Matt Smith: My Doctor – Top 11 Moments
Guest contributor K-Ci Williams counts down 11 of Matt Smith’s best.
“And now it’s time for one last bow
Like all your other selves
Eleven’s hour is over now
The clock is striking twelve’s.”
Saying goodbye is a process that Doctor Who has instilled within me. Farewells are something into which I like to pour my heart and soul. Doctor Who has only ever required this of me once before, following the demise of the Ponds in The Angels Take Manhattan. Inconsolable and weeping, the feelings I had were hoarded deep inside until I was able to write about them; the moments of the Ponds that led to my infinite adoration.
The reason why I proposed this series of articles focusing on the tenure of my Doctor is because I thought that a pre-emptive acknowledgement of his time would soften the blow when he changed. But as the clock strikes twelve, as the sun sets on eleven and humanity weeps, my emotions have retreated deep inside. However, I now have the opportunity, to not only present my Top 11 Matt Moments as I did with the Ponds, but to also give my thoughts on The Time of the Doctor from the perspective of a Doctor Who fan who started watching in 2010 with that strange, strange man. His quiff, his charm, his brilliance, his chin; all of these encompass the Eleventh Doctor. Most importantly though, they all represent My Doctor…
Top 11 Matt Moments
In the previous articles, all Matt Smith era stories have been discussed, from The Eleventh Hour to The Day of the Doctor. Preparatory to my thoughts on The Time of the Doctor, here are my Top 11 Matt Moments from his first 43 episodes. Honestly, there are so many to choose from. I’ve chopped and changed at least thrice, resulting in eleven moments which I basically enjoy; what I will remember about the Eleventh Doctor’s era. Some of them reflect the moments explored in the previous articles, but here I will discuss why I love them so much. Remember to offer your own Top 11 Matt Moments in the comments below.
11. Fish Fingers and Custard
The Eleventh Doctor pulls himself out of the TARDIS, walks into a tree, and proceeds to eat normal human food. And then we reach the climax of the moment: the birth of fish custard. Honestly, it amazes me how much this caught on. Has anyone actually tried fish fingers and custard? In terms of beginnings, fish fingers and custard will always hold a special place in my heart because it was the first interaction my Doctor had with a human and it set the tonal quality for Matt’s portrayal. Therefore, it is my number eleven Matt Moment, for its sheer determination to make a Doctor’s debut as bonkers as possible. I dub thee the Bonkers Doctor!
10. Goodbye to Idris
This was a seemingly easy decision to make: he cried and was able to communicate with the one thing he loves most; his TARDIS. It had to make the list. It was heartbreakingly tragic when the tables turn from all the possibilities of the Doctor and Idris travelling in physical form, to the sadness of the apparent impossibilities.
“I’ve been looking for a word. A big, complicated word, but so sad. I found it now… Alive. I’m alive…It’s sad when it’s over. I’ll always be here. But this is when we talked. And now even that has come to an end.”
9. Amy leaves the Doctor
When Amy chooses to live her life with Rory in New York, subsequently leaving the Doctor behind, Matt Smith is amazing in his portrayal. I bawled my eyes out. It was such a powerful scene was it not? All were perfect in their acting and the raw emotion was there. The moment was sentimental and sad but also optimistic at the same time, as Amy and Rory will come out happy. And that only left the Doctor distraught, which made the moment even stronger.
8. The Name of the Doctor
I know I promised ‘moments’ but I’m cheating a bit here, and hey why not? The Eleventh Doctor cheated death multiple times, so I can cheat too, (I am certainly not endorsing a life of cheating). Name was just spectacular. Full of Matt moments, the story was perfectly timed and complemented with a funereal tone.
7. The Doctor vs. the Cyber Planner
This has already been touched upon in the Series 7 article, but here I just want to acknowledge how much I enjoyed those scenes. Doctor Who has always amazed me with how it is able to constantly challenge its actors. Nightmare in Silver is one of these examples, where the script allowed Matt to challenge himself and become a more experienced actor. Despite those awful children (I actually liked Artie, he was polite), the episode held through Matt’s dual portrayal.
6. River Song and the Doctor
Arguably, Matt’s entire run has been ‘River and the Doctor,’ perhaps that’s why I love it so much. Contrary to some opinions, I firmly believe that the dynamic between Matt and Alex Kingston is one of those odd treasures that come up every now and then. Since his very first series, Matt has acted opposite one of the most enigmatic actresses in British television. Every one of their moments is a treasure, which is why I’ve cheated again and made them all the sixth best moment from Matt’s era.
5. I’m the Doctor. Basically…Run!
The Eleventh Doctor stands proud as the Atraxi flashes projections of all ten previous faces, before he steps through it and says: “Hello, I’m the Doctor. Basically, run!” It’s the defining moment when we realise that he actually is the Doctor.
4. The Day of the Doctor
Again, not a moment per se, but a strong and memorable story just the same. It’s a Matt Moment because he was playing off David Tennant and John Hurt. Apart from an imagined ‘The Eleven Doctors’ special, it’s the best anniversary gift I could’ve asked for. It dawned on me while watching it that it was the last time I’d see Matt Smith as the Doctor prior to his swansong.
3. The Doctor with Sarah Jane and Jo
The moments shared between these three in The Sarah Jane Adventures aren’t strictly part of Matt Smith’s era, but they are just as powerful and important to me. I honestly really miss Elisabeth Sladen; Sarah Jane was the hero that I looked up to, more so than the Doctor. The Doctor is a Time Lord, with a time machine. But Sarah Jane is an ordinary human, with virtues of morality, humility, the ability to do right by everyone: the ultimate defender of planet Earth. She is who I looked up to, and still do. Just experiencing my Doctor alongside this wonderful woman and Katy Manning too, it’s all too much. I actually love this episode more than many of Matt’s whole tenure. It brings to us recognition of the past, and as I said, the mere fact that Matt was with Elisabeth and Katy is a special moment that I will always treasure forever. In fact, Death of the Doctor is in my Top 10 episodes of the Whoniverse.
2. Speech to the Old God
Emotional. Sentimental. Sombre. Extravagant. Amazing. Spectacular. The speech on Akhaten is one of the most special monologues I have ever experienced in fiction. It’s shrouded in raw emotion. Matt gives the performance of his life with tears falling and his words so, indescribable. It really is one of the highlights of the last four years.
1. The Drunken Giraffe
The Drunken Giraffe really is a Doctor-ish dance craze. I’m surprised it never became a global hit like twerking (ugh, I know. Blasphemy!), it’s an amazing move and Matt Smith owns it. Of course though, this isn’t my number one Matt moment. While it’s great, I’d peg it as an honourable mention…
And now for the real Number 1:show