Cast your minds back to the end of the Tennant era. New Years Eve, End of Time- Part Two. David Tennant's long awaited final performance. Remember the words? "I don't want to go"? Well David, we didn't want you to go either! You see, like many other Doctor Who fans around the globe, I'd done it again! I had gotten really attached to one Doctor. So when regeneration is, once again, forced on us, I resent it. This time I resent it a lot!
So anyway, David Tennant does the big firework impression and regenerates into Matt Smith. They couldn't be more different! I remember when Matt was announced as the new Doctor ( I remember it well as I was decorating my second son's nursery ready for his arrival) My first impression? Well he was from Northampton like I am but I have to be honest not good.You see for me Tennant's Doctor had been anarchic, funny, passionate, driven and well everything I believe the Doctor could and should be. Matt just seemed too young and too inexperienced as an actor to play such a complicated part. But, like every other dedicated Whovian I was willing to give him a chance.
Anyway back to the end of The End of Time! The Tardis control room erupts into flame and Matt's first words, key this don't want to mess it up, "Geronimo". Again, not very impressive, yes the scene looked great all daring and exciting but really, "Geronimo"? I would have to wait for the next series to see whether he improved.
The Eleventh Hour, first episode, new series, new head writer and new Doctor! First stories with a newly regenerated Doctor have always been notorious and a little shaky in my opinion. How was Matt going to burn himself onto our Whovian minds?
Well the answer to that question is with, in my opinion, the best debut story any Doctor has had in the history of the program. He hangs out of the Tardis, he eats weird food ( I still haven't tried fish fingers and custard) and meets a young version of Amy Pond. The story is fast paced and unapologetic. Steven Moffat allows no time to grieve for Tennant and firmly places Matt as our Doctor. It's a story full of humour, mesmerising performances and boy does Matty know how to play the part.
If I'm honest I was totally taken aback by all this. I also have to confess that it wasn't until the famous "I am the Doctor" speech at the end to the Atraxi, with the brilliant inclusion of face shots of all the previous incarnations, that I finally accepted that I would like Matt Smith.
Through the two seasons that Matt has helmed the Tardis there has been much that I have enjoyed and loved. I love his clumsiness, he has a wonderful bemused look sometimes that owes so much to Patrick Troughton's Doctor. He also has a passion and a darkness that is truly terrifying. As he commented to House in The Doctor's Wife and in answer to "Fear me! I've killed hundreds of Time Lords", "Fear me. I've killed all of them". There has also been somethings I haven't enjoyed as much. But this is, in fairness, more to do with the writing and the positions of companions than the Doctor himself.
So, as we move towards Season 7 and, indeed, the momentous and huge milestone of the 50th Anniversary year the question I ask myself is... am I pleased that Matt Smith is taking us into the next phase of Doctor Who. The answer is a definite and excited yes after all he IS the Doctor!