We all have one, all of us ‘Whovians’. Maybe you began with William Hartnell or started watching Tom Baker fight the Daleks. Maybe you saw Peter Davison’s anguish at Adric’s demise, or Paul McGann’s sole fight against the Master. Whichever era you prefer, it is undeniable that we all have that one Doctor whom we love above all the rest. Upon the revealing of Peter Capaldi as the Twelfth Doctor (who personally I think is going to be amazing, although no Moira Stuart) I thought it would be a good time to review the Eleventh Doctor’s era and showcase exactly why he is my Doctor of choice. Contains spoilers.
While there may be sections which disagree, I personally have always had faith that Steven Moffat knows what he is doing, so whilst the rest of the fanbase revolted at Matt Smith’s casting, I didn’t. The show was in safe hands with ‘The Moff’ and I knew that he had picked Matt Smith for a reason. This became clear upon the airing of ‘The Eleventh Hour,’ Smith’s full-length debut. He was instantly compelling, marrying a mixture of adorable dorky child and a terrifying darkness. He was the perfect choice of actor to portray the thousand-year-old Time Lord; he was simultaneously young and old. He could appear a mere child, but speak words of wisdom far beyond his physical age, or he could seem an ancient wanderer whilst speaking words of utter garbage. But whatever material Smith was dealt he took it and absolutely nailed it.
Series 5 was nearly flawless. I say nearly because each series has episodes that people prefer over others. With the exception of ‘Amy’s Choice,’ Series 5 was a masterpiece for me. Smith quickly made the role his own whilst also showing that fundamentally the Eleventh Doctor was the same character. He had some big boots to fill following David Tennant’s much loved Tenth Doctor but he easily rose to the challenge. Who can forget his spine-tingling speech to the conglomeration of aliens gathered at Stonehenge? Or his heartfelt plea to Amy not to give up her fight against the Weeping Aliens? Or his social awkwardness at Craig and Sophie’s obvious sexual tension? Smith managed to pull off all of them with great gusto.
In the Sixth Series Smith was also given captivating material to play with. His heartfelt anguish at losing the Time Lords all over again after a glimmer of hope was heart-breaking to behold. He also portrayed infectious mischievousness as he thwarted The Silence and Madame Kovarian only for that mischievousness to mar into anger as he was double-crossed. Each and every scenario that Smith was given he made personal and resonant, and there was no denying that any qualms fans had before his debut were completely unjustified.
Three years on and Smith was still relishing the part he played. He made every fan feel his pain (both his portrayal of the Doctor’s pain and his obvious real pain) at losing Amy and Rory and he also broke every fan’s heart as he bade (a hopefully not) farewell to River before entering his own timestream. He deserves to be lauded with awards for his angry rant at the sentient god Akhaten and his sorrow of discovering that Clara was in fact a converted Dalek.
Through three successful series’ Smith has shown that he can work with pretty much anything. He had created multiple facades to the same character and there is no doubt that after the ‘fangasm’ that is going to be the 50th anniversary, Smith will once again break every fan’s heart as he regenerates into Peter Capaldi. Smith may have had big boots to follow when he took over from Tennant but in my opinion he has stretched those boots and left even bigger ones for Capaldi to fill.