The New Doctor is . . . Who?

Matt Smith as the 11th Doctor, from months of speculation about the next regeneration of Doctor Who, the BBC today announced that Matt Smith will claim the coveted role of the wandering Gallifreyan.

Um, Doctor Who?

The youngest actor to play the lead role in Doctor Who, Smith follows on the heels of David Tennant, who will be stepping out of the role after some specials to air in 2009 and early 2010. Per the BBC article,

Piers Wenger, head of drama at BBC Wales, said that as soon as he had seen Smith’s audition he “knew he was the one”.

“It was abundantly clear that he had that ‘Doctor-ness’ about him,” he said. “You are either the Doctor or you are not.”

I must confess that I was hoping for a female Doctor this time around, if only for the story line possibilities. Every new Doctor must build on the work of his or her predecessors while imbuing the role with something special, something new. I suppose skewing younger will bring a fresh take to the role, but the Doctor is, after all, 900-odd years old.

The very first Doctor, William Hartnell, was in his mid-50s when he stepped through the TARDIS doors. The Doctor is definitely not young at heart—the Doctor is capable of deep, dangerous emotions that betray his age and the scars of time.

I trust that Steven Moffat, the new show runner from 2010 on, will remember that what a younger actor brings to the show is energy, not youth.

(Image from BBC)

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