Jenna-Louise Coleman And Neil Gaiman Weigh In On Matt Smith’s Departure And The Search For A New Doctor
To Doctor Who fans, seeing an actor leave the title role is old hat but it’s always a little sad to see them depart. After a few days of being bummed out and remembering all the great things that particular Doctor‘s era brought along we move on and start speculating on who the new Doctor will be. It’s an accelerated grieving period. Before we get to the announcement on the next person to board the TARDIS, there are still a few people who have to weigh in on Matt Smith‘s departure. Jenna-Louise Coleman and Neil Gaiman gave their take.
Jenna-Louise Coleman will be staying on as the companion after Matt Smith leaves. It will be interesting to see how Clara reacts to the regeneration considering she’s seen every version of The Doctor and even spotted a few of his big secrets. Coleman gave her statement on Smith’s departure:
I could not have imagined coming into the show without Matt as my Doctor, holding my hand, really, quite literally. I totally lucked-out in having a creative, generous, clever, and lovely fella to work alongside day after day.
I feel so privileged to have been part of Matt’s reign, to have to been companion to what is and what I think always will be one of our greatest Doctors.
He is so in love with the show, he works tirelessly hard, surprises me every day, always creating and discovering something new about the Doctor. A true gent, a leading man and a very special friend.
I know it will be a very difficult goodbye for me, but I for one can’t wait to see where his career takes him next. And of course with the same welcome I was brought in with, I look forward to welcoming the next Doctor. BUT it’s not over till it’s over. See ya at the big 5-0!
Neil Gaiman had given his thoughts on Smith leaving over Twitter, but one of his answers to a Tumblr question about the search for the new Doctor nailed everything on the head. He was asked specifically what he thought of Sir Ian McKellen taking over the reigns and who he would pick if that wasn’t a great choice. Gaiman has written two episodes of the show and has been a lifelong fan. Even though he’s just written two episodes in the show’s 50 year history, he’s up there with Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss in terms of high-profile Who movers and shakers to most. He echoed a lot of fans sentiment with his statement. Here it is in its entirety. It’s too good not to include it all:
I think that if you’d asked me who should be the 11th Doctor 5 years ago I wouldn’t have listed Matt Smith, because I didn’t know who he was or what he was capable of, and if you’d asked me who should play Sherlock Holmes in a modern day revival around the same time I wouldn’t have said Benedict Cumberbatch, because I didn’t know who he was either.
I actually like it when The Doctor is a relatively unknown actor, or one without one huge role that made them famous. A star, like Sir Ian, brings all the other roles they’ve ever played to the table when they act. Seeing John Hurt as the (Spoiler) at the end of the Name of the Doctor, meant that this was a certain type of part with a certain amount of gravitas, and you understood that John Hurt was bringing everything with it (including being John Hurt), just as Derek Jacobi did as the Master.
But I like to see The Doctor as The Doctor, and an actor who doesn’t bring baggage is a grand sort of thing. A star waiting to happen. So I don’t want to see Helen Mirren or Sir Ian McKellen or Chiwetel Ejiofor, or any of the famous names people are suggesting.
I want to see The Doctor. I want to be taken by surprise. I want to squint at a photo of the person online and go “but how can that be The Doctor?”. Then I want to be amazingly, delightedly, completely proven wrong, and, six episodes in, I want to wonder how I could have been so blind. Because this is the Doctor. Of course it is.
So there you have it. Gaiman isn’t big on any of the people whose name’s are being thrown out there. I have to agree with him. The Doctor should be a relative unknown. It would be hard not to look at the people he mentioned and think of them in all their other roles. It’s fun to speculate on Ian McKellen, Helen Mirren, Idris Elba, or Jason Statham (yes, his name was brought up when David Tennant departed too) but The Doctor will probably be someone we haven’t heard of before. What do you think about the duo’s statements? Do you agree with Gaiman?