Matt Smith Leaving Doctor Who at Year's End -- Who Should Helm the TARDIS Next?

Doctor Who Renewed Season 8The Doctor is soon to be out.

Matt Smith and BBC America announced on Saturday that Doctor Who will be in need of a new Time Lord, once this year’s Christmas special wraps.

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Smith — who first portrayed the Doctor in 2010 and will wrap up his run in both the series’ 50th anniversary program (airing November 23) and annual holiday special — shared this statement on BBC America’s website:

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.”

For more of his farewell note, visit

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Moffat in turn issued a statement, saying in part:

“Every day, on every episode, in every set of rushes, Matt Smith surprised me: the way he’d turn a line, or spin on his heels, or make something funny, or out of nowhere make me cry, I just never knew what was coming next. … But great actors always know when it’s time for the curtain call, so this Christmas prepare for your hearts to break, as we say goodbye to number Eleven. Thank you Matt – bow ties were never cooler.

Where does Smith’s take on the Time Lord rank for you amongst all the portrayals? And does anyone have any casting suggestions for the next Doctor?

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. Zoe says:

    What about Jenna-Louise Coleman’s real-life boyfriend, Richard Madden? Might not be good for them to mix business and pleasure though!

  2. Mike Weiser says:

    How about Sir Patrick Stewart?

  3. didi says:

    OMG hugh laurie please *.*

  4. David Morrissey I know he’s busy being ‘The Governor’ but maybe he can fit it in.

  5. akcelt says:

    What about Colin Salmon? He’s a terrific actor that has never been given the spotlight. He would be great! That’s my final vote Colin Salmon!

  6. tammy says:

    How about a lady doctor like river song or amy huh huh

    • Sally says:

      I like the idea of a woman and like Amy, but I never liked River. Alex Kingston, yes. River Song annoyed the living h-ll out of me.

  7. Hurding Katz says:

    John Noble. Think about it. Think harder.

  8. JC says:

    Aww, I’m sorry to hear this. :( Matt Smith has been my favorite Doctor so far. I enjoyed Christopher Eccleston and David Tennant but neither of them has gotten me quite as invested in the Doctor as a character as Matt Smith has. I was hoping he’d be around for awhile longer. I suppose this means the end of River too? I wondered when I saw the S7 finale if that meant we wouldn’t be seeing her again. I’m sure I’ll like whoever comes on next though – I’ve enjoyed all the Doctors and companions so far (to a greater or lesser extent; I wasn’t the biggest fan of Rose or Martha).

    • Rich Higgason says:

      I think we’ve seen the last of River anyway. S7 kinda wrapped up the River saga and takes place after Silence in the Library (which is the death of River). Her role is already reduced to being a hologram.

  9. Bill Nighy or — behold, an american — Bradley Whitford would both make good doctors.

    • wooster182 says:

      I never in my life would have thought of my adorable Bradley Whitford but hell yes I would sign up to watch Lemon Lymon be the Doctor!!

  10. starbike says:

    I think Eddie Redmayne would be really good a The Doctor.

  11. gabby says:

    While it took me awhile to like Matt’s doctor and I did end up liking him I can’t say i’m super sad to see him go though. Now if only Moffat and his bad writing would leave. I wouldn’t mind Rupert. I’d love to see Andrew Lee Potts as the doctor though! I think he’d be great.

    I also wish David could just come back…But I thought when Karen and Arthur said they where leaving it was said Matt would be leaving too? I don’t know lol I’m not shocked he’s leaving though.

  12. Alan says:

    its a sad day when we have to think about a replacement for matt smith, i dont know how anyone will top his performance so good luck to whoever gets the job. i think people who are relatively unknown are best suited for the role so i would like to see someone who has been floating around for a while but hasnt had the chance to really make a name for themselves get the role; or failing that ben whishaw because he constantly puts in fantastic performances in whatever role he is given.
    as long as steven moffat is still the showrunner this is not all bad news though because i would really like to see him building a different interpretation of the doctor, something to contrast the work he has done with smith.
    hopefully smith will go on to have a hugely successful career because so far david tennant and christopher eccleston havent exactly capitalised on the fame brought by the role to the extent they should have and thats a shame because they are both fantastic.

  13. erin says:

    Richard Ayoade for #12!!!

  14. Drew says:

    I would like to see a more serious Doctor . An actor such as James Nesbitt or Idris Elba .

  15. paulc1989 says:

    it HAS to be benedict cumberbatch. ok still does Sherlock but for how much longer? hes already famous so wont need leave soonish to “crack Hollywood” because hes already been there and done it. besides of everyone out there he is the perfect doctor. im sure if gatiss and Moffatt had a word he would be willing given theyre all involved in Sherlock. hes been to Hollywood, successful over there too but he still comes back for Sherlock, that’s the kind of actor that’s needed not one wholl do one soon as a chance over there comes around.

  16. James says:

    I’m loving how ridiculous some of these suggestions are.
    They are not going to hire someone who is already super-busy with movies and TV (So no Benedict Cumberbatch, A-List British film stars, comedians etc etc as they are all too busy)

    Based on past experiences it’s going to be someone who’s a little quirky but can handle both serious and comedic lines (and is open to do this kind of TV)
    I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s another outside choice that no one will expect

    • Zetylin says:

      Thanks for saying what I was thinking…. Sometimes I just shake my head. Slightly unknown or least lower profile is definitely the way to go.

      Also speaking as a hard core fan and woman…. Please do my cast a woman in this role! The doctor is a man- man!

    • Missy says:

      Colin Morgan fits the description as quirky, serious and funny!

    • Estée says:

      Ryan Cartwright (Vincent Nigel Murray from bones & Gary from alphas) fits that bill

    • Mark S says:

      Finally, someone speaks sense!
      Like you, i’ve been amazed by some of the suggestions put forward. The next actor to play the role will most likely be someone low profile and almost unknown. When Matt was cast the same names were being thrown out as now, he wasn’t even on anyone’s radar until a few days before he was officially announced. So whatever actors people believe should be cast almost certainly WILL NOT BE CAST!

  17. TK says:

    Helen Mirren. Because that would be fracking amazing.

  18. Tanderix says:

    Robert Sheehan! He would be awesome!

  19. Lisa says:

    Never liked Smith as the Doctor. Like the idea of Jamie Bamber though. Might make me watch again.

  20. JT says:

    I really don’t know who I would choose to be the next Doctor. But if Moffat goes young, Aidan Turner from Being Human would be a good fit.

  21. Spinning Maze says:

    Alan Webb?

  22. Dave says:

    Callum Blue as the Doctor! He’s not real well known and he was great on Dead Like Me and as Zod on Smallville

  23. Rob says:

    Very sorry to see Matt Smith go – really unusual and talented actor. But please can Steven Moffat go now too? Storylines nowadays are way too convoluted and the ideas behind them are just getting daft. Russell T. Davies had his bad days (only a few) but he kept the show’s feet on the ground when he ran it. He kept the casual viewer involved, not just the devoted fans. Under Moffat, that went out the window. Smith had a tough job keeping the whole thing watchable. The new doctor, whoever it is (Harry Lloyd? Ben Wishaw?) will suffer from the same problems unless there’s a new producer with a fresh approach who can stop the programme disappearing up its own space-time continuum.

    • akcelt says:

      Thank you! That is what I’ve been trying to say. I think I would have liked Matt Smith if the story lines had at least followed the basic Doctor rules. Like not crossing your own timeline!

      • Alan says:

        the doctor only ever crosses his own timeline under moffat when the universe is on the verge of destruction, something which has long been established as throwing all the usual laws out the window and causing crazy stuff to happen; anytime crossing timelines has happened has actually been well within long established lack-of-rules in the story.

    • Mark S says:

      I just knew this announcement would bring all the Moffat-haters out of the woodwork!
      Sorry to disappoint, but the Moff is in charge for season 8, so you’re out of luck, i guess.

  24. Johnathon says:

    Frankie boyle, frankie boyle, frankie boyle, frankie boyle, frankie boyle, just have frankie boyle as the next doctor!

  25. Rose Wayne says:

    I seriously just started liking the 11th doctor, due to the fact that David Tennant is awesome. But I don’t want him to go. Why does he have to go. This is going to be heartbreaking.

  26. Hazen says:

    If they go older, how about Hugh Laurie or Anthony Head?

  27. Nick says:

    Adrian Lester. A great actor.

  28. Krishi Jhaveri says:

    Martin Freeman or Orlando Bloom

  29. wooster182 says:

    Well, if Castle had been canceled, I would say Nathan Fillion would make a terrific first American Doctor….

    But I would totally love for Charlie Cox to be the next Doctor. The next one needs a little more sex appeal. Going from foxy Tennant to Smith was a little tough.

    • Alan says:

      as much as i love fillion, no doctors that arent british it just wouldnt fit.

      • wooster182 says:

        Well, in reality, I agree, but he would be a damn good Doctor. Goofy, charming, wonderful sci-fi background.

      • Sally says:

        Nathan Fillion isn’t American and not all of the Doctors have been British. Though there is no chance of them casting a non-UK actor.

        • Alan says:

          yes all 11 have been british, in fact all but david tennant and sylvester mccoy have been english, both of them are scotish.

          • Sally says:

            I’ve never heard a Scotsman call himself British. ‘From the UK’, yes, but never British.

      • Jim says:

        The term “british” refers to anyone from the UK so that would include Scotland. I don’t think they normally refer to themselves that way, but technically all the doctors have been british.

    • mia says:

      Nathan is Canadian (yay). But I agree he’d be excellent

  30. kaleb says:

    I vote for James Marsters. Not British I know, but he fakes it very well. He’d be fantastic

  31. RobMF says:

    This news broke my heart.

  32. Sally says:

    I know they would never cast as I would wish them to – but I’m voting for Robert Carlyle. If they are willing to take an actor from outside the UK – Paul Gross. Both are charismatic, energetic and great at the comic as well as the menacing. Smith was great at the comedy but he was never the menacing Doctor who would pop up once in awhile.

    Because of course, there is absolutely no chance they would cast a woman or non-white/biracial actor. Just isn’t going to happen.

    But first they better figure out a satisfactory way to change the mythology. They are almost out of regenerations.

    • Alan says:

      the master has already broken the regeneration limit twice i think so they already have precedent in place, they can just follow that.
      robert carlyle is an amazing choice, im currently watching stargate universe and he is just fantastic in it.
      as for smith not being menacing, when his doctor gets serious he gets scary, especially when he goes from whimsical to menacing in a single scene; thats when his talent is really shown.

      • Sally says:

        I can only watch the show on DVD so I am a bit behind, but have yet to see anything truly scary or menacing in Smith’s performance – Eccleston was the master at it, though.

        Mostly I just want an end to the River Song character.

      • Temperance says:

        Carlyle is starring in Once Upon A Time in the US currently.

    • amharper says:

      If you want to go menacing, how about Jared Harris?

    • mia says:

      Holy crap. Paul Gross. That’s aweeesoommmeee!
      (And I agree, they won’t be brave enough to cast a non white dude)

  33. amharper says:

    One name I’m surprised not to have seen is Paul Blackthorne.

  34. mostrikes says:

    Orlando Bloom

  35. josh kinnear says:

    going young
    Iwan Rheon
    Robert Sheehan
    Grint as mentioned or slightly older and David Harewood
    i loved merlin but really dont think Morgan would be right.

  36. Cathie says:

    A Merlin actor would be good, but instead of Colin Morgan, how about Alexander Vlahos? He’s expressed interest on several occasions, and proved to be a solid, nuanced actor in the final season of Merlin.

  37. Trixy says:

    Bradley James from Merlin or Jack Gleeson from Game of Thrones.

  38. James Wilson says:

    Sorry to see him go. He is one of my favorite Doctor Who.

  39. louise says:

    colin morgan or benedict cumberbach!!!

  40. says:

    I’ll just say that I’m very happy about the change – the year of 50th Anniversary is a perfect moment to do just that.
    When it comes to my types: personal favourites are Hugh Laurie and Robert Carlyle. But one is too big of a star and the other is too wrapped up with OUAT.
    Female Doctor – Helen Mirren (same story as with Laurie) and Lara Pulver.
    I guess that 12th is going to be relatively young and not very popular at this time, so that leaves me with a couple of names, including Jim Sturgess, Tom Felton, Matthew Lewis, Nicholas Hould and Max Irons. But well, we’re gonna wait and see – but I think that we can stop thinking about names like Hiddleston, Cumberbatch (2 shows ran by Moffat with this guy? No way, BBC!) or Freeman (same story here).

  41. RobMF says:

    The Doctor figures out reverse Regeneration and David Tennant walks out of the Tardis. If only.

  42. Winnie says:

    My guy said Colin Morgan from Merlin once we watched last night’s finale. I told him that I love that dude, but no.

    I will miss Matt Smith as the Doctor. Oh Doctor, My Doctor.

  43. Patsy says:

    Rupert Grint is not the only ginger in England,have more imagination people.I would go with Simon Woods,ginger and he doesn’t look so young like Rupert..I can’t buy Rupert as a Timelord.But to be honest I would prefer someone older more like the classic series.
    A female Doctor would be strange but yet if it was Joanna Lumley it would be F-A-N-T-A-S-T-I-C

  44. lucy says:

    They couldn’t do a woman cause so much of the fan base is young boys who would hate it. And they’ll do an unknown, at least relatively, cause they’re constantly trying to keep costs down and established actors are more expensive – think Tennant’s million pounds versus matt’s 200k.

  45. lucy says:

    Also no non-brits, again cause of who the primary fan base is. It’s just not big enough in the states.

    • RobMF says:

      As someone from the US, I’d be mad if it were an American. I don’t think any Americans want it to be an American. Part of it’s charm is that he is portrayed with a British accent by someone from the UK.

  46. Angel says:

    Didn’t they already John Hurt is the Doctor?

    • Maggie says:

      He’s a past incarnation of The Doctor, but one that wasn’t worthy of using the name The Doctor. We’ll find out what his story is this November, in the 50th Anniversary Special.

  47. Krzysztof says:

    I was thinking perhaps Richard Coyle or Jack Davenport.

  48. courtland says:

    i dont care that she’s american…..amy acker as the doctor…make it happen moffat.

  49. Ana says:

    Simon Pegg or Ewan McGregor would be my two choices.

  50. Cate53 says:

    A lot of the people mentioned are just too famous to play the Doctor. It will be someone with experience, but not that well known IMO. I’d love to see a black Doctor, but while Idris Elba would be great, it’s unlikely he’d sign up. Ben Wishaw is brilliant and eccentric enough, but again, he has too much of a career already! I’ll lay odds it’ll be someone under 35 who most people will say “WHO???” about.

    • Maggie says:

      I agree. Tennant and Smith both worked in TV a lot, but weren’t stars yet before Doctor Who. The next Doctor will probably be someone who follows that pattern. It is a star making role for the right actor.