Big news in the Whoniverse! BBC announced on Saturday that Doctor Who star Matt Smith is leaving the show at the end of this year, after four years of playing everyone’s favourite Time Lord.
The news is sure to set off a flurry of speculation about who the next Doctor will be. The BBC has said that Smith will be making quite a “spectacular exit,” the nature of which will no doubt be kept tightly under wraps under it airs. The news comes at an exciting time for the series, which will be marking it’s 50th anniversary in November (the special for which Smith has already filmed).
Smith appeared as the 11th Doctor in the New Year’s Day episode of 2010. Taking over the job from David Tennant, he was the youngest actor to play the role. He must have been doing something right: along with adoration from fans, Smith was the first actor to be nominated for a Bafta in the role of Doctor Who, and he won the National Television Award for “Most Popular Male Drama Performance” in 2012.
So, when will the new Doctor appear? Apparently, viewers will get to see Smith’s Time Lord regenerate on the 2013 Christmas special! Names are already being thrown around as suggestions for who will take over the iconic role, including calls for a black Doctor, a female one, or an older one. Notable names have ranged from Idris Elba, Helen Mirren, Sean Pertwee (son of former Doctor Jon Pertwee), former rapper Ashley Walters, Sherlock star Martin Freeman (and his co-star Benedict Cumberbatch), Thor actor Tom Hiddleston, even Harry Potter star Rupert Grint.
Among the stranger suggestions were Tom Cruise, retired football/soccer star David Beckham and Britain’s Got Talent judge Simon Cowell (their odds are not good, standing currently at 250-1).
My picks? Though I would love to see Martin Freeman OR Benedict Cumberbatch take up the position, I’m betting that they’ll both be especially busy with the filming of both Sherlock and the next installment of The Hobbit. Tom Hiddleston seems a good fit, and Helen Mirren would certainly shake the series up a bit. In any case, big changes are on the horizon for the series, regardless of who gets picked!