I’ll miss Matt Smith. I make no bones about that. I’ve said before that he’s my favourite Doctor. He’s a young actor but played the Doctor very old. And very honest. Whether he was playing the Doctor’s childish glee, his bottomless rage or his unfathomable regret, you believed every moment. Smith never seemed to act. He just was.
So, to say goodbye, here are my favourite moments of Matt Smith’s Doctor. (Spoiler alert, by the way!)
1. “I am definitely a madman with a box.” The Eleventh Hour
The moment I decided Smith was my Doctor. It encompasses everything you love about the Doctor and it’s delivered with promise and a grin.
2. “Stormageddon, Dark Lord of All” Closing Time
The Doctor speaks baby. Of course he does. And when he speaks to a baby named Alfie, he reveals that Alfie prefers to be known as Stormageddon. Fantastic name and delivered so matter-of-fact.
He speaks horse too.
3. “No-one human has anything to say to me today.” The Beast Below
The first of Matt Smith’s angry moments. The Doctor’s just discovered that humans are torturing a space whale so they can ride it. His rage is palpable and he almost seems personally betrayed, as if he’s been let down by this behaviour. I wouldn’t want to upset him after seeing this.
Matt Smith’s Doctor had a tragic sense of fashion that you couldn’t help but love. Fezzes. Stetsons. And, of course, bow ties. All of these were cool, according to him. No-one around him seems to agree, but fezzes kept popping up nonetheless.
5. “The universe doesn’t care.” The Snowmen
The Doctor retreats after losing Amy and Rory. To be honest, this idea bored me a little. It’s been done before and it doesn’t last long (the format of the programme doesn’t leave much space for reclusive Doctors). But Smith saved it. He seemed honestly bitter, hurt, even laughing at his pain. I believed in his retreat and I believed in his return.
6. Good Things and Bad Things Vincent and the Doctor
“The way I see it, every life is a pile of good things and bad things. The good things don’t always soften the bad things, but vice versa the bad things don’t necessarily spoil the good things or make them unimportant.”
This whole episode is filled with lovely moments and it’s not just Smith that shines. But this little speech tops it off. It’s been a sweet episode and a very sad episode. And just when you get a bit too sad, Smith delivers these lines. And you feel good again.
7. “Oh, I always rip out the last page of a book. Then it doesn’t have to end. I hate endings!” The Angels Take Manhattan
Given that this episode is Amy and Rory’s last, this is beautifully prophetic. Many actors might try to add import or gravitas to these lines but Smith delivers it with a casual, throwaway energy. It gives the words all the more impact. That he’s desecrating a book is almost forgivable. Almost.
8. Finding out he has to go to Trenzalore The Name of the Doctor
The Doctor realises he has no choice but to go to the planet where his grave lies. Watch it. Just kills me.
9. “I’m not running away from things, I am running to them. Before they flare and fade forever.” Power of Three
The only logical reason why Smith never seems to be still. He portrays the infinite curiosity and enthusiasm for everything that the Doctor embodies. The universe is full of incredible things and Smith’s Doctor is excited by all of it.
10. “You’re always here to me. And I always listen. And I can always see you.” The Name of the Doctor
River Song was a fantastic addition under David Tennant’s tenure, but she shone with Smith. Their relationship developed so quickly but so believably. And, at the last, Smith shows just how much the Doctor really cares for her.
I thought of plenty more. I wanted to go back and rewatch his entire run. I still might. His madcap energy was a joy to watch, his darker moments never failed to move. Even in the worst episodes Smith had a great moment and he made the best episodes his own. So the last moment could only be Smith’s farewell speech, because it felt like he was talking to us and it’s certainly how we’ll feel about him.
11. “I will always remember when the Doctor was me.” The Time of the Doctor