Top 11 Time of the Doctor Moments and a Tribute
Guest contributor K-Ci Williams concludes the Matt Smith retrospective with a top 11 and tribute.
“Did you mention the rules? Now, listen. Bit of advice. Tell me the truth if you think you know it, lay down the law, if you’re feeling brave. But, Daleks, never, ever tell me the rules. Come on look at this. Regeneration number thirteen. We’re breaking some serious science here boys. I’ll tell you what, it’s gonna be a whopper! Ha, you think you can stop me now Daleks? If you want my life… come and GET IT!”
The Eleventh Doctor has regenerated and Matt Smith has indeed left Doctor Who. This series of articles has looked back at the time of Matt Smith’s Doctor on the show, but in this final farewell article, the focus is solely on The Time of the Doctor. In uniform with the previous articles, there have been some spectacular moments performed in Matt’s swansong. So as a tribute to Matt Smith and his era of Doctor Who, here are the important moments and concepts of The Time of the Doctor which I felt were reminiscent of the last four years and contributed to an amazing celebratory story for the one and only Matt Smith. This will conclude with a personal letter to Matt Smith.
The Time of the Doctor – Top 11 Moments
Honourable Mention: The Deletion of Handles
The little dialogue exchange near the beginning regarding the phone was given emotional significance later on in the story, and as Handles dies, the Doctor is left as he always is, without one more friend.
11. The Time of the (Naked) Doctor
This scene was utterly bonkers and very Doctorish. Matt proves that he’s charismatic and charming, and naturally owns the scene and all the bits in it. This now brings the Eleventh Doctor’s nudity bar up to, how many? I wonder if this was uncomfortable for him to film. All in all, it was very amusing to watch.
CLARA: Doctor, why are you naked?
ELEVEN: Because I’m going to church.
10. Christmas with the Oswalds
As another source of comedy early on, the Christmas scenes with Clara’s family were a standout for me. Almost instantly, you understand what Clara’s family is like. They’re presented as a British family who sit down to watch the Strictly Christmas special, along with the turkey and the crackers. Honestly, I really enjoyed these scenes because they offered contrast with the darker tones that followed later.
CLARA: Isn’t anybody gonna say hello?
9. The Day of the (Bald) Doctor
This was another highlight for me; I found it highly amusing that the wig was written into the script. The dynamic between Clara and the Doctor in these early scenes make the downturns later on all the more powerful. Matt plays this Doctor perfectly. Although he’s changed a lot since the early days, he is still the same old Doctor who thinks he’s cool, but isn’t.
ELEVEN: The old key in the quiff routine. Classic!
8. Doctor Who?
I must say that the characterisation of Clara has been spot on as of late, perhaps having her body split across time and space saving the Doctor had a profound effect on her. She’s compassionate and a real delight to watch. The whole arc regarding the oldest question in the universe is addressed here. Steven Moffat makes this a celebration of Matt’s time by tying up the residual storylines and offering some touching moments and a bout of surprising character development.
CLARA: His name is the Doctor. All the name he needs, everything you need to know about him. And if you love him, and you should, help him!
7. Tasha Lem
One of the delights of the episode was Tasha Lem: the Mother Superious of the Papal Mainframe. Her characterisation resembled River Song which is probably why I enjoyed her so much. Again, the continuity between earlier stories which allude to the Papal Mainframe and the Church is amazing. Finally, we are allowed a physical representation for a being we’ve only heard of over Matt’s tenure.
TASHA: From this moment on I dedicate this Church to one cause: silence. The Doctor will not speak his name. And war will not begin. Silence will fall!
6. Fish Fingers and Custard
This small reference had to make it to the list. It’s not only a link to the past, but it’s symbolic of the Eleventh Doctor’s origins in that first scene where Matt Smith suspends your disbelief in The Eleventh Hour. Come to think of it, time really has gone quickly – it seems only yesterday that fish custard was created. And of course it had to be included in Matt’s swansong!
5. Mentioning River Song
To tell the truth I was a tad disappointed that River Song wasn’t in Time. I hoped she would be, but instead we got a consolation that still worked fine in my mind. The Doctor acknowledging the importance of River in his life is something I’ve always wanted. We never really have the idea that they love each other enforced a lot, so this was an amazing moment for me. Plus, any mention of River and I go ballistic.
TASHA: They engineered a psychopath to kill you.
ELEVEN: Totally married her. I’d never have made it here alive without River Song.
4. The Drunken Giraffe
I named the Drunken Giraffe as an honourable mention in the Top 11 Matt Smith Moments, and look here! It was incorporated into the story and I feel it’s a direct link to the first time we saw it, when the Doctor dances with children. On the whole, that summarises the Eleventh Doctor for me. Way back in The Beast Below he can’t bear to watch children cry, and this has grown into his love for children. So, as a piece of nostalgia and a comedic moment, this part deserves this spot.
ELEVEN: Cool is not cool…What’s the dance we’re doing? The Drunk Giraffe. Merry Christmas. Give me a hug, bring it in.
3. The Aged Doctor at the Tower
Please add this moment to the list of mega speeches from Matt’s era. I feel that the prosthetics on Matt are superb, and the strands of hair are credible. In his portrayal, he is the Doctor that we fell in love with four years ago. Incredibly, even in his last performance, Matt breaks new ground as the Doctor. The huge motions with his arms, spreading regeneration energy out at the Daleks were epic. I think this will go down in history as one of Matt’s most outstanding performances.
ELEVEN: If you want my life… come and get it!
2. The Eleventh Doctor’s Change Speech
This scene in its entirety truly was something special. Matt performs his last scene wonderfully. In my opinion, the Doctor’s last speech, which I am dubbing the ‘Change Speech’, is a lead into the regeneration which was truly breathtaking. It’s actually quite sad, because he’s decided to leave just when he’s broken more ground in the role. I didn’t cry here as I did with the Ponds, but I was damn close! And then in a poignant act, he whips off his bow tie, and lets it fall to the ground. I’ve always said that the lovely Long Song melody from The Rings of Akhaten should be Matt’s regeneration music, and I got my wish!
CLARA: You, you are the Doctor.
ELEVEN: Yep. And I always will be. But times change and so must I…We all change when you think about it, we’re all different people, all through our lives, and that’s okay, that’s good you gotta keep moving, so long as you remember all the people that you used to be. I will not forget one line of this, not one day, I swear. I will always remember when the Doctor was me.
1. Amelia Pond and her Raggedy Man
Firstly, when this moment started following little Amelia Pond around the TARDIS surrounded by pictures of all the Eleventh Doctor’s adventures, I was pleased. A fitting tribute to the last four years, I thought. And then, the hallucination of Amy Pond walked down the steps of a TARDIS desktop she’d never been in, proceeding to speak three words. The chemistry between these two actors from their first appearance together in The Eleventh Hour was reignited here, and I must admit while I didn’t cry profusely at this moment, it evoked a few tears. This moment takes the top spot, because it takes me back to square one. It reminds me of the first moment with The Doctor and Amy Pond, when there was no Rory, no Clara, no Paternoster Gang, just the Doctor and Amy. They were the characters who I met first, and they’ve stuck with me all this time, and they will continue to do so forever.
AMY: Raggedy Man… Goodnight.
Dear Matt Smith…
When I began watching this show in 2010, I never could have foreseen the place it holds in my life. I love Doctor Who, and that largely comes down to you. There’s a running idea that the ‘first face this face saw’ is significant to the person. To me, you’re that someone. You are the first face that I saw, and you were sealed onto my heart.
Through time and space I’ve watched you run. You came looking for someone to share in an adventure and out of everyone, you chose me. Words cannot compensate for the emotional ringer I’ve been through these past years, but there is one word that I can use to describe you: INDESCRIBABLE! You are the Doctor, Matt, and you always will be.
At the beginning of the year, there were rumours that you were going to leave Doctor Who and not continue through to Series 8; I thought surely not, not my Doctor! And then it had apparently been confirmed that you had signed on for Series 8 and I was over the moon, until the BBC announced that you were to leave after the Christmas special. I spent that whole day transfixed on my laptop screen, staring at the text stating you would be gone.
I must admit, when I saw your regeneration I was very sentimental, it was a very sombre affair for me. But then I think of all the good times, all the happy times and the times still to come for you in the future and everything seems to be alright again. And it must feel weird handing over the TARDIS to Peter Capaldi. You needn’t worry though, my Raggedy Man, I have a feeling he’ll fill your shoes just fine.
Finally, those times we have had, Matt. They’ll never ever leave me. I’ll dream about the days: the madman who stole a box, that brand new and ancient blue box, the bluest blue ever, and I’ll reminisce about the adventures we have had. All those times with the Ponds and Clara, the Paternoster Gang, Sarah Jane Smith herself and even when you met your previous selves. It sure has been a wild ride, and I look forward to your hopeful return in the next Multi-Doctor story. It’s awfully sad to see you go Matt, but I’ll follow your career, all of it! And I guess all that’s left to say now is thank you Matt. Thanks for the past four years, it’s been amazing.
You are indescribable Mr Matt Smith. You’re not just the Doctor, ou are MY Doctor. I will cherish your era forever…And you know what?
Time Lord Throwback
In light of this nostalgic article series, I thought I’d end it where everything began. Not with the Eleventh Doctor, but with the man who became him: Matt Smith, and his first days acting in the TARDIS…
Matt Smith’s Eleventh Doctor has been an absolute delight, and these articles have been a joy to write. The universe is sad today, as the era of a legend ends. But even as the song ends, the story goes on forever. Coming halfway out of the dark, there is a small light: a new Doctor. Farewell Matt Smith, you were fantastic, and Peter Capaldi, you will be. And I suppose, if it’s my last chance to say it: GERONIMO!
We’re all stories in the end. Just make it a good one. ‘Cause it was, you know. It was the best.
Catch-up with other articles in this series:
- Matt Smith: My Doctor – Part 1: The Eleventh Hour
- Matt Smith: My Doctor – Part 2: Series 5
- Matt Smith: My Doctor – Part 3: Series 6
- Matt Smith: My Doctor – Part 4: Series 7
- Matt Smith: My Doctor – Part 5: Specials
- Matt Smith: My Doctor – Top 11 Moments