Doctor Who! is one of those TV shows that like football or religion can spark arguments from seemingly casual concersations. There isn't a watcher of the show who hasn't got their favourite or favourites Dr, and of course this means they also have their least favourites too. I remember watching William Hartnell in the original series, and I mean when it was first shown, and was so disappointed when Patrick Troughton took over; at least I was at first because Mr Troughton took the part and turned it into his own vehicle and slowly made the part his own. This was when I realised how good an actor he was and how the Dr, a TimeLord, could change into a different person and personality. Patrick Troughton soon won me over and I enjoyed watching the show with him at the helm. Around 3 years later and Jon Pertwee stepped into the shoes of the Dr. Now the part had softened from the original hard scientific Hartnell portrayal and the sour faced, well travelled Troughton era to a more jovial character. Bringing Pertwee into play the Dr was akin to Roger Moore taking on Bond, the character became lighter and more amusing whilst the baddies remained deadly and dangerous and still frightening for small children's eyes. I liked Pertwee's sense of humour mixed with his seriousness in dark situations so I suppose at this point he had become my favourite of the 3 to date.
Tom Baker took on the Pertwee role with a relish and made the Dr even more flamboyant whilst keeping the ashow rolling along at a good light-hearted but serious when necessary pace. From 1981 - 1996 (with huge gaps inbetween) came for me the worst period of Doctors. Peter Davison didn't do it for me at all. Maybe I was growing up (I hate to think that though) but his Doctor Who was my queue to begin watching the other side or even turning the TV off and doing something else. Colin Baker similarly didn't light my fire and when I saw Sylvester McCoy come up against Bertie Bassett in his first showing as the Doctor all credibility of the show went out of my window and I gave it up as a good thing to remember (1963-1981).
Then they made the one-off TV movie with Paul McGann and he did an admirable job and my Dr Who fire was relit. I really looked forward to a new series with McGann at the helm, but sadly that wasn't to be. Then up popped Christopher Ecclestone and he was brilliant. A superb actor in tight, dark and comedic situations, a believable Doctor Who. Not only did I make sure I tuned in regularly so did millions of others, Dr Who was back with a bang. Then after the first show Ecclestone announced that he was only doing the first season and then moving on. Just as the programme hit a new pinnacle for me the rug was being pulled from under our feet and a new, to me unknown, Scottish actor, was taking over. Like many I watched the final Ecclestone episode and bemoaned his loss, but then David Tennant emerged and Ecclestone and all that went before him (save the first 3 in my mind) were forgotten. Tennant was superb. Quirky, mysterious, amusing, serious, all the old Doctors rolled into one and I guess I would have to name him as my favourite, possibly because of his ease of playing the Dr but also because the scripts got tighter and more edge of seat adventurous.
When tennant moved on Matt Smith stepped in and I turned off. This shows what I know for while I thought the acting was wooden, predictable, yawn inspiring and with a first season script that did him no favours, plus of course we had now had the fantastic Torchwood series which took the Dr Who era to a completely new and exciting level, I gave up again. Millions of viewers didn't and Matt Smith gained a solid reputation and a whole load of new Dr Who fans and followers.
So that's my personal potted history on Dr Who. Below is a BBC Blog that has just popped up on my PC and requires forwarding onwards .....
The BBC is today announcing that Matt Smith is to leave Doctor Who after four incredible years on the hit BBC One 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.
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, USA 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 realise 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 show runner 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 honour 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 behaviour 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 One screens in the unmissable 50th anniversary episode on Saturday 23rd November 2013 - TUNE IN!
We’ll have exclusive quotes from Jenna on this site tomorrow and a special video from Matt - coming soon!