If you are a fan of Doctor Who you may be used to hearing the following questions when meeting with fellow Whovians.
So who’s your Doctor?
The idea of your Doctor is a question unique to Doctor Who since ostensibly The Doctor is the same character, but each actor brings a different nuance to this character and brings out different quirks of his personality.
So who’s my Doctor?
Eleven, Matt Smith. The youngest actor to play the Doctor in the series’ fifty year history, Matt Smith was cast right after David Tennant who had previously been the youngest. He dealt with a lot of pushback after his casting was announced - though that is to be expected by any actor stepping into this beloved role. Matt Smith’s Doctor started a new era of Doctor Who, ending the run of Russell T. Davies as showrunner and launching era of Steven Moffat. I could speak at length about my issues with RTD, though I appreciate the work he did introducing Doctor Who to a new generation, myself included.
Matt Smith brought a youthful energy, similar to David Tennant, but was also able to portray a seriousness and exhaustion befitting a 900-year-old Time Lord who had seen many tragedies and suffered many heartbreaks. It is almost impossible to separate the Doctor from his companion of the moment and the chemistry between Eleven and Amy Pond was so refreshing. After the (annoying) romance between Ten and Rose Tyler and the writers appalling treatment of Martha Jones, it was great to see the Doctor interact with a companion like Amy. Maybe it is the characterization of the ginger but besides Donna Noble, I don’t believe we have seen a companion treated as an equal who the Doctor could care deeply for as a friend and relate to as a wise elder.
As many issues as I have with Steven Moffat as a showrunner, and believe me, there are many, I also think that against the RTD era, the episodes featuring Eleven are much higher in quality. This is not to discount the strides made from RTD which made it possible for the Eleven era to have a higher budget, better effects and a captive audience that was built up through Tennant. However, I just love Eleven and his storylines, especially with River Song. While I enjoy the early seasons, during any rewatch I usually find myself starting at “The Eleventh Hour”. I find such joy in that introductory season that I sometimes find myself down the YouTube rabbit hole, just rewatching funny or touching clips from different episodes.
I think the reason I love Matt Smith’s portrayal of The Doctor so much is that he seemed able to encapsulate all of the best personality traits of the Doctors before him and even Capaldi after him. The versatility of his acting made me just as excited to see the serious Doctor as the silly Doctor. In “The Eleventh Hour”, Matt Smith’s introductory episode, we are introduced to a silly youthful Doctor. Even younger than Tennant but sillier and cuter (in my opinion) and his interaction with a young Amy Pond gave the episode an even more enthusiastically childlike feel. The cooking montage remains one of my favorite moments in all of New Who. Alternatively, in his final episode, “The Time of the Doctor”, he not only grows old before our eyes, but he has spent the majority of the seventh series showing how weary he is after 2,000 years of traveling and saving the universe.
There are many reasons how or why a Doctor becomes your Doctor but I immediately felt a connection to Matt Smith and when looking for a familiar and comforting story I tend to go straight for his seasons. The episodes I remember the most and that rank highest in my esteem are episodes with the Eleventh Doctor, Amy, Rory and River. His portrayal of The Doctor turned me from a fan into a Whovian. So when Silence falls and the question is asked: Who is your Doctor?