BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. – You have to wonder what happens to all those retired Doctors on Doctor Who.
They’re all timeless beings, right? So are they all living in the same house together in some dimension of space and time?
Well, whatever they’re doing, Matt Smith has decided to join them. Following the Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Special, which will air on Space this November, and “regenerating” in the Christmas special, Smith – the 11th Doctor – is leaving the franchise.
Of course, it’s one thing to say you’re going, and quite another to come to grips with what it’s going to feel like when you’re actually gone.
“I have pondered it on several occasions, and I ponder it and think, ‘I’ve made a huge mistake. What am I doing? Don’t leave,’ ” the 30-year-old Smith said at the Television Critics Association tour. “I mean, (Doctor Who) has transformed my career. It sort of is my career to a certain extent.
“One hopes that it sort of sets you up to get other work. But, you know, it’s just actors, we go, we audition. I’m the same as anyone else, you know what I mean?
“Just because I’ve done Doctor Who doesn’t give me any divine right to walk into other jobs. I don’t think. I hope it does, but … ”
The producers of Doctor Who have been cagey about who the next Doctor will be. They say the process is ongoing and claim they primarily are concentrating on giving Smith a proper sendoff first.
Besides Smith and Jenna Coleman, who plays Clara, the 50th anniversary special also will features the likes of David Tennant (the 10th Doctor), Billie Piper, Joanna Page and John Hurt. Despite the enormity of the anniversary coinciding with his departure, Smith is trying to remain focused on the task at hand.
“To be honest with you, it’s kind of business as usual, really,” Smith said. “I mean, we just make the show, and that’s our kind of business end. We’re locked away in Cardiff. We do our thing. And then we jump into the hype and all the fandom when we come to Comic Con and things like that. So we just crack on with it.
“But it is going to be emotional because, for me, it has been four years. And it’s quite a transformative experience as an actor. It really dominates your life in and out of work. And you become very attached to people.
“I feel very proud to be part of such a wonderful legacy of actors. And I think, hopefully, we have the 50th coming up, and we (want to) honour the history and heritage of those who have gone before us. But I think the thing about Doctor Who is that it always looks forward. That’s the key. The show will get bigger and better and carry on without me. And people will forget.”
At that point, Smith pretended to cry.
There, there, Matt. All those other ex-Doctors can comfort you. After all, you’ll be moving in with them soon enough.