Following this morning’s claims by the Daily Mirror that Matt Smith has quit the long-running science-fiction drama series, Doctor Who, the BBC have taken to Twitter to deny it.
On the paper’s front page there is a publicity shot of Smith as the Doctor carrying his companion Amy Pond (Karen Gillan) in his arms – from tonight’s episode, Asylum of the Daleks – over which the headline “I QUIT! Doctor Who’s Matt calls time on Time Lord” is printed. The front page goes on to claim that their story is an exclusive.
Today’s Mirror headline conjures up a similar one in 2005 – “Eccleston stuns universe” – that appeared only days afterDoctor Who returned to TV screens. On that occasion the BBC confirmed that Christopher Eccleston had quit the show, although there were still twelve episodes of his run to be transmitted.
However, today, the BBC’s Head of Communication, Sam Hodges, took to Twitter to deny that Smith was leaving the series any time soon. Through a series of Tweets, Hodges said, “#DoctorWho fans - Matt Smith hasn't quit. See him in Asylum of the Daleks, tomorrow at 7.20 on #BBC1,” and “Matt Smith hasn't quit - just an over excitable headline.”
It appears that the Mirror has come to its conclusion following comments made recently by Smith that he won’t be able to play the Doctor for ever.
During an interview with Empire magazine recently, Smith admitted, “I don’t think you can sustain it. Tom Barker [who played the Fourth Doctor from 1974 to 1981] did it for seven years but he did it in different circumstances. I couldn’t do this for seven years. I’d be run into the ground. And your life outside of it is ... I don’t know. I hope I don’t sound too pessimistic. It’s just I don't think my body or my life or the people around me could sustain it.”
The end is just the beginning
Smith was first seen as the Eleventh Doctor on New Year’s Day 2010 – when he took over from David Tennant in The End of Time. Tonight will see the start of his third full series as the Time Lord, again with fourteen new episodes.
Beyond that, the 29-year-old actor has already committed himself to playing the Doctor throughout next year’s 50th anniversary itself, which Steven Moffat – Doctor Who’s showrunner – has said will be huge.
In August, Smith talked to Digital Spyabout preparations forDoctor Who’s golden jubilee, and suggested that there would not be a regeneration – when one Doctor changes into the next – as many people expect.
Pond Life, the latest of many Doctor Who spin-offs, completed its five-episode webcast run yesterday, ahead the parent show’s return tonight – Saturday, 1 September – in the UK, US and Canada, with Asylum of the Daleks. The series begins in Australia and New Zealand on the 8 and 13 September, respectively. Four further episodes – Dinosaurs on a Spaceship, The Power of Three, A Town Called Mercy and The Angels Take Manhattan – follow in the coming weeks.
After a short break, Doctor Who continues at Christmas with an as yet untitled special, followed by a further eight episodes in early 2013.