Matt Smith to leave 'Doctor Who'

Categories: Network TV Press Releases

Written By

June 1st, 2013


via press release:


Matt Smith to leave Doctor Who

The BBC is today announcing that Matt Smith is to leave Doctor Who after four incredible years on the hit show. Matt first stepped into the TARDIS in 2010 and will leave the role at the end of this year after starring in the unmissable 50th Anniversary in November and regenerating in the Christmas special. During his time as the Doctor, Matt has reached over 30 million unique UK viewers and his incarnation has seen the show go truly global. He was also the first actor to be nominated for a BAFTA in the role. Doctor Who is BBC AMERICA's highest-rated series and premieres as part of the channel's Supernatural Saturday programming block.

Matt quickly won over fans to be voted Best Actor by Readers of Doctor Who Magazine for the 2010 season. He also received a nod for his first series at the National Television Awards, before winning the Most Popular Male Drama Performance award in 2012. Matt has played one of the biggest roles in TV with over 77 million fans in the UK, US and Australia alone!

Matt Smith says: "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.  I'm incredibly grateful to all the cast and crew who work tirelessly every day, to realize 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 showrunner 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, number Eleven, who I might add is not done yet, I'm back for the 50th anniversary and the Christmas special!

It's been an honor 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. Thank you guys.  Matt."

Steven Moffat, lead writer and executive producer, says: "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 behavior was always worthy of the Doctor.

But 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.

Of course, this isn't the end of the story, because now the search begins. Somewhere out there right now - all unknowing, just going about their business - is someone who's about to become the Doctor. A life is going to change, and Doctor Who will be born all over again! After 50 years, that's still so exciting!"

Having starred alongside three different companions, Amy Pond (Karen Gillan), Rory Williams (Arthur Darvill) and most recently Clara Oswald (Jenna Coleman), Matt's Doctor has fought Daleks and Cybermen, as well as Weeping Angels in New York.  Regularly heard shouting 'run' and 'Geronimo', through Matt's Doctor fans have been introduced to a new culinary combination - fish fingers and custard!

Matt's spectacular exit is yet to be revealed and will be kept tightly under wraps. He will return to BBC AMERICA in the unmissable 50th anniversary episode on Saturday, November 23, 2013 - TUNE IN!

Doctor Who is a BBC Cymru Wales production for BBC ONE

BBC AMERICA delivers US audiences high-quality, innovative and intelligent programming. Established in 1998, it has been the launch pad for talent embraced by American mainstream pop culture, including Ricky Gervais, Gordon Ramsay, Graham Norton, and successful programming formats including ground-breaking non-scripted television like Top Gear and top-rated science-fiction like Doctor Who. Owned by BBC Worldwide, the commercial arm of the BBC, BBC AMERICA has attracted both critical acclaim and major awards including an Emmy®, five Golden Globes® and eleven Peabody Awards. The channel attracts one of cable’s most affluent and educated audiences and is available on cable and satellite TV in more than 80.4 million homes. It broadcasts in both standard and high-definition, with content available On Demand across all major digital platforms. Online, is the place to go to dig deeper into pop culture with a British twist. Find out more by visiting or follow us on

  • John Walsh


    What do you mean with “Bad career move,consult Tenant and Pipper.”?

    Pipper was amazing in “Secret Diary of a Call Girl” and Tennant had a lot of brilliant papers after the Doctor. He played Hamlet and he’s on “Broadchurch” one of the best shows this year. They both have amazing careers so as most of the actors who left Doctor Who.

    I like Matt Smith, (but I still think tennant was a best doctor than Matt Smith is) but it’s really time for a new doctor.

  • wholandia

    What can’t the Brits stay with a popular role for more than a couple seasons. I’m not asking for 10 seasons of 24 episodes but c’mon let us enjoy our Doctors a lil’ more.

  • josh2770

    i wish Tennant would come back!

  • Wright

    Bring back David Tennant. I stopped watching when he left the show. He was the best Doctor Who.

  • tmorgan

    I never liked Tennant. Matt Smith was always better and I’ll miss him in the role of the Doctor.

    John Hurt’s “other side of the doctor” is interesting. Can’t wait for Christmas.

  • Josh

    It really irritates me that people are genuinely suggesting Tennant should go back in the role.

    Do you not understand how this show works? It’s about moving forward, not going back to another doctor. Yeah he was great, but Tennant would never go back in a million years as a regular, and Moffat certainly wouldn’t let it happen.

    On topic, I’m really sad Smith is leaving, he was a personal favourite of mine. But I look forward to who will be 12 at Christmas.

  • jessica

    You do realise that while the progression of The Doctor is linear everything around him is quite fluid and that all of the regenerations of The Doctor essentially co-exist in any given minute.

    So far the concept has been telling the story of the most recent regeneration but there is nothing against suspending the regeneration between 11 and 12 and picking up the story of 8 or 10. There is that episode The Five Doctors from 1983. If 8 then the stories would exist between the movie and the episode Rose but due to the time travel nature of the show they could take place at any time the writers fancy and maybe even make use of some of the audio works. The 8th doctor only has one episode on tv so its not like he would look too different and it is a more recent trend for the doctor to be very young. If David Tenant were to return then the stories would be the ‘previously untold adventures’ which take place between The Christmas Invasion and The End Of Time. If Billie Piper were to return then that would of course further limit the period to between The Christmas Invasion and Doomsday.

    The press release from BBC basically is a great big spoiler that later this year the doctor dies. Considering there are all of two more episodes this year that isn’t such an obscure revelation. Shame on BBC for such a huge spoiler. Especially after Matt Smith was reported to be staying for series 8 all of two weeks ago. I hope Matt Smith has a massive failure with his big hollywood movie and that he fades into obscurity because this is a really classless way to leave the show.

  • HarmonyMom

    Time for a woman Doctor. Not anyone we’ve seen so far in the show. Someone new to the series. Maybe a woman of color.

  • Barb


    What the heck are you talking about re: Tennant. Broadchurch, which Tennant was one of the main stars, recently ended an extremely popular run (huge ratings and acclaim) followed by the Politician’s Husband. His departure from DW hasn’t slowed his career one bit and there is more to follow.

  • Barb

    First reaction – yes!! Now for Moffatt to leave. Can we please go back to an OLDER Doctor and emphasis on the Doctor and his adventures rather than a mystery about a companion and the Doctor being a second banana to them. Plus, the show really needs to be expanded to a full hour (I know, we’ll get cut versions here) since the stories are too rushed.

  • PsychicCaramel


    Wow, that sounds harsh. How can you seriously wish Matt Smith bad luck and his Ryan Gosling movie to fail? Just because you’re disapointed? Like it or not, Matt Smith is an actor and an adult. Whenever he chooses to leave a role, he has every damn right to. It’s not like he’s betraying the audience and his fans. If there is one constant in that show, it’s constant change. Anything could happen. If you’re not prepared for that, you shouldn’t watch the show.

    Yes, he did say he would be part of the 8th season. But as the Christmas specials counts as episode 0 (sounds strange) of the new season, he was – like another user put it – indeed not lying.

    Enjoy the last bits of his tenure and cross your fingers that the 12th Doctor will live up to his role as all his other predecessors did.

  • Jamie04

    Yeah, I wish Tennant would come back too, but that’s not going to happen. The new Doctor won’t be a woman either (unfortunately). I can’t wait to see who the new/next Doctor will be. We know it’s not who was briefly shown in the finale.

  • Jamie04

    @Barb – they won’t ever go to an OLDER Doctor as you said in your comment. There’s no large audience for that.

  • The End


    There will never be a female doctor. He’s an alien MALE born on Gallifrey, to even suggest the next Doctor should be female suggests you don’t understand this.

    @But as the Christmas specials counts as episode 0 (sounds strange) of the new season,

    No they don’t. The Christmas specials are not part of any season what so ever. They’re exactly what they suggest, specials.

  • Barb


    The UK looks more at percentage of the overall audience watching and the AI (appreciation index) rather than our suckie demographics we rely on. An older actor with charisma (such as Patrick Stewart / Hugh Laurie though I’m not really interested in seeing either chosen) in the role would work. The audience, first and foremost is the UK, the rest is just syndication. Heck, even McGann being given a second shot would be great (e.g., a flashback season).

  • cimmer

    @Barb I’m in total agreement about getting back to more adventures and less about the Doctor’s companions; it’s become a bit of a soap opera what with Amy and River and Clara. I don’t care who the Doctor was/is/or will be sleeping with; I don’t care who thinks he’s cute and who has a crush on him this week I just want some cool stories. I rewatched The Snowmen last week and that was everything I’ve disliked about this latest incarnation all wrapped into one confused Christmas special. I suspect though that a new writer might be more of a shot in the arm to the show than a new Doctor.

  • HalCapone

    While I enjoyed the frenetic hyperdrive personality of Smith, I prefer David Tennant’s portrayal the best since he managed to effortlessly balance mischievious and manic fun with somber and tortured seriousness. Eccleston was okay but he was my least favorite of the three most recent incarnations. It’s great the Dr. Who series has the built in ability to inject new life in the show every few years with a regenerated new doc.

  • HalCapone

    While Dr. Who will never be female, I was laughing to myself imagining a cross dressing doc…something along the lines of Monty Python silly. What would the Daleks think about a knicker wearing, swishy Dr. Who: “Exterminate!”

  • Riii

    Hugh Laurie would be an awesome Doctor, but I don’t see that happening sadly. I have a feeling it will be someone young and relatively unknown again.

  • The End


    Ironically before Matt Smith got the role, Robert Carlyle was one of the names shortlisted for the role even, but he was busy with another show.

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