[<< wikinews] Matt Smith revealed as 11th incarnation of Doctor Who
Thursday, January 8, 2009 

Actor Matt Smith will be the next to portray the Doctor on the BBC television program Doctor Who.  Smith will be the eleventh incarnation of the Doctor, taking over from actor David Tennant who will end his time with the series after filming four editions of the program through 2009.  The Doctor comes from a race of Timelords, and has the ability to "regenerate" and change appearance when his health is failing.  William Hartnell was the first actor to play the Doctor, from 1963–1966.  Smith will become the new occupant of the Doctor's time machine and spacecraft the "TARDIS" in 2010.  
John Harper, founder of the Scarborough and Ryedale Astronomical Society and a fan of the series, called the decision to cast 26-year-old Smith in the role "wonderful". MP for Scarborough Robert Goodwill, also a fan of the program, told the Scarborough Evening News: "David Tennant will be a very hard act to follow, but I’m optimistic that the new Doctor will be just as good."

Matt Smith, 26, portrayed researcher Danny Foster on the political drama Party Animals, which aired on BBC Two in 2007.  Fellow actor Andrew Buchan from Party Animals told The Guardian: "It's a sublime bit of casting.  He's got that huge hair, a twinkle in his eye — Matt's the king of geek chic.  He is possibly going to be one of the best Doctors we've ever had." 
After a back injury got in the way of Smith's goal of becoming a footballer, his drama teacher Jerry Hardingham at Northampton School for Boys encouraged him to pursue acting. Though Smith did not audition, Hardingham cast him in a school production of the play Twelve Angry Men. Hardingham later convinced Smith to join the National Youth Theatre, and he landed the lead role in the play Murder in the Cathedral, performing before members of the British Royal Family and other VIPs at the Westminster Cathedral.

David Tennant, 37, has portrayed the Doctor on Doctor Who since taking over for Christopher Eccleston in 2005. A major feature of his character's stories involved a romantic interest in his companion in the TARDIS, Rose, played by actress Billie Piper. 
Tennant announced his exit from the program on October 29, 2008, at the National Television Awards in the United Kingdom, during his speech accepting the outstanding drama performance award at the program. Doctor Who was recognized with the award for most popular drama program. 

"I love this part, and I love this show so much that if I don't take a deep breath and move on now I never will, and you'll be wheeling me out of the Tardis in my bath chair," said Tennant in his address to the audience in attendance at the Royal Albert Hall. He was previously recognized at the National Television Awards for his role in Doctor Who with the award for most popular actor, in 2006 and 2007.
Tennant is currently performing the lead role in Hamlet with the Royal Shakespeare Company, and his engagement at the Novello Theatre in Westminster, London is set to end on January 10. He portrayed Hamlet 60 times with the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford-upon-Avon prior to the production's move to London.

== Related news ==
"David Tennant announces exit from Doctor Who" — Wikinews, October 30, 2008
"New Doctor Who quits series, BBC searches for replacement actor" — Wikinews, March 31, 2005
"Doctor Who returns as UK Saturday night timeslot lord" — Wikinews, March 27, 2005

== Sources ==
Robert Colvile. "Matt Smith: Just what the Doctor (Who) ordered" — The Daily Telegraph, January 7, 2009
Whitney Matheson. "Do you know your 'Doctor Who' history?" — USA Today, January 7, 2009
 "Doctor Who 'owes success to political drama'" — The Daily Telegraph, January 7, 2009
Lloyd Vaughan. "New Doctor Who star 'conned' into acting" — This Is The Westcountry, January 7, 2009
Susan Stephenson. "New appointment delights Dr Who fans" — Scarborough Evening News, January 7, 2009
John Scott Lewinski. "A Who's Who of Doctor Who" — Wired News, January 6, 2009
 "Tennant back on stage as Hamlet" — BBC Online, January 4, 2009
 "The Big Interview: Matt Smith" — Official London Theatre Guide, May 14, 2008