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Matt Smith hasn’t even seen the script for his final episode of Doctor Who yet, but his impending exit is all anyone wanted to talk about when he appeared at the Television Critics Association press tour on Thursday morning.
“It’s kind of business as usual,” he said. “It is going to be emotional for me because it’s been four years. It’s a really transformative experience as an actor. We just kind of make the show though, don’t we?”
Smith said that he was conflicted about the decision to leave after this year’s Christmas special but ultimately felt the time was right. “I think the show has come to a natural tipping point, and it’s at the top of a cycle,” he added. “I think it’s a good time for me and the show.”
Producers have also been pushing the story in that direction. Marcus Wilson, on-hand with Smith and Jenna-Louise Coleman, spoke about the addition of Clara and how she would be helping facilitate the transition to the next Doctor.
“There were discussions as soon as I started, so I knew it was likely that Matt would be leaving us at the end of this season,” said Coleman. “I knew that I was playing three different characters, but we didn’t know until later in the season the reveal of that. … It was just the quest of how the same girl can pop up throughout time and space.”
For the 50th anniversary, Smith spoke a little of his onscreen meeting with former Doctor David Tennant — but insisted they were both one-upped by fellow guest John Hurt.
“David and I would be climbing the walls, and then John just flicks his eyes and the camera goes, ‘Oh yeah, let’s watch John Hurt,'” said Smith.
The onscreen meeting of Smith and Tennant isn’t the only first for Doctor Who. It’s the first time the series has seen an infusion of characters from Russell T Davies‘ time as showrunner since Steven Moffat took over the job. Wilson said that it was likely a one-off, but they were open to a future collaboration with Davies.
“Steven has a very good idea of what happens next,” said the producer, “but we’re always open to possibilities.”
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