Sunday, June 02, 2013

Is There A Doctor In The House?

In what, by the last few hours before it was finally announced, became the worst kept secret in showbusiness, on the stroke of midnight its very self the Beeb announced that yer actual Matt Smith was to leave his role as The Doctor at the end of this year. After three and a half years as the Time Lord in BBC1's popular long-running family SF drama Doctor Who, viewers will see Smudger's Doctor regenerate in the 2013 Christmas special (which is also, co-incidentally, the show's eight hundredth episode). By the time he leaves, Matt will have appeared in thirty eight episodes, two less than his predecessor, David Tennant. The thirty-year-old actor said that working on the show had been 'the most brilliant experience.' Doctor Who marks its fiftieth anniversary in November with a special episode, which Matt has already filmed. The BBC said that Smudger's 'spectacular exit' was yet to be revealed and would be 'kept tightly under wraps.' It is expected to be filmed later in the summer after the actor returns to the UK from American where he is currently filming his part in Ryan Gosling's How to Catch a Monster. Matt first stepped into the TARDIS as the eleventh Doctor in 2010. Taking over from former national heartthrob David Tennant, he was the youngest actor to play the role (beating a record set by Peter Davison thirty years earlier). '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,' noted Smudger in his official statement. '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. The fans of Doctor Who around the world are unlike any other; they dress up, shout louder, know more about the history of the show (and speculate more about the future of the show) in a way that I've never seen before. Your dedication is truly remarkable. Thank you so very much for supporting my incarnation of the Time Lord, who I might add, is not done yet - I'm back for the fiftieth anniversary and the Christmas special. It's been an honour to play this part, to follow the legacy of brilliant actors, and helm the TARDIS for a spell with "the ginger, the nose and the impossible one." But when ya gotta go, ya gotta go and Trenzalore calls.' Speaking after the announcement, he added THAT he was 'incredibly proud' of what the show had achieved over the last four years under The Lord Thy God Moffat (Thou Shalt Worship No Other Gods Before He). During his tenure, Smith's floppy-haired, bow tie (and, occasionally, fez)-wearing Time Lord has fought enemies such as The Daleks, The Cybermen, The Weeping Angels and The Silence. His Doctor has shared his adventures with Amy Pond (Karen Gillan), Rory Williams (Arthur Darvill) and most recently, Clara Oswald (Jenna-Louise Coleman). Moffat said: '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. The Doctor can be clown and hero - often at the same time - and Matt rose to both challenges magnificently. And even better than that, given the pressures of this extraordinary show, he is one of the nicest and hardest-working people I have ever had the privilege of knowing. Whatever we threw at him - sometimes literally - his behaviour was always worthy of The Doctor.' He added: '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.' The announcement of Smudger's exit is likely to spark months of fevered speculation about his replacement. Something this blogger will only indulge in at his extreme reluctance. Frankly, I'm happy with anyone they chose. So long as it's not Barry Chuckle. 'Somewhere out there right now - all unknowing, just going about their business - is someone who's about to become The Doctor,' Moffat said, although given that the Christmas special which will, presumably, include the regeneration scene, is due to be filmed shortly, it is considered more than likely that the process of casting of the twelfth Doctor has already started. Smudger followed in a line which should, frankly, be taught as a litany in school history lessons because it's far more important than, you know, British prime ministers of the twentieth Century: William Hartnell, Patrick Troughton, Jon Pertwee, Tom Baker, Peter Davison, The Crap One, Sylvester McCoy, Paul McGann, Christopher Eccleston and David Tennant. 'A life is going to change, and Doctor Who will be born all over again. After fifty years, that's still so exciting,' Moffat concluded. Smudger's first adventure in April 2010, The Eleventh Hour, saw his newly-regenerated Doctor crash his damaged TARDIS into the garden of a young Scottish girl who was later to become his new companion. In his most recent adventure, The Name Of The Doctor - which was broadcast two weeks ago - Smith's Time Lord visited his own grave on the planet Trenzalore. In 2011, Matt became the first actor from the drama to be nominated for a BAFTA. He won the most popular male drama performance award at the National Television Awards in 2012. Born in Northampton in 1982, Matt studied drama and creative writing at the University of East Anglia after having to give up a promising teenage football career due to injury. He made his TV debut in the 2006 adaptation of Philip Pullman's The Ruby In The Smoke, which starred former Doctor Who actress Billie Piper. Smith's stage work has included stints with theatre companies such as the Royal Court and National Theatre. His West End debut was in Swimming With Sharks opposite Christian Slater. During his time in Doctor Who, Matt also appeared in BBC films Christopher and His Kind, in which he played novelist Christopher Isherwood, and in Olympic rowing drama Bert and Dickie. And was very good in both. Shortly before his audition for The Doctor, Matt also auditioned for the role of John Watson in the Moffat-created Sherlock. Matt appeared in a deleted scene of the 2007 film In Bruges, playing a younger version of Ralph Fiennes' character. He starred in the 2009 short film Together and the low-budget 2010 film Womb.

So, whilst we all ponder on the significance of this discombobulation and malarkey, here's yer actual Bongo Les's thoughts upon the matter. We're with ya all the way, Les, baby.

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