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

Get More: Casting News, News

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 (433)

  • Like the idea of Richard Coyle as the doctor crack me up when he was in coupling and like his serious work as well. Or how about Damien Molony as a relatively unknown actor to take the roll?

    Comment by slow_man – June 1, 2013 05:36 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Damien Molony is my first choice. His performance as Hal on Being Human was amazing.

      Comment by Maggie – June 2, 2013 12:32 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Rupert Grint for Doctor 12!!!!!!!!!!

    Comment by Zach – June 1, 2013 05:37 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I would love to see Aidan Turner, but am a bit perplexed as to why an American actor would be an issue. Brits have totally infiltrated U.S. shows, and you don’t hear us going off on ethnocentric rants. As far as the Doctor being a woman, why not? He/she regenerates – gender shouldn’t be a problem.

    Comment by Cathy – June 1, 2013 05:42 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • I guess my problem with an American actor (and I am American) taking over this role is that it isn’t just a show, it is an iconic 50 year-old show with a legacy. It is a British show. British actors (like David Tennant) have grown up wanting to be the Doctor. Yes, some Americans watched it before it came back in the mid-2000′s, but the vast majority of American viewers are new to the show. It just wouldn’t be right to me to have an American actor take the role just because Americans now watch it. Yes there are phenomenal American actors. But it just wouldn’t be right to me (in my humble opinion) if the Doctor was played by one of them.
      And the Doctor is a male Time Lord. I don’t ever remember hearing about Time Lords changing genders when the regenerate. I thought it was canon that they stay the same gender. Anyone know if that has been discussed previously anywhere in the 50 year history?

      Comment by Sara – June 1, 2013 07:23 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • I can’t quote the exact line of dialogue but in the episode The Doctor’s Wife the Doctor mentioned that his friend the Corsair had had both male and female regenerations.

        Comment by JC – June 1, 2013 07:41 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • You do realize that early canon Who was written 50 years ago….opinions about gender have changed a lot. Back then it was strictly binary; male/female. But we’re pushing (albeit slowly) into an understanding of gender being a spectrum. So just cause the original white guys who started Who back in the day didn’t understand/believe/want gender diversity….doesn’t mean it can’t change.

        Comment by mia – June 1, 2013 08:23 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Someone in twitter suggested Amanda Tapping and I gotta say that I LOVE that idea!

    Comment by Megan – June 1, 2013 05:43 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • As the Doctor? No. But definitely to her being a companion or a recurring character.

      Comment by Anon – June 1, 2013 05:45 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • No. :( No to either Doctor or companion actually. I may be the only person on earth (and probably am) but I am just not a fan of her acting.

      Comment by JC – June 1, 2013 06:09 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • She’s been asked about it a few times at conventions and she’s said she’d love to do it. I think she’d be PERFECT!!!

      Comment by mia – June 1, 2013 08:20 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Do people honestly want a female Doctor? I think that is taking being PC a little bit far. I’m all for strong female roles, but this is a male character. There are male and female time Lords. Having the Doctor regenerate into a woman is the kind of pc nonsense that will eventually kill the show. If they want a female time lord, bring in a female time lord. But don’t make the Doctor regenerate into a woman. People may be progressive, but I’m going to take a wild stab and guess that most people aren’t THAT progressive. They will lose viewers. Maybe James Bond should become Jane Bond. Indiana Jones should be Indira Jones or some such nonsense. It’s hard to change iconic characters. The audience won’t accept it and the show will become a joke.

    Comment by Anon – June 1, 2013 05:44 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • They will lose viewers, but probably not many. And really, we shouldn’t be pandering to those in the world who are so stuck in the mud they can’t see the world around them. There’s nothing intrinsict to the Doctor’s personality that requires him to be male or white.
      They need to cast a woman or a man of colour for the next doctor or else they’re going to loose credibility.

      Comment by mia – June 1, 2013 08:18 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • The only way a female doctor or a doctor of color would work is if they never went back in history farther than the 20th century at the very least. Think about it, history has not treated women and non-Caucasians all that great. No one is going to listen to a female or person of color or treat them with respect despite that fact they are trying to save lives. Sad but fact.

        Would it be nice for a two-parter episode? Sure! But I like my doctor male and white and I don’t see why that should be a problem.

        Comment by bkwrm – June 1, 2013 09:10 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
        • You do realize that the Doctor has gone to alien planets where no one looks like him, and goes to parts and times of Earth where white men haven’t actually been the dominant power, and people listen to him and treat him with respect. Sometimes he’s wearing a ridiculous hat/scarf/tie, and people listen to him. They don’t treat him with respect because he’s white or male. They treat him with respect because he’s the Doctor.

          Besides, this is science fiction, not hyper-realism. If anything, different race or gender would give the writers even more to play with.

          Comment by dev – June 2, 2013 12:04 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
          • thank you! Just your whole response.
            I hate how regardless of the premise of a narrative, the sexist stuff is somehow the only “realistic” thing that cannot be altered. Like regardless of how scifi/hyperreal/fantasy it is, there’s always got to be this sexism in the world. Like its inherent to humanity.

            Comment by mia – June 3, 2013 06:57 AM PDT  
      • See this is the pc nonsense I’m talking about. You’ll be considered prejudice or “stuck in the mud” for not wanting a female Doctor. It’s ridiculous. Well I don’t want a Jane Bond either doesn’t mean I don’t like kick butt female characters. Now as for the Doctor being white, I have no issue with them choosing an actor who isn’t. Idris Elba would be fantastic. So basically we’re going to define Time Lords as not being gender specific? We know he had a mother and a wife and a granddaughter. So could his (or maybe her…) granddaughter become a grandson? Time Lords aren’t human, yet they’re like humans. Wasn’t it the ninth Doctor who said maybe we looked like them? Anyway, there’s never been anything telling us that time lords can regenerate into different sexes. I think they will lose credibility if they become too pc to “pander” to people who feel an iconic character needs to change to fill some kind of feminist quota. And for the most part, I am a feminist. Still, you change too many fundamentals of an iconic character, the audience will turn on the show.

        Comment by Anon – June 1, 2013 11:37 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
        • Actually, the episode The Doctor’s Wife did make it canon that Time Lords could regenerate into either sex. The Doctor mentioned that his friend the Corsair had had both male and female regenerations.

          Comment by JC – June 2, 2013 01:39 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
        • ahh yes, you’re right. *I* will be considered stuck in the mud for wanting to see some diversity on television and not being okay with the continued dominance of straight white male characters. You are SOOO right. After all, my opinion of wanting diversity is clearly SO rooted in the past and has clearly existed for centuries. How silly of me. /sarcasm
          And again you’re stuck with thinking about gender on as a binary. a Female incarnation of the Doctor could still have a mother, a daughter, a wife, etc. Like you said, they aren’t human, they are like human. Changing genders makes sense. As does the differing rules of reproduction. But even then, if we want to stick with the “babies=man+woman” the Doctor could have reproduced when he was in a male form…..doesnt mean he still isnt a Father when he’s a woman. There’s many people right now, here on Earth, who live like this. Many trans people have fluid sexual identities or identify with the “other” parental title if it might not correspond with their genitalia. Frankly, it doesn’t really matter.
          As for no canon evidence supporting a gender change, in The Doctor’s Wife they did mention it but, more importantly, its a tv show with an evolving mythology; they can simply just write it in. The Doctor wasn’t able to cross his own timeline either….yet he does. Doctor Who has broken their own universe rules SO many times, to hold them to this one is just ridiculous.
          And if we were filling a “feminist quota” there would need to be some hella more changes in the world of tv to even get close to ‘filling it’. Gender flipping one character aint going to do it. We’re just looking for some changes in Who. Its 50 years old, he travels through time and space and yet he’s always been a straight white man. come on, thats just not even plausible.

          Comment by mia – June 3, 2013 07:05 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Lennie James IMO

    Comment by Shaun Daily – June 1, 2013 05:51 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • What about Tom Baker…just for a season?

    Comment by Rich Higgason – June 1, 2013 05:53 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Aidan Turner might be a good fit…

    Comment by David W Loos – June 1, 2013 05:59 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I think that Colin Morgan from Merlin would be good.

    Comment by Gwen – June 1, 2013 06:27 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • I agree. He can be very funny or serious and is a great actor as he proved in Merlin

      Comment by Missy – June 1, 2013 06:36 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Colin O’Donoghue should be the Doctor #12! Hot, Hot, Hot!

    Comment by david – June 1, 2013 06:29 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • My nominee is Russell Tovey; a talented actor who’s already been on Doctor Who and was the suggestion of Russell T. Davies at one point.

    Would make a even better choice now as he’s shown himself to be a talented actor in his other roles.

    And he’s a ginger!

    ((Damien Lewis isn’t free for Doctor Who, he’s one of the leads in Homeland, and will continue to be an important character for that show (if you’ve ever watched an epiaode from the first two seasons, you know how good Damieb is in the role of Nicholas Brody.

    Comment by theschnauzers – June 1, 2013 06:30 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I like the idea of Colin Morgan. My initial response was “he’s too young” but actually he’s just about the age Matt Smith was when he took over as 11. The only problem is that one guest appearance back in S4, but they could work around that. I like the ideas of Damien Lewis and Benedict Cumberbatch also, but as others have mentioned, Damien Lewis is tied up with Homeland and BC has probably gotten to be too much of a big name now.

    Comment by JC – June 1, 2013 06:39 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Like the idea of Colin Morgan. I think they could work around the S4 episode. I have seen it done in many other shows with success. I think he would be a great Doctor!

      Comment by Missy – June 1, 2013 07:50 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • He’d be perfect. Maybe if hes not the next doctor, he could be a future one, when he’s a bit older.

      Comment by asniech – June 3, 2013 07:56 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • RTD needs a comeback, that’s all I’m saying. I miss the Golden Age of DW, where Torchwood was a big part of it. I’m really losing interest ever since Moffat took over as show runner, it’s become to dark and almost a mockery of the “original” New Who. DW has become too serious and although he was a great doctor, Matt Smith doesn’t have the dry wit of Eccleston, and, dare I say it, the swagger and confidence, of Tennant. It might be re-runs for me from here on out. Moffat took what was great about his new vision for DW, Amy and River out, so what’s the point?

    Comment by Luke Murphy – June 1, 2013 06:41 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Each to their own, but I don’t agree. I won’t deny that Moffat’s had some major stumbles, but overall I’ve enjoyed his run far more than RTD’s. And I did NOT care for Torchwood.

      Comment by JC – June 1, 2013 06:49 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Yeah, I’m very glad RTD is gone, gone, gone. I’ll take Moffatt and Gaiman any day.

      Comment by Temperance – June 2, 2013 01:26 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Matt Smith as darker than David Tennant? I think we’re watching different shows. Matt Smith is the silliest Doctor yet, and that’s why I love him. I think it’s more true to the writing and the show, certainly than Eccleston, and a little more than Tennant (whose Doctor got very angry towards the end of his run)

      Comment by Rachel – June 2, 2013 03:40 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I’m just bummed because I was always curious to see Captain Jack Harkness and Eleven interact. I will miss Matt Smith. He has been great.

    Comment by Sara – June 1, 2013 07:11 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • I would’ve liked to seen that too. I always wanted to see Jack and River together too, but I guess that isn’t going to happen either.

      Comment by JC – June 1, 2013 07:43 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • If you’re mentioning younger actors as Rupert Grint, I heally have to say IWAN RHEON. Even though he’s in Games of Thrones. I don’t really care. He’d be perfect. Or ROBERT SHEEHAN, YES

    Comment by ddawg – June 1, 2013 07:24 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Matt has overstayed his welcome.
    This last season found Matt wanting.
    Previous seasons have shown he is (was) a great Doctor.
    It’s as if Matt was no longer trying.

    Comment by Walnutcowboy – June 1, 2013 07:37 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • if older why not John Noble?

    Comment by dude – June 1, 2013 07:50 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • This totally bums me out. Love Matt Smith in the role. Really loved the interplay of Amy and The Doctor. And while I like Clara, it’s just not the same.

    As to a replacement, I suppose it depends on the flavor they want to give him. Are they going zany? Little more serious? Did not like Eccleston. I started with Matt Smith and then went back and caught up on Eccleston and Tennant. Wasn’t sure about Tennant at first, but then grew to love him.

    Comment by LEP – June 1, 2013 07:55 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Dylan Moran!!!

    Comment by Brskelly – June 1, 2013 08:01 PM PDT  Reply To This Post

    Comment by mia – June 1, 2013 08:14 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • This is a dark day.

    When I first saw him….I thought “Who is this baby face imitation?”…and the Smith won me over with his giddy, child like wonder and his age old weariness. Combine that with a touch of brilliant Mad Scientist, and this is one actor who has really left a mark with his portrayal of the Doctor.

    Comment by Anon – June 1, 2013 08:33 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Peter Serafinowicz would be a wonderful, Doctor.

    Comment by Jana – June 1, 2013 08:37 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Benedict Cumberbatch as the next Doctor!

    Comment by Alex – June 1, 2013 08:41 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Russel Brand!

    Comment by adam – June 1, 2013 08:51 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I’d love to see Noel Fielding as The Doctor. He already dresses like him. I think he’d be perfect

    Comment by Guy – June 1, 2013 08:54 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Andrew Lee-Potts. He is brilliant and his performances in Primevil and Alice show just how funny and eccentric he can be.

    Comment by CPearce – June 1, 2013 08:56 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • DANG IT!!! I am so bummed out. I adore Matt as Eleven and I really was hoping so very much for another season with him!!! this is just not good news for me. Me and my family will really miss him :(

    Comment by Mare – June 1, 2013 09:01 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Why is everyone suggest Sherlock characters? The roles would just get confusing and shallow. Rupert Grint eh… To be honest he’s not really doctor who material. The next doctor (in my opinion) will be someone completely random (maybe even with blonde hair??) and the regeneration is going to be way more complicated than before. We’re not going to see it coming, but we can still guess :)

    Comment by Lisa – June 1, 2013 09:11 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Why is everyone suggesting Sherlock characters? It won’t happen, the characters will get so confusing on either show and become shallow. Rupert Grint? Eh… Not really doctor who material. In my opinion we won’t even see it coming, It will be some random guy (maybe even blonde???) and in my opinion the regeneration will be more complicated than ever before… We have nothing to go off but speculation (but I’m excited ha)

    Comment by Liz.Madsen – June 1, 2013 09:19 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • How about Chris Hardwick. They did some filming in the U.S. so, why not a Yankee for a Doctor?

    Comment by Joel – June 1, 2013 09:35 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I love Matt Smith, this is sad news. He’s been an incredible Doctor. On the other hand, I now the perfect replacement: Mark Sheppard!!!! He’s a remarkable actor, with ties to the show already (there is president for reusing actors in different roles), and is not currently tied down to anything that I’m aware of. Please, please, please Mr. Moffat make this happen!

    Comment by Melody Paris – June 1, 2013 10:08 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I like the idea of Eccelson returning. His run was too short.
    Hugh Grant would also be a good choice.
    Also like the idea of Rupert Grint ( but please wait at least a couple of doctors; Grint is still a little too young right now) .
    Please no American and no woman. It just wouldn’t be DR.WHO! (And I am an American and a woman.)

    Comment by Beth – June 1, 2013 10:15 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Oops! My mistake; I meant to say Hugh Laurie would make a good Doctor, not Hugh Grant.

    Comment by Beth – June 1, 2013 10:20 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Two actors who just popped into my head: Andrew Lee Potts and Ben Miller. They’d give memorable performances. Each conjures different ideas in my head, and I like both!

    Comment by Melody Paris – June 1, 2013 10:21 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Jack Davenport would be a great Doctor.

    Comment by Josh – June 1, 2013 10:29 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Russell Tovey. Hands down.

    Comment by Brad – June 1, 2013 10:29 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Also Jonas Armstrong would work

    Comment by Josh – June 1, 2013 10:33 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Someone older, please. Bernard Hill would be fantastic.

    Comment by Ben33 – June 1, 2013 10:37 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Or Anthony Stewart Head. I would pay good money to see Giles in the Tardis. If they were ever to make the Doctor a woman, you can’t go past Helen Mirren.

      Comment by Ben33 – June 1, 2013 10:39 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Asa Butterfield

    Comment by Juan Ignacio Aguilar – June 1, 2013 10:53 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I’ve seen the classic and I’ve seen nu-who and Matt Smith is definitely in my top 3 favorite Doctors, maybe even my favorite. Matt is a brilliant actor and he can make me laugh as,well as he can make me cry. 11th resemblance to Patrick Troughton’s Doctor makes me love him more. Im so sad about Matt leaving… but I support his projects and I’m happy for him. I have no idea who should be the next Doctor. Frankly I’m not ready to think about it yet.

    Comment by kinga – June 1, 2013 10:54 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Chewitel or David Oyelowo would be a great idea

    Comment by Mac – June 1, 2013 11:35 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Sean Bean! Imagine the storylines if they skew the Doctor older all of a sudden. And Bean has street cred with just about every age group watching. But, I’m sure they’d never want to pay what it would take to get him.

    Comment by Sable Crow (@Sable899) – June 1, 2013 11:48 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Alan Rickman?

    Comment by Tom – June 1, 2013 11:49 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • No, no, no. I was finally getting over losing Tennant as the Doctor and just beginning to appreciate Smith in his own right. Now I have to start all over again. I am not at happy about this.

    Comment by S. – June 2, 2013 12:39 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Don’t leave! He was the funniest doctor so far and it fit him so well his quirkiness is contagious and Matt smith was the only doctor that when he was making a decision looked tortured more than mad! He fit with river so well! But whoever the new doctor will be he will have short hair because of what river said he looked like on their last trip when she died in the library and honestly I was hoping they would bring river back she was the kick ass character that helped make it palatable for the American audience lol!

    Comment by Barsen lazar – June 2, 2013 12:53 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • For me smith is the best doctor by a million miles and the new one will have to do a lot to even come close. I would’nt mined Johnny Lee Miller, the way he plays Sherlock in elementary is fantastic. The doctor would be a bit older, meaner and manlier which may not be a bad thing.

    Comment by ablindman785 – June 2, 2013 12:59 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Lets give the doctor charm and sophistication are you ready Nigel Havers……….

    If we go back to the days of the doctor thinking about things and a quick “well hello” to the older women to make there hearts flutter that would be good.

    Or what if during the regenaration the doctors splits like into 2 doctors and we spend the season jumping from one to the other???? Aiming towards the end of season finale Not sure how it would work but the writers could put something together.

    John 35

    Comment by John – June 2, 2013 01:00 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Why has nobody mentioned Mark Gattis? Or Reece Shearsmith as he is the only league of gentleman actor not to have appeared? Final suggestion, any one of the horrible histories cast including the (ginger) girls

    Comment by Dan – June 2, 2013 01:22 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again … John Guilor would make a great Doctor Who ! He’s from Yorkshire too, so maybe an “Eeee by gum’ Doctor would make a nice change. It’s time to choose and unknown again as they did many years ago in 1974.

    Comment by Jamie Graham – June 2, 2013 01:40 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Hugh Laurie, Damien Moloney, or Ben Whishaw would all be good

    Comment by Jake – June 2, 2013 04:20 AM PDT  Reply To This Post

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