The BBC today announced that Matt Smith has been cast in the role of the Doctor in the iconic BBC series Doctor Who. Matt Smith will be the eleventh Time Lord and will take over from David Tennant who leaves the show at the end of 2009. He will be seen in the forthcoming fifth series that will be broadcast in 2010.
The fifth series will also have a new lead writer and Executive Producer in the form of the BAFTA award winning writer Steven Moffat who is taking over from Russell T Davies. Moffat will be joined by Piers Wenger who will be the new Executive Producer for BBC Wales making the show.
Following David Tennant's decision to step down at the end of 2009, the team behind the new series set about casting the new Doctor so that new adventures could be created and scripts written with Matt in mind.
The identity of the new Doctor was revealed on a special edition of Doctor Who Confidential that was broadcast on BBC One on January 3rd at 17.35hrs. In it Smith revealed his initial reaction at taking on such a legendary role and his thoughts on what direction the Doctor might now be going with him playing the part.
Matt Smith said of his new role "I'm just so excited about the journey that is in front of me. It's a wonderful privilege and challenge that I hope I will thrive on. I feel proud and honoured to have been given this opportunity to join a team of people that has worked so tirelessly to make the show so thrilling.
"David Tennant has made the role his own, brilliantly with grace, talent and persistent dedication. I hope to learn from the standards set by him. The challenge for me is to do justice to the show's illustrious past, my predecessors and most importantly to those who watch it. I really cannot wait."
Lead writer and Executive Producer Steven Moffat said "The Doctor is a very special part, and it takes a very special actor to play him. You need to be old and young at the same time, a boffin and an action hero, a cheeky schoolboy and the wise old man of the universe. As soon as Matt walked through the door and blew us away with a bold and brand new take on the Time Lord, we knew we had our man. 2010 is a long time away but rest assured the Eleventh Doctor is coming - and the universe has never been so safe."
Piers Wenger, Head Of Drama, BBC Wales added "With two hearts, a ferocious mind and over 900 years of experience behind him, it's not every 26 year old actor who can take on a role like the Doctor but within moments of meeting Matt he showed the skill and imagination needed to create a Doctor all of his own.
It's just the beginning of the journey for Matt but with Steven Moffat's scripts and the expertise of the production team in Cardiff behind him, there is no one more perfect than him to be taking the TARDIS to exciting new futures when the series returns in 2010."
Ben Stephenson, Controller BBC Drama added "I am delighted to see Matt take on this iconic role. It will see him continuing his relationship with the BBC following his performances in Ruby In The Smoke and Party Animals, and his upcoming role in Moses Jones. The combination of Matt, Steven and Piers will, I know, take Doctor Who onto new and even dizzier heights."
Jay Hunt, Controller. BBC ONE said "Matt Smith will be a mesmerising eleventh Time Lord, true to the spirit of the show. He is a worthy successor to David Tennant who has been utterly remarkable in the role and promises to continue to be in next year's four special episodes."
26-year-old actor Matt Smith has been cast as the Eleventh Doctor, as revealed in today's special broadcast of Doctor Who Confidential on BBC One. Smith will succeed David Tennant in the role for the fifth series, which begins filming this summer and will air in 2010.
Smith has appeared in various television productions, including alongside Billie Piper in the BBC's adaptations of the Philip Pullman novels The Ruby in the Smoke and The Shadow in the North. He co-starred in the drama series Party Animals, and on stage was in Alan Bennett's acclaimed play The History Boys.
Smith was born and bred in Northampton, England, and later attended the University of East Anglia in Norwich. He is the youngest actor ever to have been cast as the Doctor in the TV series.
BBC News quotes Smith as saying: "I've got this wonderful journey in front of me where I've got this six months to build this Time Lord - and that's such an exciting prospect." Executive producer Piers Wenger has said that: "It was abundantly clear that he had that 'Doctor-ness' about him. You are either the Doctor or you are not." The BBC News site has also published a profile of Smith, while the official website has a video interview with the actor available to UK users. The first BBC News story has been updated with a clip from an interview with Smith, which is available to users worldwide.
The BBC Press Office, meanwhile, has a full release with quotes from new chief writer Steven Moffat, who was one of those behind Smith's casting. "The Doctor is a very special part, and it takes a very special actor to play him. You need to be old and young at the same time, a boffin and an action hero, a cheeky schoolboy and the wise old man of the universe. As soon as Matt walked through the door, and blew us away with a bold and brand new take on the Time Lord, we knew we had our man."
Some biographical notes on Smith follow, from the official BBC Doctor Who website:
The speculation is over! The new Doctor has been announced, even though Doctor Who Confidential kept us watching for 25 minutes until they told us lol.
Doctor eleven is Matt Smith, so everyone was wrong and the Patterson Joseph leak was IMHO a deliberate ploy to increase the viewers of Survivors! One question is how long will he be the Doctor, will they regenerate him after one series like Christopher Eccleston? Or will he stay like Tom Baker?
All thats left to do is welcome Matt Smith to season five, I'm sure no-matter who has reservations about him, please remember this – in 2005, we are told Billie Piper is to be the Doctors companion, and we all started complaining! - Since them she has proved her worth!
As they are getting younger and younger (Matt is 26), will number twelve be a teenager? :)
I suppose the next question is who is to be his companion?
Tonight's episode of Doctor Who Confidential has confirmed that Matt Smith has been cast as the Eleventh incarnation of the Doctor.
Smith will be best known for his roles in Party Animals and The Ruby in the Smoke, in which he starred alongside Billie Piper. And at just 26 years old, he will also be the youngest incarnation of the Time Lord in the show's history.
I'm just so excited about the journey that is in front of me," Smith said. "It's a wonderful privilege and challenge that I hope I will thrive on. I feel proud and honoured to have been given this opportunity to join a team of people that has worked so tirelessly to make the show so thrilling."
Smith will take on the role of the Eleventh Doctor in Series 5 of Doctor Who which will air in Spring 2010. He'll be joined in the TARDIS by a brand new companion, who is still yet to be confirmed. Steven Moffat will be in charge of the series as head writer and executive producer.
"Literally from the first day, the second or third person we saw, it was him," Moffat said. "He was spot on from the beginning."
There is something quite old about him, so he looks quite young and old at the same time, which is important."
He added: "2010 is a long time away but rest assured the Eleventh Doctor is coming, and the Universe has never been so safe."
Meanwhile, Piers Wenger, Head Of Drama, BBC Wales, said: "With two hearts, a ferocious mind and over 900 years of experience behind him, it's not every 26 year old actor who can take on a role like the Doctor but within moments of meeting Matt he showed the skill and imagination needed to create a Doctor all of his own."
Click here to read the BBC's full press release. Filming for Series 5 will kick off in Cardiff this Summer.