Doctor Who: BBC responds to Matt Smith quitting rumours

News Louisa Mellor 22 Mar 2013 - 07:51

Rumours of Matt Smith leaving Doctor Who after the 2013 Christmas Special have been answered by the BBC...

The last time showrunner Steven Moffat was asked how long incumbent Doctor Matt Smith would remain in the role, he snapped back with a cheerily brisk "Forever. For the rest of time". There's the slightest chance you know, that he wasn't telling the truth...

Of course he wasn't. If there's one thing more certain than death, taxes, and repetition of the phrase "Doctor Who?" in the new episodes, it's that Matt Smith won't be the Doctor forever. The Sun, amongst others, is keen for us to think that his departure will come sooner rather than later, namely, after the 2013 Christmas special. The newspaper ran a story suggesting that "Insiders say the festive special will be Matt's last outing as The Doctor", citing Smith's ambition to break into Hollywood as his reason for bowing out after a four year stint.

The BBC was quick to respond to the story, and had this to say:

“Sorry folks but even we don’t know what’s going to happen at Christmas. It’s not been written yet! But Matt loves the show and is to start filming the unmissable 50th anniversary, and the new series starting on Easter Saturday.”

It's not exactly a denial, and neither was Smith's answer to the question posed by Jonathan Ross last week, "I am very happy doing it. I do the anniversary special, then the Christmas special. At the moment it’s 2013 and we will see what 2014 holds.” 

The Sun

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This is more than a little alarming.

Matt Smith makes a wonderful Doctor and he needs a strong series of stories and resolution.

He hasn't gotten the former since Series 5, and the latter is nowhere near.

Every time the show comes into the public eye there are rumours of Matt Smith quitting. I wouldn't believe it until he himself said the actual words. His vagueness doesn't mean anything - he's been saying he's "taking it by the year" pretty much the whole time and he hasn't quit yet.

Personally, I'd love Matt Smith's tenure to rival (or surpass) Tom Baker's. I really do love Smith's portrayal of the Doctor. However, I realise he won't stay that long. Doctor Who will continue without him when he leaves and he has already passed Patrick Troughton's ideal length of tenure (he always said 3 years was a good amount of time. I hope he stays for, at least, one more series.

The media and the fans seem always to be obsessed with how long actors will play the Doctor. Tennant was being asked virtually from day one. I blame the Eccleston bombshell.

For Bod's sake just ignore the Scum, try to relax and enjoy him while we still have him.

Matt Smith isn't showing any intention of leaving therefore I don't see why this is newsworthy

I feel more and more like Clara will end up being the Doctor.

Sigh.Another demonstration that anybody involved with Doctor Who can make a statement and almost immediately there'll be something printed without any credible foundation to contradict it anyway.More than slightly annoying as i don't think that Matt or Mr Moffat think this speculation on themselves personally is especially appropriate when they want to celebrate and focus on Doctor Who's history this year.Good to see the BBC disputing it's accuracy immediately though.

Playing the Doctor isn't the same as it was when Tom Baker was doing it. Heck it's not even the same as when David Tennant was doing it. Doctor Who is currently massively popular all over the world and it's become very cool and Matt Smith is a good actor who's attracting attention from all over. He's bound to move on to other things soon and he'll probably have a very successful and varied career. I can imagine Doctor Who is a thing that can really take over your life and define who you are for a very long time. When he goes I wish him well and I won't be surprised if he does leave soon but I sure as hell won't believe it's happening when The Sun is the source.

Love how this comes mere days after the DOG artical that said 'if Matt Smith quite this afternoon we wouldn't be able to anounce it'. A few days late, but Sods Law non the less.

He hasn't passed Troughton yet. We're in the middle of his 3rd Season. The fact that Smith's Seasons were split is somewhat irrelevant. Troughton pretty much did 3 full Seasons. Also, the seasons were much much longer back then, which is why Troughton made that comment in the first place. They didn't get 3 or 4 months off between series; they got a few weeks.
I agree with you though. I'd love to see Smith carry on. Why can't the BBC sign these these actors to a 5 years contract before they become somebodies and the fame goes to their head?

since I find it unlikely that the Christmas special would include "the Fall of te Eleventh", I suspect that we will see Matt continue in the role at least partially into series 8 & hopefully much longer. as others have said--I LOVE him as the Docotr & hope he give Baker's tenure a run for the money

Yes Matt Smith is a good actor, but expect his portrayal of the Doctor will be the zenith of his character -- its just that massive throughout the world. U.K. actors have a mysteriously ungrateful attitude to successful TV series. Matt Smith is "my" Doctor, but if he is daft enough to quit--then just go.

The Sun is full of it.

Again, I thought he was saying earlier this year/late last year that he was in til 2015?

Unfortunately, the BBC didn't actually dispute anything. They said they don't know.

>“Sorry folks but even we don’t know what’s going to happen at Christmas. It’s not been written yet! But Matt loves the show and is to start filming the unmissable 50th anniversary, and the new series starting on Easter Saturday.”

Am I the only one ready for a new doctor? I feel like Matt's had a good run, but I'm ready for Twelve.

How can it not be written yet? Honestly. They should be filming series 8. We should have watched series 7 several months ago.

Who on Earth believes what The Sun has to say? Tosh!

Quoated for truth but they wouldn't have bothered releasing a statement except for the purpose of disputing it,I suspect that the negotiations are ongoing.If Matt does go,i think it's much less likely Peter Jackson will direct a story since he's said he wants to work with him .As long as Moffat and Smith get to tell the whole story they want to tell,i'm good .I think an immediate resolution of Moffat's Trenzalore plot can't be covered in two specials though.

Again, words have actual meaning. The BBC hasn't denied anything.

... At this point, I'm forgetting what the Trenzalore plot is. I'd still like to know what caused the crack in the Universe and who/what was controlling the Tardis at the end of Series 5.

Actually, I've given up on Moff's plotting and resolved to enjoy his shows just as I enjoyed RTD's -- with no expectations for a brilliantly unveiled grand plan.

Well ,perhaps you'll be surprised ,if they're allowed to finish what they've started.I want a confrontation with whoever stole Melody from River and tried to murder the Doctor using her too.

The statement did'nt confirm it either.

Yes, yes, by all means, yes, a confrontation with the evil, er, whomevers that stole Melody from River -- wait, isn't she River? -- and raised her in an evil orphanage indoctrinating her to kill the Doctor before releasing her on the streets of New York from which she made her way to a little town in England where she became her parents' best friend all the while secretly being their daughter and then escaped after working for Hitler, or ... Okay, I'm just hopelessly lost at this point.

Which is why I wrote this:

> Unfortunately, the BBC didn't actually dispute anything. They said they don't know.

Sorry,stole Melody from Amy and Rory is what i meant.

Sorry again,i suppose.

So, thinking about it a bit more, if I had to guess what the BBC's problem with Matt Smith is -- and there is one, otherwise they would deny the story, which they did not -- my guess would be that the problem is this.

I think the BBC has a deal with Matt Smith for a set number of years, not a set number of series/seasons or episodes.

Whatever hangups there are that have caused Doctor Who series/seasons to be cut in terms of episodes per year are not relevant to his tenure.

Because, since he is not actually the Doctor, time passes for Matt Smith in the real world in a strictly linear fashion. He's 30 now, not quite the "kid" he was when he was named the new Doctor in January 2009.

Actually, I suspect it will all work out.

All the new Doctors have been different, and good.

If we get a new Doctor sooner rather than later, that will have an excitement all its own.

And if Matt Smith stays, and I hope he does, that will be great.

Que?

Frankly I think we need to grow up and stop imagining the BBC still has an anti-Who agenda. Those days are gone.

Hmm, a passive-aggressive non sequitur.

I'm from California. I have no agenda with the BBC one way or another.

Matt smith has a funny face... definetly abnormal.

What a load of tosh. Hopefully they will give Matt a Tennantesque farewell run of episodes with the culmination being the fields of Trenzalore.

We know full and well that Matt's contract is based on years, we've known this since he landed the role. I'm fairly sure it was two years, with another three years on the table, which obviously was taken. Those years are up within the first few months of 2014, to my knowledge.
I think it's quite safe to say Matt is leaving. His contract is ending, he's expressed a desire to delve deeper into Hollywood, not to mention the fact that he's already begun doing just that with How to Catch a Monster. His face and name are out in Hollywood, now - where he wants them to be. He'll leave, go on to do what he wants to do, and I think people should support him in it really.
Let's face it, Doctor Who was beginning to drag towards the end of Tennant's days. Oh, we all loved it. I certainly did, but it was chaos at the BBC. Scripts were slipping, the show had become very up and down, especially with it's darker themes. It wasn't slick any more. Moffat and Smith take the reigns, and the show is bigger than it's ever been before. Personally, I think rather than take the "Doctor Who created you, you should be more grateful." path, I think taking the "You saved this damn show, good luck, Matt." is much more sensible. Let the show change, like it always does!
I don't know about 7b, but I've certainly felt like things have begun to drag again through some of 6 and all of 7a. Time for a change that benefits everyone? Except, maybe, the die hard Smith fans.

Odd how what you say "we know full and well" is not actually reported here or anywhere else I've seen in any of this latest speculation.

Your lengthy bit about the show dragging has nothing to do with either Tennant's performance in your first example nor Smith's performance in this example.

It has to do with scripts, which neither of the actors wrote or write.

Yes it is reported - not as you suggest, recently - but there were a myriad of news stories in 2009 and early 2010 about the five year contract. I found several sites (listed below) in two or three minutes on Google - some sources are more dubious than others, and the number of years vary from story to story (some say five, some say two and three):

Bleeding Cool
TV Tonight
Daily Mail
The Telegraph
Wired
Major Spoilers
Kasterborous
The Sun
Slice of Sci-Fi
Digital Spy
And bizarrely, The Coventry Telegraph

There were probably more too but I couldn't be bothered looking through more than a couple of pages of results.

You're not wrong about the scripts - Davis definitely stepped down at the right time. Well, a bit too late actually - series 4 was mostly great but the five specials were a bit hit and miss (mostly miss).

I like Smith and I think, while the quality of the writing has varied over the series, his performance has always been exemplary. He exudes this eerie quality of an otherworldy old man in a young man's body and amongst all the jollity and mucking about there is an underlying sadness and fury which could bubble over at any moment. There are subtle hints of Tom Baker, Peter Davison and Patrick Troughton about his portrayal.

That said, you are right about Doctor Who thriving on change. I hope he does regenerate at Christmas or the 50th Anniversary - and I hope it is kept a well guarded secret. The cliffhanger would be immense - remember the end of The Stolen Earth when Tennant got shot by a Dalek and began to regenerate? My wife and I were sat on the edge of our seats saying "How on earth did they keep this a secret?" to each other. Then of course, in Journey's End, it was resolved in quite a bizarre fashion - the hand idea I had no problem with, but the Meta Crisis Doctor was just plain weird (and clearly written to please fans of a Rose/Doctor partnership).

Wouldn't it be great, just this once, and this goes all the way back to the eighties, if the arrival of a new Doctor was a big surprise to us all? No press coverage, no months of waiting, no knowing the old Doc is going to meet his maker soon. That would be great.

By reported I mean in this or any other contemporary account. And those old reports, without a proper newspaper among them, seem to be all over the lot, if there's no agreement on the length of the deal. (So many "reports" on the Net are just dressed up speculation) ...

OK, if it's a five-year contract, it may be up in January 2014, as I believe he was named in January 2009. Though he didn't actually appear on screen for another year, after Ten regenerated.

If it's a four-year contract, then it's up next January.

In any event, it seems it's up after the Christmas Special, since he's giving interviews, including in the new Entertainment Weekly cover story, being coy about how long he's going to be the Doctor.

I agree about RTD. I liked the first four series, mostly, and liked all the companions, for that matter.

But the Tennant specials were somewhat disappointing, with only Waters of Mars really shining before the grand finale.

Well said.

Return of the Time Lords was horribly wasted.

I didn't care much about that. They returned. They went back.

For me, all that mattered was how the Doctor and the Master resolved things, though it was fun to see Tim Dalton in the role.

He would have made great bad guy for an entire series though - Matt's first year would have been very different living in the shadow of the threat of Rassilon.

Moff clearly had something else in mind. And, unfortunately, we're still not sure what that is.

You argue a lot, don't you? I see your comments all the time, you seem incapable of having a simple discussion.

If you cared to open a search engine, the information isn't hard to come by.

Scripts? What I said about the actors bringing life to Doctor who doesn't have anything to do with the script. Scripts are the jobs of script writers. If you can't understand how having a good actor play the Doctor is an important thing then what's the point?

One more thing, why are you always so aggressive? Why, every time I see one of your comments, are you being so very obnoxious? We're here to discuss, not be backed into a corner by William_Bradley.

Considering that you replied in a negative way to begin with, your complaint is very ironic.

You're clearly not interested in a discussion, so this dialogue is ended.

I love Matt as the Doctor, I think the writing has been a bit dodgy at times during his tenure though. I think the perfect time for him to bow out would be right at the end of the 50th anniversary episode. What better way to end the episode than by getting a glimpse of the next Doctor?

Perhaps all will come together in November...

I hope so. But even if it doesn't, i like the show. I even enjoy the episodes that many would call rubbish.

just leave after the christmas special or at the end of the 50th special.

I would love to see more of Matt's Doctor, but if he's ready to go, then he's ready to go. Simple as that. HOWEVER, I wish they keep Clara for longer than S7b/50's, ESPECIALLY if 11 is going to regenerate. Yes, we've only seen her in the Dalek ep and christmas special, but I loved her there. I think she'll go well with 11, and would love to see her with whoever becomes 12.

Much as I love Matt Smith's portrayal of The Doctor, as he is a young actor, it really is probably time for him to go. If Moffat goes as too, I hope Toby Whithouse takes over- and then are we looking at the possibility of Damien Molony as the New Who? Would be good...

someone with a blank face called 'captainsexy' isn't one to comment on people's looks you are more than likely a sad obsessed Daisy lowe fan.

since when did the sun tell the truth?

LOL it came from the sun :P Totally and frequently wrong, then again you never know :P

Obviously Cork, you are New Doctor Who fan and not one of the old fans. This was something that people wondered ever since the 1dt Doctor regenerated and really got momentum when the 4th Doctor, Tom Baker, who played the Doctor one of the longest. People wondered when he would leave and who would replace him. Sorry but this is nothing new to an old school fan.

People love to rumor-monger. What I think it comes down to is that one contract is expiring and they have yet to negotiate the next. And maybe with all the fame he has garnered there are people out there making him some killer offers that would be hard to turn down that BBC can't likely match. It's going to become a question of timing. He may stay another year if the planned stories are strong enough that he thinks he can increase his value with them. But if he sees himself at a peak and that it might be downhill from here, he'd be stupid to pass on other contracts.

Of course he may be able to negotiate a contract that keeps him as the doctor while still allowing him the time he needs to do other projects. Whatever the case, I'm sure no decisions have been made yet. It's far too early for that.

Doesn't seem like he has been the dr for very long. Maybe its because the bbc cut the season short for his last two seasons. Doesn't feel like hes been the dr as long as tenant was, even though they have about same number of years to the role.

I know it's from the Sun, but just go already, and take Moffat with you...

The cracks were caused by the exploding TARDIS, the exploding TARDIS was the Silence, one of their failed schemes to try and stop the Doctor - they've had several goes now, exploding TARDIS,The Pandorica, River shooting him...
It's all there and straight forwards, but some folks are determined to pretend it isn't...

But we saw that! It was Madam Korvian (sp?) and Amy got her in the alternate timeline. Okay she's a unknown in the reset timeline, but lets not pretend who took Melody is a mystery!

How can the Tardis be the Silence, who are a secret race that hid in plain sight on Earth throughout much of its history?

> the exploding TARDIS was the Silence

Just like to pitch into this with my views. I have said it before, Mat Smith needs to look at David Tennants post Who career carefully before deciding anything. Tennant was going to do big things in America and it did not take off the way he would have liked.
And he was just as big and popular as the Doctor as Mat Smith is. Tennant went too soon.

This stupid season split is not helping things, however it leaves space for him to do other stuff if he wants to so it could work out ok for him as an actor, but not for us fans watching the show.

I believe it when they say no one knows as its not been written yet etc etc.
Lastly however, he started onscreen as the Doctor in 2010. Its now only 2013. So how is that a five year contract? If he has signed for five, or three with the option of two more, that takes him up to 2015. That's five years.

As it stands at the moment, all he will have done by then end of this year is three full seasons and one special, plus the Christmas 2013 special, so call that two specials!! That's still less than David Tennant.

So if they are only going to do six to eight episodes a year, I think he should stay / might stay for the 2014 run and then go...IF HE HAS ANY SENSE. And looks at it logically....however when has that ever come into play in Doctor Who and actors leaving etc.

I myself think its high time this three years and then go nonsense was stopped somehow. They should sign them up for five years at least. And by that I mean five full seasons of thirteen episodes.

Finally, you have to laugh don't you? I mean back in the 70s, Doctor Who was on every Saturday night from September to March almost the following year, with 50 minutes for a two parter, then 100 minutes for a standard four parter story.
And now everyone is moaning that its hard work doing eight episodes at 45 minutes each. Leave aside the fact that special effects are all done on computers. Back then it was running around in a studio or on location the same as now. And Jon Pertwee managed to do five years happily in his 50s and Tom Baker did seven years and he was in his 40s like me.

Tell you what gang...if Mat goes to soon, just get together and help me become the Doctor and I will please the fans, and do seven years plus and turn up for everything in my costume and in character for the fans and the kids, and I would love every minute of it....

Not much of an answer by the BBC...

When Matt leaves, he leaves. He's not chained to the show, we're not married to each other or the show, so it's as simple as that. Doesn't matter how much viewers love his portrayal...

And marketing, this inane form of game playing, is for children.

That was a solid cliffhanger, and Tennant should have departed at that point since it would have been an innovative and better way out that the contrived mawkish drivel that audiences were treated to...

But the resolution of that "regeneration" in the following episode made a total mockery of it all. RTD lost every last shred of respect I still had for him at that moment. His tactics were always the PT Barnum sort, but then again, given this man has - twice - insulted all tv viewers by calling them "brainless sheep" ("The Parting of the Ways", and the allegory is very sharp and had me respecting the man very much so, even if he was attacking his own viewers in the process(!)), and later making a not-so-subtle allegory in "The Idiot's Lantern", the fact people were still awed showed a far bigger irony than they could ever be prepared to accept...

Exactly. I could not have said it better. Smith needs to think long and hard about it. Its not like David Tennant has gone on to do anything better, because he hasn't. And he is now know where near as high profile as when he was in D who.

Its not like they have to do a lot of episodes either like in the classic series. They have only done 6 - 8 over the last two years and a special, that's about 10 minutes longer than a normal episode.

I just feel cheated in a way. This should be Mat Smiths fourth full season. If he was going to go after that it would be fair enough I suppose. But its only his third because of the stupid split.

Its all the BBCs fault...or Moffats or whatever is going on there. Who can tell. But in the 50th year I just feel very annoyed we are not getting a normal 13 episode run and no matter what way you slice it, by the end of Smiths run we will have lost a whole season of him being the Doctor and I think that's a damn shame.

Yes it was. And the fact they had been turned into the "badies" was just terrible and a real kick in the teeth.

I really hope this is true!

I agree

pleasepleasepleasepleaseplease get rid of SmiffMoff. They have ruined the show. off

Sooner rather than later.

But didn't you all complain when RTD did that with doctor 10? Surely you don't want Moff, the genius, to do the same all you moff fans moaned about at the end of RTD tenure? Or are you just hypocrites?

Sorry, carried away here, but, I see all the Moff heads are demanding Matts farewell be dragged out forever, yet they all moaned when RTD did the same thing for DT, albeit, for only 25 minutes! Thy must all have fanboy amnesia. Well, sod that, the sooner Smith departs, the sooner I will start taking interest again. And lets hope he takes the overrated garbage writer Moff with him.

Do you consider a lego block a good actor?

Lol. You don't honestly think Moff can remember his own shitty spaghetti-o lots that far back, do you?

The BBC dont care about this show. It's children's fantasy, the only reason it's still here is dvd and toy sales will hit fever pitch this year, I wouldn't put it past the BBC to finish up the whole thing at the 50th, or regenerate the Dr into a woman, or even let the missing plot point daughter take over. The fact is though, Dr Who as we know it is done for. Harry Potter in space will be drastically different from the good old days.

Hmm, perhaps not. :)

Wha? Are you being funny? If you are I don't get it sorry. Harry Potter in Space? We have had that. It was called Merlin and it was set in some version of England, not space.

Regenerate into a Woman? Probably. Maybe. I don't know why they don't go the whole hog and turn him into a black lesbian liberal. And don't flame me, its a free country, free speech..for the moment. I was just being silly.

It can be anyone as long as its not Paterson Joseph, so overrated. Makes you wonder where they will go with it next. Another youngish chap, or a Jon Pertwee....doubt they would have the bottle to do that these days. Everyone on Tv now has to look so young.. Dale Winton is pushing it ...

This post is getting mental so I am going to bed now....

Well,if Madame Kovarian was the architect of the plan,then i would prefer more detail about her relationship with the Academy of the Silence and her personal hatred of the Doctor.Dramatically,there does need to be a confrontation with the antagonist responsible for humiliating and embarassing the Doctor by attempting to kill him and hurting his friends in that manner.I think it's very unlikely that a writer like Moffat ,would devise a story like this and leave it without a morally satisfying resolution.It's not really enough that Amy killed an alternate version of Kovarian because eventually that was seen to have never happened.Can an enemy as malicious and dangerous as Kovarian be allowed to do whatever she wants?The lack of information about Kovarian currently suggests that she is just an accomplice who was responsible for kidnapping Amy,replacing her with her ganger avatar,caring for her during her pregnancy and taking her child from her after she served her purpose.M.Kovarian seemed like an especially nasty sexy Doctor Who version of Granny Goodness,Call the midwife gone very,very wrong.

Yes your right. It does not feel like he has been doing it long, because they have messed about with the seasons so much in his run and it stinks. Splitting the 2nd season in two with a stupid American mid season break for months made it loose its momentum and drive. Then the last year and this we are getting half a season. So in effect we have been cheated out of one whole full season of him as the Doctor and its a waste. And annoying, and a Conn and just plain wrong. That's why it feels like he has not been around as long, because over the last three years there have been so many gaps, breaks and less episodes, and I cant believe they we have let them get away with it.
I also cant believe that they have the nerve to put out all the propaganda and act like this a good thing and good for the show, because its not.

Smith and the BBC pretty much agree. The Christmas Special isn't even written yet, so the plans for 2014 aren't even on the table yet. It will be some time before a decision is made on his possible return or leaving. The Sun definitely jumped the shark as all options are still open.

Or maybe simply Matt Smith doesn't know himself. The BBC aren't going to say he's not quitting if Smith isn't sure himself. In the interview on Jonathan Ross he said that it's one of those shows you just see what comes each year so he may decide to leave at the end of this year, the end of next, but until he's decided the BBC can't really say anything official.

That may well be. So the BBC has him on a year to year contract? They might do well to clarify all this.

Just watch the show! Why keep pestering asking how long he's going to play the role, and when you get an answer it's probably a no. Just enjoy his tenure as the Doctor...

I really like Matt Smith he's easily my second favorite but I personally am really exited to see who can take the role next. I think 2014 will be enough for me. I'm always exited for change!

I LOVE Matt, but I think around 2014 I'll have my fill and be excited for change!

Rule number one. The doctor lies

Like that in the U.S., for television series, studios often sign actors on 7 year contracts with a set amount of episodes each season. Also still don't understand why U.S. series have 25/26 episodes and shows like Doctor Who have only 13 episodes per series (sometimes) plus a Christmas Special. The Doctor Who production team really needs to get itself organised and become more consistent.

David Tennant said at the very start he wanted to stay longer than Tom Baker. He lied! Its Moffat who should leave!

Hear, hear! I won't be glad to see the back of Matt Smith, but boy will I be relieved when Moffat hand over to someone else. As I always post, I love this show, but Moff has made it impossible for me to bring anyone new to it who doesn't want to watch every frame three times on iPlayer.

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