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

  • jessica


    Did you miss the part where this is a kids shows? Did you miss the part where it was reported 2 weeks ago that Matt Smith was going to be starring in series 8? This is the most abrupt change of ‘returning’ to ‘leaving’ that the show has ever had. How do you tell the kids that the doctor told a big fat lie to them?

    Did you not realise that with every cast member who plays the title character that leaves after a few years the show gets ever closer to its forced end or some shark-jumping discard-the-whole-past-premise revision that extends it beyond 12 regenerations. If the next guy does an Eccleston (aka stays only one year) then that would put the show forever at the edge of its ultimate end.

    So, yeah, BBC can talk about the ‘next half century of Doctor Who’ but if they keep picking 4-years-or-less doctors the show won’t make it to the 60th anniversary.

    Those episodes at Christmas and other times are packaged with the previous episodes not the subsequent when you purchase the show on discs.

    So yeah, either the reports all over the place two weeks ago were a massive lie bigger than anything in Hollywood or Matt Smith changed his mind. I am not sad because i am a fan of Matt Smith and he won’t be the doctor anymore; i am angry because i am a fan of Doctor Who and Matt Smith has just helped drive a big nail into the lid of its coffin after having announced he wouldn’t do exactly that.

  • bob

    who the hell is matt smith? and who even watches this repetive crap anyway…

  • Captain Sunshine


    Matt Smith does not owe you anything.

    The kids that watch this show aren’t going to care nearly as much as you do about this.

    The Doctors have been staying 3 years maximum since Troughton (2nd) who even suggested to Davison (5) to not get too attached to the role.

    If they want to keep it going, they will. If not, they’ll end it.


  • The End

    @Captain Sunshine
    @Matt Smith does not owe you anything.

    She knows that. It’s not realistic to question his motives(or assume bad faith) when only a few weeks ago he was telling fans/newspapers/anyone who will listen, that he’l be back to film Season 8 in September.

    A lot of people are wondering why he went through the effort to tell everyone that he’l be back for certain to work on Season 8 + Christmas special, then he suddenly does this.

  • The End



  • Captain Sunshine

    @ The End

    How would it not make sense? Clara’s spread across The Doctor’s timeline, so why couldn’t she meet him during his 8th incarnation?

  • Simon Jester

    @Captain Sunshine – The Doctors have been staying 3 years maximum since Troughton (2nd)

    Wrong. Jon Pertwee (3rd) stayed for 5 seasons. Tom Baker (4th) stayed for 7 seasons. If only there were some sort of globally linked computer network where this stuff could be verified, eh?

  • Captain Sunshine

    And he has the right to change his mind about continuing the role. It’s not that big of a deal.

  • PsychicCaramel


    I would say it is sort of a kids show but not exclusively. And let’s not forget that kids are very well capable to adapt when there are changes. I know, these kids love Matt but I don’t think it is that bad, that they are going to cry themselves to sleep. I am exaggerating here, of course – don’t want to come off as rude, jessica.

    But I agree on the abruptness of that decision. You have a point here. But I am not entirely sure that there is Matt to blame. We don’t know the circumstances under which this decision was made.

    The web is buzzing over stories like Matt demanded a bigger pay check, or that he simply wants to pursue his acting career as it became more and more clear that he was at the end of his tenure. And if you think about it, there were various hints in Series 7.2 that Matt Smith might be leaving soon. It didn’t come off as a huge surprise – at least not for me.

    Rumor has it that Matt’s departure could’ve all been planned beforehand and that he had to come forward as there was a leak. There were also a lot of castings during April – May and we simply don’t know if they already casted a potential successor to Matt. (The source to that is and is unconfirmed).

    My point is: We don’t know what was going on there or who is to blame – if there is someone to blame at all. Thus wishing Matt ill should be off limits and we should refrain from making assumptions based on such limited information and out of disappointment.

    And yet again you are right, ratings are declining slightly and constantly. But I wouldn’t say that the regenerations are the problem here. I’m not going into detail and to complain about Series 7 – but that “every week a blockbuster”-approach of Moffat might’ve also contributed to the decline. I’d say it is due to the rapidly changing watching habits. Doctor Who is being watched online a lot – legally and illegaly. There are an estimated 80 Million of devoted whovians in the english speaking countries. The other countries (e.g. Germany, where are I come from) not included. I don’t think they will axe it anytime soon. Though I agree on “pulling an Eccleston”. That would do some harm.

    But I don’t get you complaint about Matt only playing the role of the Doctor for about four years. Doctor Who is being shot over a period of 9-10 months a year, so this is quite a commitment. Not every actor can be a Tom Baker or a David Tennant. It is simply not possible.

  • Captain Sunshine

    I said they had been staying at that rate SINCE Troughton (or more accurately, since Hartnell), not that they had continuously stayed at that rate.You really think I’d forget about the longest running Doctor? And again, the whole reason Davison left after three years was because of Troughton’s suggestion to not be typecast. It’s not unreasonable that Smith is leaving for the same reasons or even for the reason Tennant left, not wanting it to become a job.

  • serendipity’s last stand

    This makes me sad matt smith is my favorite doctor I enjoyed him soooo much more than the previous two. He gave the role a zing the last two lacked. It was so bleak before he came on a lot. I think after all these years he will be my last I think when he leaves I’m finally done with doctor who. I know he has to regenerate but I can’t see me liking another doctor enough to watch anymore. :-(

  • Robert Ford

    I’m surprised, but not really disappointed. I didn’t dislike Smith, but never really came to love him.

    Eccleston was my favorite new doctor, McCoy my favorite overall (Tom Baker’s my second favorite ahead of Eccelston). I assume they’ll get around the twelve regenerations thing by having River Song’s extra lives be multiplicative or somesuch.

    I’d *really* like to see Richard Ayoade as The Doctor. I wonder if there will ever be any possibility of that. (Or of a non-British Doctor, though obviously from Ireland or the Commonwealth.)

  • Robert Ford

    Apparently I’m not the only one who wants to see an Ayoade Doctor. I just realized that when you google his name, is the eighth suggeted search.

    I imagine it’s still highly unlikely, but he would make an awesome Doctor.

  • Lisa

    Good. It’s been ages since they had a Doctor I really liked. Someone in the vein of McCoy, Davison, or McGann would work for me.

  • The End

    @Captain Sunshine

    Because Doctor Who has never been a series about going backwards, when a Doctor leaves, they’re done. That part of their life is finished. Thus why a prequel wouldn’t work, and Jenna L Coleman aka Clara is signed on for a new season anyway, so they don’t need to do it.

    @And he has the right to change his mind about continuing the role. It’s not that big of a deal.

    Yes he does, that was never in question, what is in question is why tell the world you’re coming back in September to do a season 8 then suddenly and abruptly say I quit?

  • The End

    @Robert Ford

    I wouldn’t mind seeing a black doctor either. Certainly it wouldn’t be unrealistic to say that Black timelords existed on Gallifrey and that any timelord when they regenerate have the ability to be old, young, black, white.

    Personally I would like to see an older Doctor this time around, one that can commit for at least 3 seasons and basically add a new dynamic to the character. Someone in their 40s/50s that can connect with the audience too. Slow the character down a bit and focus on solid, no nonsense acting talent.

    I have a feeling the next Doctor won’t be as young as Matt Smith but won’t be ‘old’ either.

  • johnny

    good, now cancel this pathetic remake. Doctor Who has been gone since 1996, this remake is so bad. Effects (even the cgi is crap) can not save a series with horrendous so called acting and abysmal, tripe, dreck so called stories and so called abysmal, tripe, dreck scripts! this smith guy looks like s tranny! YUCK!

  • Andrew

    @johnny.Begone troll!! Away with you.

    This is a British show. What people need to understand is that British actors do NOT hang on to an tv show just to be getting an ever increasing paycheque. They treat acting like a trade and a craft. When they have learned all they can from a director or series they move on and try something else. Why is Hugh Laurie such a great actor? He’s spent years perfecting his craft in over 90 productions, not to mention his stage work. Being the Doctor is NOT the be-all & end-all of these actors. Its one job and then they move on to other jobs. In 5 years we’ll all be saying the same comments about the next Doctor as we are saying about this Doctor.

  • Kyle7


    Geez, don’t be such a drama queen. You’re acting like this TV show is of monumental importance, such that a sudden change in actors will traumatize the entirety of Britain’s children forever or that a show that’s fundamentally about messing with time will somehow ruin everyone’s enjoyment of life if they break a rule created nearly 40 years ago by an entirely different set of writers who rightly believed they’d never be responsible for the show 9 lead actor changes down the line.

    They’ve broken the 12 regenerations limit before with The Master, and it wouldn’t be all that difficult to think of several good plot reasons to explain the Doctor getting more. Actually, the Doctor trying to find away around the regeneration limit sounds like a terrific plot for a two-part season finale. They’re definitely not just going to pack up shop when the 13th Doctor’s actor wants to quit.

    You seriously need to start telling yourself the MST3K mantra: It’s just a TV show, I should really just relax. The world won’t end because the BBC wants to keep a valuable property on the air.

  • Kyle7

    Whoops, re-looked up the MST3K mantra and there’s no “TV” in there, but whatever.

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