What? What?! WHAT???!!!

Posted: 3 January 2009 in television
Tags: , ,

“Steve Moffat is brilliant. Steven Moffat is a genius. Steven Moffat can do no wrong”.

This is the accepted mantra for all proper fans of the post-2005 “Doctor Who” series. The Moff has been responsible for some of the greatest moments in the last few years: a child in a gas mask intoning “Are you my Mummy?”; shadows that can eat you; stone angels able to consume your temporal potential if you ignore the Doctor’s advice about not blinking and not looking away.

With the departure of Russell T Davies the Moff was the natural choice to take over as Head Writer/Executive Producer. And when David Tennant decided it was time to depart also it became The Moff’s responsibility to choose the actor who would assume the role of the Eleventh Doctor. And after the casting announcement of 3rd January 2009 many fans are now saying “Steve Moffat is brilliant? Steven Moffat is a genius? Steven Moffat can do no wrong?”

All across the land the question is now being asked: “Who the fuck is Matt Smith?”

Back in 1974 the casting of Tom Baker as the Doctor (to this day he remains the definitive Doctor) was accompanied by the information that he was also the youngest – at the age of 40! Now we have an actor taking on the role of the Doctor at the age of 26!!! This could be an error on the part of the production team…

Peter Davison was previously the youngest Doctor when cast in 1981 at the grand old age of 29. His approach was to play the Time Lord as an old man trapped in a young man’s body. Despite the wide acclaim his time in the role has garnered Davison remains of the opinion that he was too young to play the role. The reason he accepted the offer was that he couldn’t bear the thought of never being able to admit that he had turned it down. Funnily enough this was a deciding factor with David Tennant too-and his favourite Doctor is the 5th, as played by Peter Davison.

26 is a very young age at which to play a role as iconic as the Doctor. Does Matt Smith have the “gravitas” to pull it off? The Moff would have gone for the best actor available to him and not just because of someone who looked good (though you couldn’t exactly class Mr Smith as drop-dead gorgeous in the same way that David Tennant has been labelled).

Casting someone much over their 40s was never going to happen to be sure. With a production schedule that encompasses 9 months of the year together with a huge amount of extra-curricular activities connected with the show The Moff needs an actor young enough and fit enough to cope and not keel over with a heart attack 6 months in.

In the Classic Series, as the 1963-1989/1996 period of the show is now called, the Doctor started as a grandfather figure, then a kindly uncle, then a watchful big brother. The danger now is that he has become a “romantic lead” and that is not what the Doctor is. He is basically a Victorian explorer in time and space who abohres evil and injustice.

As the new Doctor will not have his full first adventure until Spring 2010 (15 months hence) it’s going to be a case of keeping fingers crossed and:
“Steve Moffat is brilliant. Steven Moffat is a genius . Steven Moffat can do no wrong”.

And a note to The Moff: can the Doctor please stop snogging all the females?


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