Doctor Who–It’s official: Matt Smith to leave in 2013, hunt for new Doctor underway

Matt Smith as 11th Doctor

BBC announced yesterday that Matt Smith’s last episode as the 11th Doctor on Doctor Who, the oldest series on television, will be this year’s Christmas episode to air on Christmas Eve.  He’ll also appear in the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who episode this fall.  For those of us who never would have given Doctor Who a try but for Matt Smith, he will be sorely missed.  Without Matt Smith’s energetic and brilliant performances, we wouldn’t have seen how awesome David Tennant was as the 10th Doctor, met Christopher Eccleston’s 9th Doctor and his long-running companion Rose, or checked out the numerous audio books, or even peeked at those earlier “other” Doctors.

But just as we quickly have embraced his new companion with Jenna-Louise Coleman’s Clara (Amy Pond who?) after we thought we’d met the best companion ever, life goes on and so will the Doctor’s next incarnation as he takes the form of another actor… or actress?

So who should be the next Doctor?  Matt Smith has given us some brilliant performances.  If you aren’t a Doctor Who fan and wanted to sample some of the best of Matt Smith’s Doctor, try these:

The Eleventh Hour

The Eleventh Hour.  We meet Matt Smith’s Doctor for the first time as he must save the world in 20 minutes with a wrecked TARDIS and broken sonic screwdriver and with the help of Amy Pond–the girl who waited.

The Beast Below

The Beast Below.  The Doctor and Amy travel to a future where residents live on a spaceship called Starship UK.  We meet a future Queen and learn the terrible truth about what keeps the ship–and all its inhabitants–alive.

Vincent and the Doctor

Vincent and the Doctor.  The Doctor and Amy meet up with Vincent van Gogh after they notice one of his paintings includes something it shouldn’t.

The Lodger

The Lodger.  The Doctor takes a crack at being a normal Brit, needing to rent a place since his TARDIS took off without him.  His roomie and his girlfriend are friendly enough but he’s not so sure about the neighbor upstairs.

The Big Bang

The Big Bang.  Traveling back and forth in time, the Doctor tries to make sense of the Pandorica, a young and old Amy Pond visiting a museum, and locate the missing River Song.  And there are no stars in the universe.  Will his Fez hat help?  Fez hats are cool.

Impossible Astronaut

The Impossible Astronaut.  Four envelopes from an unknown sender.  President Nixon, Mark Sheppard’s Canton Everett Delaware III, and a summoning to the Utah desert, the Doctor, River, Rory, and Amy are in the middle of something, but what?  Wasn’t there some strange alien species?  Something about the moon landing?  We can’t remember, but it’s all good.

The Doctor's Wife

The Doctor’s Wife.  The TARDIS is not just a spaceship but a feeling spirit that embodies a woman in this episode scripted by Neil Gaiman.

The Snowmen

The Snowmen.  With Amy and Rory out of his life for good, the Doctor ends up in the 19th century where he finds a feisty local barmaid named Clara.  Accompanied by the best alien trio ever to appear on TV, he must battle a force of evil who inhabits a giant snow globe.

So what actor should play the next Doctor?  Will the next Doctor be like the recent Doctors, young and full of energy or like classic Doctor Who with an older actor in the title role?  Or, like we surmised last year, switch gears and give us a female Doctor?  If that were the case, back in May here at we nominated Sherlock’s Irene Adler: Lara Pulver, as someone who would make a great new Doctor.  Hey, if Khan can be played by Benedict Cumberbatch…  How about Attack the Block and Marchlands’ Jodie Whittaker?  Jaime Murray (Defiance, Warehouse 13)?  Jessica Hynes (Spaced)?  Aisling Loftus (Mr. Selfridge)?  Kelly McDonald (Brave, Gosford Park)?  Katherine Kelly (Mr. Selfridge)?  Helen McCrory (Life)?  Eva Green (Casino Royale)?

Speaking of Cumberbatch, can he serve double duty as Sherlock Holmes and the Doctor?  How about Martin Freeman, also on Sherlock but done filming The Hobbit trilogy?  Or David Morrissey, who is currently on The Walking Dead, but made a great “Next Doctor” in a guest role a few years ago.

David Morrisey as Next Doctor

And who wouldn’t work?  Simon Pegg, Mark Sheppard, Richard E. Grant, and John Simm have all played key characters on Doctor Who before, so they probably won’t make the cut.  And we hope they avoid recent notable players like Andrew Scott, Daniel Mays, Jared Harris, James McAvoy, James Callis, or anyone from the Harry Potter series, except David Thewlis (Professor Lupin) or Matthew Lewis (Neville Longbottom) if you want an even younger Doctor.  And no Brit who has also been Bond would work, although Timothy Dalton has been a Timelord before and who knows?

What if Stephen Moffat opts for a more classic Doctor type?  How about David Warner or Paul McGann–both have voiced Doctor Who in several audio books, or Denis Lawson?  (OK, McGann was briefly the 8th Doctor so he’s not a likely contender).


And what’s this past episode referring to John Hurt as the next Doctor?

How about someone completely different, like Stephen Fry, Liam Neeson, Damian Lewis, Cary Elwes, Anthony Stewart Head, Eddie Izzard, Paul Bettany, James Purefoy, or Philip Glenister?

Casting agents, take note!

C.J. Bunce

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