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Smith to bid farewell to sci-fi hit Doctor Who

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2013-11-23 Regina Leader-Post.jpg


BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. — Five decades in five minutes. As Doctor Who prepares to draw back the curtain on its 50th-anniversary special this weekend, The Day of the Doctor, Matt Smith, the Northampton, U.K., native who played the 11th incarnation of the time-travelling Doctor for four seasons, starting in 2010, nudged his castmate and Doctor Who companion Jenna Coleman playfully and admitted it's impossible to sum up in five minutes what Doctor Who has meant to generations of young admirers. From that November night in 1963, when Doctor Who first flickered into living black-and-white glory, with the late stage actor William Hartnell cast as the first Doctor, the trippy, sci-fi parable about a time-travelling crusader for truth and justice captured the imagination, touched the heart and moved the mind.

Smith was outvoted this past week in favour of Scottish actor David Tennant as U.K. fans' favourite Doctor, in an online poll commissioned by and reported by BBC. Smith, who finished a distant second in the poll, has never let ego get in the way of his good nature, though.

Smith will step down as the Doctor in December's Christmas special, to be replaced by another Scot, veteran actor Peter Capaldi, who's expected to bring a more middle-aged poise to the role. Smith is 31; Capaldi is 55. Smith, who was cast when he was 26, brought a youthful vigour to the role. He had his doubters, but won them over with his lively energy and positive vibe. Times change, even for a performer in a wildly popular cult

sci-fi program. Smith decided in June he wanted to tackle new challenges as an actor. It's a measure

of Doctor Who's unique ability to change lead actors that the transition has been as smooth as it has.

Ever since a new actor, Patrick Troughton, took over from Hartnell in 1966, due to Hartnell's illness, Doctor Who has established a tradition of one actor handing off to another, like sprinters in a relay.

The series' original creators explained the change to the program's fans by devising a plot twist in which a Doctor regenerates into a new body every several years, yet retains his memories. That explanation, while not entirely credible made it possible for Doctor Who to last as long as it has.

"It will make a bit more noise this time because it's the 50th," Smith said. "It's a small audience here but worldwide it's, like, 77 million people."

Smith will appear in the 50th-anniversary reunion special The Day of Doctor, alongside Tennant, the 10th Doctor. Anticipation for the special has been building, in part because The Day of the Doctor will air simultaneously around the world — originating on BBC in the U.K. and airing at the same time, regardless of the time zone, on BBC America in the U.S. and on the Space channel in Canada —and in part because the guest cast includes John Hurt, as the War Doctor, and Gavin & Stacey's Joanna Page as Queen Elizabeth I.

Caption: Matt Smith will be leaving his role as the 11th Doctor Who. "I've had a great time: he says.

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  • APA 6th ed.: Strachan, Alex (2013-11-23). Smith to bid farewell to sci-fi hit Doctor Who. Postmedia News .
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  • Wikipedia (this article): <ref>{{cite news| title=Smith to bid farewell to sci-fi hit Doctor Who | url= | work=Postmedia News | pages= | date=2013-11-23 | via=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=22 March 2023 }}</ref>
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  • Title: Smith to bid farewell to sci-fi hit Doctor Who
  • Publication: Regina Leader-Post
  • Date: 2013-11-23