The somewhat anticipated (given the persistent rumors) news that Matt Smith will be moving on begins the delicious anticipation/fear rollercoaster of not knowing what Doctor Who will become. In 2005 the euphoria of the series return was almost immediately undercut by the announcement that Christopher Eccleston would be leaving. Having learned that there would be absolutely no way to keep the news quiet back at the end of 2008, the BBC, RTD, Steven Moffat et.al. organized a brilliant rollout of the changeover announcement from Tennant to Smith. This also provided a somewhat clever way to put in what was in effect a gap year for the series, something we’ve only really just begun again. Tennant got in some ways a fitting send-off and, especially in The End of Time Pt II he literally took a victory lap before going.
Now the churning amongst fans begins in earnest…
- What will the Moff do?
- Will he go back to his shortlist of actors who think would work and begin there?
- What are his instincts given the way Smith played the 11th and how should that impact the choice of the 12th.
- How long should he (the Moff) stay to oversee the transition and set the path for this pivot point in series history, seeing as he has also been speculated to be eyeing an exit of his own?
You would think that if he is picking the 12th Doctor he would be staying on for at least his first run of stories to insure his success, but, and we know that Moffat is in no small way a Doctor Who historian himself, at least two other times, with the selection of Jon Pertwee and Tom Baker, it was the outgoing production team who made the choice before handing off production to the newcomers, and in both cases it turned out very well.
Here at THT Worldwide we have but one thought to impart to the Moff (not that he’s asked) as the search begins a very public phase, assuming it hasn’t already been signed, sealed, and delivered in secret already.
We want someone older. Maybe quite a bit older.
The trend towards youth in the Doctor is not, and cannot indeed be a bad thing, as it opens up the part to so many possibilities the keep the variation that we as fans have all loved, and in fact depend on, in the Doctor. But we also feel the time has come to break this and make him someone who reflects his experience in more than just the intellectual (or being able to rattle off dialog at 300 mph). Jon Pertwee is not our favorite Doctor here at the Tour, but, especially at the beginning of his run, he was able to convey both the experience of someone who’s been around for 900+ years and the impish curiosity that we think serves the character well. We would site Troughton also as an example of this but the comparative lack of extant episodes to work with defaults us to Pertwee in this regard. Doubtless this probably, almost certainly, wouldn’t be the smart choice as the business of TV demands someone perhaps more telegenic than our thoughts above might allow, especially in an era when Doctor Who is more of an action series than it ever has been.
But in the Moff we Trust. Matt Smith was an out-of-the-box choice until he was in the big blue box, and that turned out very well.
This’ll make three Christmases in nine since 2005 that there will be a regeneration in close proximity to the holiday. It should be the most anticipated Christmas gift opened up this year.