Matt Smith has been named as the eleventh Doctor, replacing David Tennant in BBC One’s hit revival of Doctor Who.

At 26 Smith (pictured below) is the youngest actor ever to play the role. He has previously appeared in Alan Bennett’s play The History Boys and in BBC One’s adaptations of Phillip Pullman’s The Ruby in the Smoke and The Shadow in the North.

He also appeared as Danny in BBC Two’s political drama Party Animals, other TV roles include appearances in BBC One’s The Street and Billie Piper’s ITV series Secret Diary of a Call Girl.

The latest occupant of the Tardis said he felt “proud and honoured to have been given this opportunity to join a team of people that has worked so tirelessly to make the show so thrilling.”

Smith old grew up with his family including one sister in Northampton. He was head boy at Northampton School For Boys where he excelled at sports, music and drama. A back injury forced him to give up dreams of being a professional footballer and with the encouragement of one of his teachers he decided to join the National Youth Theatre.

Matt Smith as the eleventh Doctor

His performance at the Court led to a variety of theatrical experiences at the National Theatre: in the award-winning History Boys (directed by Nick Hytner), On The Shore Of The Wide World (directed by Sarah Frankcom) and also in the acclaimed trio of plays Burn / Citizenship / Chatroom (directed by Anna Mackmin).

In 2007, Matt played Henry in Polly Stenham’s award-winning first play That Face, opposite Lindsay Duncan.

Today’s announcement, made in a special BBC One edition of Doctor Who Confidential, brings to an end months of speculation following Tennant’s announcement that he would leave the part after filming four specials for broadcast this year.

Paying tribute to the outgoing Tenth Doctor, Smith said: “David Tennant has made the role his own, brilliantly, with grace, talent and persistent dedication. I hope to learn from the standards set by him.”

The BBC yesterday said casting the new Doctor was “job number one to be completed” before scripts for the new series could be finalised and shooting could begin in the summer.

The fifth full series, to air in 2010, will be executive produced by Head Of Drama BBC Wales, Piers Wenger and Steven Moffat who replaces outgoing showrunner Russell T Davies.

Speaking today Moffatt said: “As soon as Matt walked through the door, and blew us away with a bold and brand new take on the Time Lord, we knew we had our man.”

Wenger commented: “It’s just the beginning of the journey for Matt but with Steven Moffat’s scripts and the expertise of the production team in Cardiff behind him, there is no one more perfect than him to be taking the TARDIS to exciting new futures when the series returns in 2010.”

Rumoured contenders for the part included Survivors star Paterson Joseph, James Nesbitt and Chiwetel Ejiofor. Tonight’s special edition of  Doctor Who Confidential was also broadcast live on BBC Big Screens nationwide.

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Comments

  1. els says

    Have never heard of this guy, just have to wait for 2010 and see what he’s like. Hopefully as great as the rest though a little bit of me would have liked James Nesbitt.

  2. Craig says

    Matt was great in Party Animals and despite the rude comment above has a sexy little look about him.

  3. SP says

    He looks great next to the TARDIS, bit too much like DT maybe but I’m sure he’ll do fine in the part.

  4. Lynne says

    Gutted…really gutted. I had set my heart on James Nesbitt or even Paterson Joseph. Matt is way too young and thin and just wrong. They had it so right with Tennant and needed to keep the same calibre. Let’s hope they get it right for number 12. So dissapointed BBC

  5. Linda Baharier says

    Not a good choice the BBC needs to have to courage to recast now. You don’t need a big name but you need an experienced actor to appeal to a wide audience. Not pander to the teeny boppers and have a wet behind the ears needs to learn his craft actor.
    How about Sean Pertwee and keep it in the family?

  6. Craig says

    Linda needs to get over herself, Matt IS an experienced actor and none of his work to date has been aimed at ‘teeny boppers’ – the Pullman plays have wide appeal i n the same way Harry Potter does and Party Animals was about as un-teeny bopper as it was possible to get, being an adult drama in the world of politics.

    On stage he’s played a number of parts including a man in an incestuous relationship with his mother in Polly Stenham’s That Face.

    Maybe Linda didn’t bother to do her homework or maybe she’d like to explain how that makes him a “needs to learn his craft actor.”

    As for getting rid of him, IT’S NOT GOING TO HAPPEN and rightfully so.

  7. els says

    Wow some people are being quite harsh about the casting decision. Maybe because they had hopes for someone else to be cast and are ever so slightly disappointed now?

    I think I would have prefered someone very different cast this time but we can’t really judge fairly until we see the shows next year – Matt Smith could turn out to be the best thing since…

  8. says

    I would have liked to see an older actor, older than CE and DT. But only because i think TV is so yoof obsessed. These fan reactions are nothing new as Martin H has said elsewhere. I’m sure Smith is very able.

  9. JJ says

    What a horrible choice.
    I usually resist prejudging but there’s a lot of factors preventing me from seeing how Smith could possible do the role justice. He’s far too young. He actually looks older than 26 in still photography (due to his strange face) but in interviews and acting roles he comes across as a teenager. He’s sooo green, and that’s something you can’t hide. I don’t agree with people who say he’s got an old soul, or a look or knowledge and experience in his eyes, I didn’t get that from him at all. I don’t think there’s any chance he’ll be able to convey the Doctor’s presence, wisdom, otherworldliness, experience or authority. That final look he gave at the end of Confidential – what was that even meant to be? Mysterious? Creepy? Manic? Smug? Whatever it was it fell flat and, to me, prompted the same reaction as a bad xmas cracker joke – half-laugh, half-groan. Embarrassingly unconvincing.
    He comes across as a bit of a middle-class yob, posing as an emo. I think it was quite telling that one of the things Moffet liked about him was his hair. I used to respect that guy for his intelligent writing but in Saturdays Confidential he came across as an idiot. As for Smith’s appearance, his hair contributes so much and that could’ve been replicated with anyone if the producers are actually crazy enough to want a look like that. Under the hair he just looks like a bit of a lumpy-faced neanderthal, like the former footballer he is.
    I can’t think of a single thing I like about him, or a single reason they might’ve cast him except to appeal to the Twilight/Demons audience (who will see right through him)or a single way they could make him an interesting doctor. If they try to play on his strange appearance by making him all alien and ‘dark’ it’s going to really stretch his acting ability and the further they push it the more he’ll overact and come across as false. Same goes for if they try to make him seem like an old man in a young man’s body. If they play to type he’s just going to be an annoying yuppy, probably running around snogging every girl in range.
    And what about in-story considerations? How is a teenage doctor going to command respect? I know he’s not a teenager – he’s 26 same as me but I can’t even see him as an equal, he seems far less mature than I am, with much less life experience. And what about companions – older won’t work and neither will younger. I’m worried they may have cast him on impulse or under pressure from forces higher up in the BBC, and overlooked a lot of inevitable problems.

    Don’t get me wrong – I accept that they might be able to make him popular, to make him into a popular doctor – just because he doesn’t appeal to me, doesn’t mean no-one will like him. This si all my opinion – the shows over for me but that’s just me and I don’t expect everyone to agree. I also realise that this is primarily a kids show and if the kids like him that’s the main thing.
    But I do have concerns for the show in general because from reports I’ve heard so far kids don’t like him. He’s not going to appeal to adults either. There’s going to be a very narrow demographic of people who’re going to find Who NVQ appealing. Surely the casting people realise this. Why cast someone who’s going to encourage so much doubt rather than some one people will have confidence in and be pleased to see in the role? Doesn’t have to someone truly famous just someone with a proven track record. Paterson Joseph was seemingly used to distract attention from their true casting – a crass tactic and woefully misjudged considering the politics involved and how great a choice Paterson Joseph would have been. Smith is a horrible disappointment in comparison.In his extended interviews he’s admitted that he had trouble learning all the scenes for his audition and is daunted by the thought of filming taking over his life, and that he’s hoping for advice from David Tennant. No, no, no – if he can’t figure things out for himself he’s not ready for the part. I don’t want to watch some kid playing at being the Doctor and I don’t think he will even cope with the pace of filming on this show.

    That’s it from me, rant over. I’ve been a Who fan since I was 6, I’ve seen every surviving episode, but it’s dead to me when Tennant leaves.

  10. Angus Leigh says

    “That’s it from me, rant over. I’ve been a Who fan since I was 6, I’ve seen every surviving episode, but it’s dead to me when Tennant leaves.”

    You’re scary… seek help.

  11. JJ says

    @Angus: I’m p****d off, simple as that. And I talk too much. You’re easily scared. Kinda glad I scare you though ;)
    @Martin – good point. Paterson Joseph would have the same in-story credibilty issues. But at least they would have been interesting ones.
    Why is it so taboo to dislike this guy?

  12. Angus Leigh says

    It’s not taboo I think he’s a little young too… but

    have you ever thought that maybe you’re taking this all a bit too seriously… it is afterall a tv show, a tv show aimed at a family audience.

    Comments like yours remind me of the comments others made about Tate and even Tennant when he was cast… and look how terribly that turned out.

  13. says

    The Black thing is a good point… you can’t dodge issues like that unless they came up with some techno-babble plot device to explain it all away

  14. Kristian Barry says

    Look I’m perfectly willing to give this guy a break. He does look older than Tennant did when he started already. LOL. More importantly I remember everyone reacting in much the same way as they have with Smith so its all a storm in a teacup.

    Just a note to those who have said otherwise, however, it doesn’t matter how old the Doctor is or even how young its about whether an actor can give the gravitas neccessary to pull it off. His performances seem to indicate a mercurial quality so I reckon he’ll either be good or bad. LOL. Still thank god it was him. The one thing I was absolutely clear on is that The Doctor is not a woman and he is not black. He’s a white anglo saxon hero for the multi generational. He isn’t something you can chop and change whenever you feel the need to be controversial. If someone wants a female Timelord then they have Romana if they want a Black Timelord then they need to write to Stephen Moffatt and demand a character be created that they can identify with. LOL. There has only been one black Timelord IIRC and that was an extra in Season Three’s flashback on Gallifrey.

    Sorry but there you are.

    Personally I applaud Paterson Josephs calm and decorum in attempting to keep the running open and not spoiling all the fun and speculation. I personally loved him in Neverwhere but as I said earlier the Doctor is not black, or, a woman.

  15. Kate says

    Maybe the emotion is due to the dearth of good television, therefore when it looks as though something you love is going to drastically change it provokes extreme reactions.

    I agree that this casting is inexplicable, I was in a room with 30 people of varying ages when this was announced and not one person said anything other than “mistake”.

    I excused myself from the Peter Davidson years, I’ll do the same for this one. The Doctor has to have gravitas.

  16. monkey-duck says

    im so sad david’s leaving…he was great. :'( oh well… matt? never heard of or seen him before! hope he’s good!

  17. Doctor John says

    I think I will give the positive reaction, once you see him as The Doctor everyone is going to think this guy is brilliant!!!!!!!!! I don’t think it matters how The Doctor looks as long as he’s The Doctor and the show is still running.

  18. Christophe says

    I’ve never head of this guy, he’s too young and he looks really weird…

    …is what people said in 1974 when Tom Baker took over from Jon Pertwee.