-sue and the Doctor. It is still technically a children’s program so the complexities of such a relationship will cause too much PC nervousness with the management at the BBC.

And yes while there are the contingents of doomsayers – they were definitely right about Collin Baker – the show never really recovered from that stint.

My main hope? That Moffat doesn’t go the RTD path of endless reset buttons, endless and farcical parades of daleks and cybers, etc. Oh and bring back the real Master – the dark charm of Delago and not a hyperactive Riddler wannabe.

I liked Tennant, but I still pine for Christopher Eccleston. I’m slow like that. 😉 That said, I’m fully aware of my proclivity for liking the old guy better than the new guy, and am thus determined to give the new guy a fair shake.

I never warmed to Eccleston, but this guy has the look of him and Pertwee together, so physically, he works for me. A bit of Davidson in there, too…

My only worry is what age of companions is he going to have.

Let’s not forget that it is the vision and talent of writer/producer Russell T Davies that has made the new incarnation of the series as enjoyable to watch as it has been. Let’s hope that Stephen Moffat is up to the task of replacing him along with young Matt Smith being right for the title role. It would be a pity for such a wonderful show to wain away or jump the shark.

Sureley the whole point is that The Doctor gets younger with each regeneration – he is not as immortal as he seems, and the day will come when he has no regenerations left.

Rather like Piers Anthony’s Father Time in his “Incarnations of Immortality” series.

They do seem to be playing it safe. He even has a very similar style of dress as compared to Tennant. Granted Eccelston and Tennant werent radically different in terms of wardrobe, but based on the photo there does seem a feeling of lets try to keep it the same. At least Tennant and Eccelston were physically very different looking.

I was kind of hoping for a somewhat drastic change in wardrobe, something like but not identical to the long scarf worn by Tom Baker. Oh well, let’s hope they don’t try keeping everything the same, and give him some odd personality quirks.

I, for one, liked the psychological quirks of the last two Doctors. Eccleston’s depression at the loss of the Time Lords balanced well with the bubbling anger and barely contained viciousness that occasionally came through with Tennant. Sure, the Doctor had that childish excitement again, but he needed someone in place to check his thirst for vengeance. The established it well, in the transition, by calling him a “no second chances” type.

I loved Tennant’s Doctor–Reminded me of Patrick Troughton. Capable of viciousness when needful, but mostly a sunny character.

Also liked Eccleston. And enjoyed the series enough to have a look at Sylvester McCoy’s Doctor–Brilliant!

I want the Doctor to go up in age a bit, think Billy Connoly (don’t scream!). But this fellow looks like he can handle the TARDIS for a few seasons.

I liked Eccleston, a lot. He was great as Norfolk in Elizabeth (Blanchette version). When I was in London at Xmas, there was gossip about a black Time Lord, and I’d have voted for Idris Elba, an excellent British actor, though maybe out of the Dr Who price range after his turn as Stringer Bell on the Wire.

Well, as happens every time there’s a regeneration, I say, “So who’s this guy? He’ll never replace my Doctor!” My Doctor tends to be the current one of course after a few episodes for me to get used to the new him and for him to get used to the new him. Every Doctor holds a special place in my hearts (which are TARDIS-like in their capacity). The real question is “how will he dress?”

I’m actually kind of bummed it wasn’t Chiwetel Ejiofor. I loved him in Serenity and think he would have made a wonderful next Doctor. That said, they’d have to screw things up quite a bit to get me to quit. I am absolutely certain that Matt will make a lovely Doctor.

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