I am a bit gutted that Matt Smith is leaving. While I've been unimpressed with some of the things Stephen Moffat has made him do, I love the zaniness, eccentricity, hint of darkness, narcissism, emotion and gangly originality Matt has brought to the role. It took me precisely two episodes to have me writing a letter of apology to David Tennant for forsaking him.
I've loved the dynamics he's had with his companions, from Amy and Rory to Vastra and Jenny - although I'm less than impressed with the way he treated Strax in the Christmas special. I don't care how miserable he was feeling, that level of abuse is just not on.And I've developed a lot more sympathy with River since we've found out her story.
From the ironside daleks to the Pandorica, to that lovely episode written by Richard Curtis featuring Vincent Van Gogh, to dinosaurs on a spaceship, the pathos of The Girl who Waited to losing Amy and Rory to the weeping angels to facing his demons at Trenzalore, it's been a fantastic 3 and a half years.
The announcement of his departure did actually hurt. At least with Tennant we had more than a year to get used to the idea. With Eccleston, we had the whole series. With Smith, we have just two episodes.It's kind of heartbreaking.
And because of the necessity of filming the regeneration scene, the new Doctor has to be around when the Christmas special is filmed.If they had more than a shoestring to work with, they could film the scene with several just to keep us guessing. So, it was announced at midnight that a special live programme would be held to unveil the Doctor on Sunday night.
This displeases me for two reasons. First, I'm on holiday and there isn't much in the way of signal, so I'm not going to be able to say much about it. Secondly, why Zoe Ball? I've nothing against the woman, but she's going from not being Claudia on It Takes Two to presenting a Doctor Who special when she's had nothing to do with the programme. Could they not have got Catherine Tate to do it, or Karen Gillan? Or Neve McIntosh? I wish Lis Sladen was still around to ask.
And as for the identity of the new Doctor, the smart money seems to have gone on Peter Capaldi. Malcolm Tucker vs the Daleks. I know who my money would be on. Capaldi is a very talented actor and, at some point, we'd would stop waiting for the tsunami of profanity. But the smart money was on Paterson Joseph the last time and they completely surprised us with Matt Smith. Who knows?
Neil Gaiman said that he was more inclined against a famous actor being cast in the role because of the baggage they come with. I loved the last paragraph of his article though, because this is what we all hope for, and secretly fear won't be the case:
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.