Departing Doctor Who Matt Smith on His 'Hard Choice' to Leave and 'Emotional' Goodbye

Doctor Who Matt SmithThe Doctor will soon be out, and he’s getting a little verklempt.

“It is going to be emotional,” Doctor Who‘s outgoing leading man Matt Smith acknowledged to reporters at the Television Critics Assoc. summer press tour on Thursday. “For me its been four years. It’s quite a transformative experience and dominates your life. You become very attached to people.”

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Smith, who is getting ready to start shooting his farewell (the show’s Christmas special), called the decision to depart “a hard choice,” but noted, “The show has come to sort of a natural tipping point. It’s at the top of a cycle and it’s a good time for me and the show.

“The thing about Doctor Who is he always looks forward,” the actor continued. “The show will get bigger and better and will carry on without me.”

On that note, Doctor Who producer Marcus Wilson said the search for Smith’s successor is “ongoing… You want the best actor for the role. You just cast the net wide and hope you find somebody brilliant.”

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34 Comments
  1. courts says:

    Even though Moffatt’s writing has been a total mess these past few years, I’ve become very, very attached to Matt as the Doctor. I’m going to be so sad to see him go.

  2. Midori says:

    Mofatt’s writing has been better than what’s his name. The current season has been off, bu the first two have been better than most of the new series’ seasons.

    • Kevin H. says:

      RTD may have had his faults but he doesn’t need to be bashed. RTD never wrote a bad exit storyline for the companions. Moffat, on the other hand, wrote a HORRIBLE goodbye for Amy and Rory. Moffat also allowed Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS to be made, even though it had a pretty big plot-hole in it, with The Doctor crossing his own timeline.

      • JC says:

        Really? I thought how he wrote Donna out was terrible. Donna got the worst ending of any companion so far in the new series, in my opinion. And the “Tinkerbell Jesus” Season 3 finale is still my least favorite of all the season finales. Personally I would say that RTD may have had his strengths but I still prefer Moffat’s run overall (although I won’t deny there’s been some major stumbles).

        • dee123 says:

          Donna’s ending was depressing and sad especially for Doctor Who. It wasn’t bad. Completely agree with the whole Tinkerbell/Jesus thing, it was horrible.

        • Temperenace says:

          Just because it was unbelievably moving and unhappy doesn’t make Donna’s ending terrible in any sense. Since I actually believe it actually scarred me in some way, I have to call it brilliant.

          • JC says:

            Each to their own, but emotionally scarring doesn’t equal brilliance in my opinion. It may have been all emotionally wrenching for the Doctor, but I couldn’t care less about him in this case. That Donna got everything that she was and had become erased and was essentially put back to the person she was before meeting the Doctor (and all against her will)…..I still believe that was the worst ending for any new companion so far. None of the other companions have had their agency so completely stripped from them in the end, not even the much-maligned River.

      • Temperenace says:

        Nah, RTD saved his world ending horrible endings for the Torchwood team. Every single one was awful (in the bad way).

      • Chris says:

        That’s your opinion. I’d disagree.

        Rose: The episode was pretty good but I didn’t like the goodbye scene. I know I’m in the minority here, but I never bought the doctor being in love with rose. There was a few moments added through the season but overall, I think they made it clear the doctor was still lonely while with rose, and when a more interesting woman came along the doctor would pretend rose didn’t exist (e.g. Madame de Pompadour)

        Martha: I loved her goodbye scene, but the episode itself? The Master was great, but the story with terrible with so many plot holes. Even if we forget about the Tinkerbell Jesus, The heart of the story was The doctor told Martha to use the countdown – despite any of the plans or the countdown itself not having been revealed at that point.

        Donna: Again, a great goodbye scene, I loved how tragic it was, but the episode? Too many characters, not enough time for them, and Davros’ victory being showing the doctor who the doctor really was was just stupid.

        Amy and Rory: I loved this episode, The angels were back, and back to their best, River was back, and the story was smart. Yes, it wasn’t perfect (The statue of liberty should not have been in it). And the goodbye scenes? I loved that the speed of Rory’s departure, that the doctor didn’t get to say goodbye, and Amy both tragic and so hopeful in that she was going to be with Rory (“I’ll be with him, like I should be. Me and Rory together”). I also loved the selfishness of the doctor, how he made it about him, “I will never be able to see you again” not “You will never be able to see me again” and knowing she was better off with Rory.

        • Alan says:

          thank you. russel davies couldnt write an ending for a companion that made any sense. i totally agree about rose, there were times when ten almost seemed a little bored with her and he only really started to show some emotion when he couldnt have her anymore. martha’s decision to leave while being incredibly cool because she is the only one in the revived series to choose when her time is up came out of nowhere. donna had her entire character arc just erased, the best character development in the russel davies era and it just gets overwritten so she could go back to the annoying character she was before the character development turned her into a fan favourite; that is just absolute crap and does a complete disservice to all the writers who worked really hard that season to get her out of the hole davies wrote her into in the first place.
          meanwhile amy and rory got the perfect ending, rory just disappeared which reflected on how he perceived himself in their group throughout his entire time perfectly and then amy was finally forced to choose between the men in her life, something which had been building with the character from her very first appearance.

  3. Alan says:

    ill take moffat over russel “just throw daleks at the problem” davies anyday so to lose one of the things that makes his run so awesome sucks but as always i do look forward to new doctors just because i love the variations on the same character that we see.

  4. RyanC says:

    Agree with courts. Matt Smith has been great, but the writing has been just shocking. The absolute low-point in any of the new seasons (9th Doc onwards) was the Christmas episode two years ago, and the rest of Moffat’s seasons have mostly relied too much on River Song and the really obvious plot twists that came with her.

    • liz says:

      You can never overuse River Song.

      • scooby says:

        Oh I beg to differ, liz. If anything the less River Song, the better. The idea of her in the beginning was interesting, and then it got to the point where if I saw she was in an episode, I cringed. A little goes a long way. I’d say why, but as you know, “spoilers!” ;)

        • Sheila says:

          Agreed!

        • Tess says:

          I think the problem with River was that in bringing her back so many times the intrigue about her wore off. The first time we met her we didn’t know who she was just that she knew the Doctor in some way in his future and throughout her life she was meeting him in reverse, though they seemed to forget that at times the more she was used. Technically, we should not have seen her again after A Good Man Goes To War because she was a baby then and that would’ve been her first time meeting him so it should’ve been his last.

          What really gets me though is that they indicated that this season’s finale was possibly the last time we will see her because she was not really alive at that point just saved to CAL, which means we will never get to see the moment where the Doctor realized he was going to see River for the last time before she goes off to The Library and thus gives her the sonic screwdriver… that was about the only moment I was really ever looking forward to with them since her only encounter with #10.

      • Temperenace says:

        Exactly.

  5. Badpenny says:

    The writing has been strange this Series, but that’s because the entire cast was being replaced. When Karen and Arthur decided they wanted out at the end of Series 6 they just should have been replaced then rather then giving us half a season going 1 way and another half going in a different direction. It made for a very uneven feeling Series. Rather then a whole season of build-up it was 5 wasted episodes with Amy and Rory and then 8 episodes trying to build in a new Companion and steer toward the 50th. It would have been better to have lost Amy and Rory in Asylum and have Clara take over then. Then we could have had a dozen episodes feeling-out Clara and building to the anniversary. I’m guessing contracts got in the way of that.
    .
    Plus it probably would have been better to have killed of 11 in the anniversary episode. It would have been more dramatic. Matt really should have made his decision before then.

    • scooby says:

      I dunno if I like killing off the Doctor then when that would pull focus, and the process of casting another would’ve added to everyone’s stress in getting something like that pulled off, but if you think about it, it would’ve been interesting because then 12 would’ve gotten to be in the anniversary episode too.

  6. ChellemaBelle says:

    Going to miss hearing what “is cool” from Doctor Matt.

  7. Brooke says:

    Is there some law of the universe that says one can’t like both RTD and Moffat at the same time? No matter what website I’m on, there’s always a steady stream of, “I love RTD, Moffat sucks!” and vice versa.

    • Badpenny says:

      This is the internet! You must either be “for” or “against” something. No middle ground. :)

    • GeekGirl13 says:

      I’ll claim the middle ground, Brooke. I loved RTD’s runs and I’m loving Moffat’s run. Of course, I also love how Amy and Rory departed, the heartbreak that is Donna’s reset, and each and every appearance of River Song. I guess I’m just too easy to please, or maybe just too adaptable.

  8. Alicia says:

    *cries* I will miss him! Can’t wait to find out who his replacement is!

  9. Marie says:

    Really sad to see Matt go–he got down the quirkiness of the Doctor, as well as the seriousness, and pulled off some brilliant scenes, not to mention his dynamic chemistry with Karen, Arthur, Alex, and Jenna (and James Corden, too!). Don’t trust Moffat to cast a woman as the Doctor, though, what with his steady stream of underhanded sexist comments and general misuse of Amy, River, and Clara as plot devices rather than actual characters. (See: Amy as an incubator in season 6, River being born ONLY to kill the Doctor, Clara being ‘born to save the doctor’ when in reality she CHOSE to save him; not to mention Amy and Clara being ‘The *Girl* who waited’ and ‘the Impossible *Girl*’ rather than the women they are).

    TL;DR — sad to see Matt go, don’t want a woman doctor under Moffat’s showrunning until we can get at least a few women writers on staff.

    • Temperenace says:

      I’ll point out that Amy literally was a (very young) girl that waited, which wasn’t sexism, but literally accurate description. Plus, she story was launched in the ‘fables’ year, where all of the stories were told and constructed like fairy tales. I’ll also point out that Clara, introduced in the Victorian Age was an unmarried very young lady (a nanny who occasionally disguised herself as a barmaid) – likely also a virgin in that iteration. I think there is a good case for the use of ‘girl’ here as well.

      • Marie says:

        While Amy *was* introduced as young Amelia, she grew out of being that ‘girl who waited’–and yet the title stuck with her throughout her entire time as a companion, when in all reality she became a wonderful woman with poorly executed storylines. Even in The Girl Who Waited–arguably my favorite episode out of the second half of series 6–she was a woman in her 50s for most of the episode, yet she was still The Girl Who Waited. A 50-year-old woman–albeit in an aborted timeline–is not a girl anymore.

        As for the issue of Clara in the Victorian age–being a virgin does NOT mean you’re not a woman vs a girl, and if you’re holding by the mythical story of becoming a woman by having sex, then there are bigger problems there.

        • Chris says:

          I don’t think the word “girl” was ever used in a condescending way. For starters Rory was described as “The boy who waited waited” – after waiting 2000 years”

          Waiting as a girl, was one of the big events that shaped who she became.

          I think it’ a bit more valid about Clara, again I don’t think it came off as condescending, and you also have to remember The Doctor is a thousand years old, we’re all children to him.

  10. Tim says:

    Really liked him, I started the show backwards (watched his two seasons before watching the previous ones – Ecclestone was amazing too). Hoping they get a similar actor to one of them who can pull off the whole goofy act since the first one wasn’t nearly as good. Some people say that they want a Woman doctor and I wouldn’t be against it at all, they’d just have to be able to show the same traits.

    Looking forward to see what they do regardless. I really like Clara personally though.

  11. Becka says:

    I like Moffatt much better as purely a writer of the show…and not the runner of it. I miss RTD…I miss damning him for the endings…but I think he was more true than Moffatt has been.. Moffatt has written some of the all time best Who episodes…like Blink. that’s what he is better at.

  12. Narwhal dude says:

    Matt Smith has always made me smile. He’s charming, witty and is a great actor. Russell T Davies was brilliant too. So many people complain about him but if it wasnt for him there would be no doctor who today. Steven Moffat was good too…. Until he became head writer. He has ruined the show. When he did the gas mask zombies i thought he was great. Now all of his episodes are rubbish cheesey and make me want to turn off the tv. River song was great in her first story. It was there that she died and thats the way it should have stayed…. Again, Moffat making it cheesey. Karen Gillian was a superb actress and so was Arthur darvill but Moffat wasted them. All that ‘oh doctor! You’re my raggedy man!’ Nonsense is a prime example of how terrible Moffat was with them.

    In conclusion, Steven Moffat has ruined Doctor Who.

    P.S. if the next Doctor is a woman, I will no longer be a fan of the show. The Doctor has always been a man with a lady companion, and if it was a lady Doctor with a man companion, it would be…….. Terrible.

    Narwhal dude.

  13. Kristin King says:

    I’m gonna miss Matt Smith. A lot. Funny, versatile, heartfelt, goofy, sexy. I did have a love/hate relationship with the fez, though. Three favorite moments: (1) Suranne Jones (as Idris) biting Matt Smith; (2) Alex Kingston (as River Song) crash-landing on him; and (3) Matt Smith (as Cyber Controller) battling it out for control of his mind.

  14. Geronimo says:

    Really enjoy reading Who-fan comments. You all make valid points, counter-points. Which is the essence of Dr Who, isn’t it? Especially as it relates to him. He does muck about in other species’ affairs and run off, leaving the mess for others to clean-up. Yet somehow, they’re better off for his having mucked about in the first place. Having said that I guess I better also say that the Tardis is equally guilty/responsible as it’s she who takes him where ‘he needs to go.” Grew to love all the companions, esp the ones we didn’t get nearly enough of, Wilf (shaking his old, defiant fist at the ship gonna crush Buckingham Palace brought tears to my eyes- and I’m an American) and Rory’s dad (watching that cube for a year!)–ya, could’ve had some fun with those two. Not sure about Donna’s bitter, nasty mum. But RTD might’ve tried. My fave was Jackie. She was so over-the-top and perfect as Rose’s mum. I’d have been the very same way if my beautiful daughter came home with a weirdy 40 something. “Where’d ya find ‘er then? The Inte’net?!” On to the drs. Matt Smith is far and away the best. He has it all, and in spades! I am frankly wondering how the relationship between the new Doctor and Clara will be written. Smith’s Doctor is at once wary and protective of her, but also quite tender toward her in what could/might be …love. Or at least, caring. “Just this once, Clara. Just for the hell of it, let me save you!” ( In actuality, he’s been saving her the entire half of season 7.) And seems to be risking himself to save her, although how, I’m not exactly sure. (That episode left me with boatloads of unanswered questions.) Now we know the new Doctor is 30 years older than Smith, so how’s that going to work? Surely not the same. I hope. I’ve become a Matt Smith fan for sure. I may not be Dr Who fan much longer. So sad. PS: Does anyone know who brought Strax back to life?

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