The Eleventh Doctor: Top Moments
Guest contributor Luke Gwalchmai picks out five great moments from Matt Smith’s era.
Matt Smith turns 32 today! How time flies, I remember when a relatively unknown 26-year-old was announced as the man to replace David Tennant! Matt withstood a lot of criticism in his earlier days as the Doctor and went on to become one of the most popular Doctors of them all, which is all a testament to Matt’s determination, work ethic and sheer ability. He brought a warmth to the role and took the character to new heights. Now, on his 32nd birthday, I’d like to share with you some my favourite moments of Matt Smith’s tenure as the Doctor.
“Hello, I’m the Doctor. Basically, run.”
There was a lot riding on The Eleventh Hour, Matt’s debut as the Doctor. He not only had to prove to critics and viewers alike that not only could he fill David Tennant ever so popular shoes, but that a younger man could adequately play the Doctor. I’ve always admired the spirit that this episode shows; with their backs to the wall, and nothing to lose, they just decided to go for it, and my word did it work! It’s such a gutsy episode; it has real heart, which is what every Doctor Who episode should have. It’s always a challenge introducing a new Doctor, but Matt just took to the role like a duck to water, and got to grips with the role straight away, which has to make it easier. Over the course of the episode we saw the Doctor battle to save the Earth whilst at the same time getting adjusted to this new regeneration, which all culminated on the famous scene on that hospital rooftop. I love this scene, it’s the first time we see the Doctor as his new self. He’s out of Tennant’s clothes, the bow tie is on and he’s ready to “put on a show” to quote the man himself. After saving the Earth from Prisoner Zero and the Atraxi, he set about to make sure that not only do they leave, but they never come back, after giving them a warning about the planet being protected, that it’s always been protected, he walked through a holograms of the previous Doctor’s to announce himself as the next one. It’s a fantastic moment that is so memorable. It shows us that Tennant has gone, and Matt Smith’s era starts now.
“There’s one thing you never put in a trap.”
Believe it or not, this speech at the end of The Time of Angels is the first bit of Doctor Who that I ever saw. I wanted to watch the show at the start of the series, because I’d heard of Matt and wanted to see if he could do a decent job. But I’d forgotten about it and only realised when I turned over to BBC One to see what was on, just as Matt was asking everyone if they trusted him. Matt then launched into a speech telling the Angels that they have made a big mistake. This speech is something I’ll never forget, it was delivered tremendously by Matt, with such confidence that you knew you could trust him. This is probably my favourite of Matt Smith’s speeches; Surrounded by creatures that are about to kill him, they’re closing in, it appears as though there is no way out, and he’s just so assured and confident in himself and conjures up a really clever plan in a matter of seconds. And the speech itself is definitely a full on badass moment, delivered expertly by Matt Smith. This speech got me hooked on the show, so it’ll always have a special place in my heart.
“Good men don’t need rules. Today is not the day to find out why I have so many.”
Matt is regarded as one of the more lovable Doctors, but it surely can’t be said that he didn’t have a darker side to him. The events of Demons Run really affected Matt’s Doctor deeply; he always felt very protective of the people he took with him, he felt responsible for them. He also wanted them to feel safe and happy with him. So to see Amy, someone he really cares about, kidnapped when she’s pregnant and have her baby taken will really cut him deep. His outburst to Colonel Manton, labelling him Colonel Runaway and making an example of him for using the people he loves to get to him is a really powerful moment. His Doctor hadn’t really got angry like that before, apart from maybe The Beast Below. He generally tried to be a positive and happy Doctor, so when he had flashes of anger and darkness like he did here; you really know it’s a serious situation. Matt is brilliant here, and shows a really different side to his Doctor. It’s a glimpse of what he would be like if he didn’t have his companions to ground him, and how unstable he can be. This is the Doctor saying that if he didn’t purposefully stop his anger from boiling over, it could not be stopped by anyone in his way, which shows how dangerous he can be.
“You are unique in the universe.”
I have gone with this Akhaten speech over the other one. I’ll be honest with you, I adore this speech. Matt Smith was brilliant at these speeches, be it the big shouting ones, or the soft ones like this one here. Seeing the Doctor convince Merry that she was worth more than being a sacrifice herself to a false God is a very memorable scene to me. There is something that we can all take from this speech in my mind; we are all different, special and unique in our own way. No one person is the same, and we should never think that we are not special enough or that it doesn’t matter if we are gone, because we are all unique, and there will never be anyone like us ever again. That speech is really heart-warming and sends out such a positive message, and doesn’t get enough credit in my opinion.
“I will always remember when the Doctor was me”
I absolutely adore Matt’s regeneration scene in the TARDIS; it was really nice to see Matt back in his young body again how we remember him. And he got the chance to say goodbye, both the Doctor and Matt Smith. His speech about change is really relatable; we all change throughout our lives, we are never the same person. You’ll be completely different in ten years’ time to who you are now. And there’s nothing wrong with that, we have to change as people and grow as the world changes around us. It’s a natural part of life and shouldn’t be feared, and that’s what that speech helped me to understand. I love it. It’s eye opening, uplifting and really helped me to accept Peter and be prepared to give him a fair go at being the Doctor. I got a lot sadder watching his regeneration scene when I watched it in August for the second time than I did on Boxing Day (when I first saw it), probably because now it has really sunk in for me that Matt has left, and this is his last stand as the Doctor, and it made me really sad. It’s quite similar to Eccleston’s regeneration, in that he is clearly scared that he is about to change and be rewritten at any moment, but he goes out with a smile on his face, and helps to comfort his companion, as well as the fans watching the show who love him. I think it was nice for him to see Amy one last time, although it does leave Clara a bit sidelined when she’s stood there crying! It was a good piece of nostalgia though, and the last thing he does is comfort his friend who is there with him now, so I’m happy with it. I adore Matt’s regeneration scene, it’s amazing.
Thank you for reading this article; it’s always a pleasure to write about Matt Smith and his Doctor. I would like to end this article by wishing Matt Smith a very Happy Birthday. He is my first Doctor, the reason I started watching the show, and the reason I fell in love with it. His Doctor was amazing, funny, and inspirational and it was simply a privilege to watch him develop as a character as well as watching Matt mature and improve as an actor week in week out. This Doctor helped me on a personal level and will always have a special place in my heart. I do miss Matt; he was such a great man to have leading the line as the face of the show. He took it to the next level with his performances and was outstanding. He was a big factor in the show becoming so popular all over the world, both as an actor and a person. He was amazing with the fans too, and was brilliant with young kids. I’ll always miss Matt Smith, and he’ll always be my favourite Doctor. I hope he has had a brilliant day.
Feel free to leave your own top five moments in the comments below.