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Doctor Who Profile: The Eleventh Doctor

Matt Smith as the Eleventh Doctor

The Eleventh Doctor

Portrayed by: Matt Smith

Companion(s): Amy Pond, Rory Williams, River Song, Clara Oswald

Tenure: 39 stories (44 episodes), from “The Eleventh Hour” (April, 2010) to “The Time of the Doctor” (Dec, 2013)

Signature look: The Eleventh Doctor’s look gets a few tweaks during his run. He starts with a tweed jacket, which later becomes a long purple (all together now) frock coat (the Doctor loves his frock coats), button-down shirt, bowtie (they’re cool), suspenders, lace-up boots, and, to go with his purple coat, a purple waistcoat and pocket watch with chain. And of course, if possible, he will accessorize with whatever distinctive headware is handy.

Catchphrase: The Eleventh Doctor has several catchphrases, particularly, “Geronimo”, “Come along, Pond”, and “I like <fill in the blank>s now. <Fill in the blank>s are cool.”

Personality: The Eleventh Doctor is whimsical and energetic, but also brooding and manipulative. His number one rule for his Companions is that the Doctor always lies, which takes the sneakiness and deceitfulness the Seventh Doctor to another level. Though he initially feels out of place with humans, not understanding basic elements of social interactions, the Eleventh Doctor eventually becomes downright domestic (in his way) with River and, after his relationship with her progresses and she heads to the Library, he becomes quite leery in his interactions with his female allies and Companions. He’s impatient and easily bored, struggling to sit still at any given moment while valuing stability for his Companions in a way he hasn’t previously and traveling with Companions who have (comparatively) normal home lives separate from their multiple-story adventures with him.

Best TARDIS team: Amy and Rory (with an option on River)

Worst TARDIS team: Clara, River, and the Paternoster Gang (Madame Vastra, Jenny Flint, and Strax). Too many Companions and Allies at that tea party

Signature foe: He has several memorable enemies, but not one that is dominant. The Silence are his most significant enemy during his time with Amy and Rory and the Great Intelligence fills that role, so far, during his travels with Clara

Best Stories: “The Eleventh Hour” is one of the, if not the absolute, best post-regeneration stories in the show’s run, “Vincent and the Doctor” is a beautiful standalone, as is “The Doctor’s Wife”, notable for finally letting the TARDIS speak, “The Girl Who Waited” explores Amy and Rory in more depth than most Companions ever receive, and “The Day of the Doctor” is a fantastic 50th anniversary special that manages to live up to the hype

Worst Stories: “Victory of the Daleks” starts out fun but ends so preposterously it mars an otherwise solid series five, “Let’s Kill Hitler” bungles River’s introduction and backstory significantly, “The Doctor, the Widow and the Wardrobe” is pretty terrible, a huge comedown after the fantastic “A Christmas Carol”, and “The Curse of the Black Spot” and “Night Terrors” are forgettable at best

Highlights of tenure: The Doctor’s relationship with Amy is fantastic, as is the arc of his friendship with Rory. The payoff of “Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue” is tremendous, as is the whimsy of the world of “The Wedding of River Song”, and the recurring allies of the Eleventh Doctor are all pretty darn fantastic, from the aforementioned Paternoster Gang to Craig to Kate.

Lowlights of tenure: Much of the character development for Amy, Rory, and Clara is mishandled throughout series six and seven, leading to drastic inconsistencies from one story to the next. Also, the Doctor’s increasingly sexually predatory relationship with Clara is disturbing, particularly because the show seems unaware of it as well as the power inequality between the two characters, the Doctor’s lack of respect for Clara, and his manipulations of her so she’ll forget particular details that might prompt her to stop traveling with him.

Regeneration/First Words: The Tenth Doctor dies from radiation poisoning and, having held back his regeneration too long to allow himself a chance to say goodbye to his Companions, he bursts into a particularly violent and destructive regeneration. The Eleventh Doctor’s first words are, “Legs! I’ve still got legs!! Good. Arms, hands. Ooh, fingers. Lots of fingers. Ears? Yes. Eyes: two. Nose… eh, I’ve had worse. Chin – blimey! Hair… I’m a girl! No! No! I’m not a girl! And still not ginger! There’s something else. Something… important, I’m… I’m-I’m… Ha-ha! Crashing! Geronimo!!

Death/Final Words: The Doctor’s death remains a mystery- we’ll supposedly find out in the upcoming 2013 Christmas special

Memorable quotes:

– “Hello. I’m the Doctor. Basically…run.”  “The Eleventh Hour”

– “The way I see it, every life is a pile of good things and bad things. The good things don’t always soften the bad things, but vice versa, the bad things don’t necessarily spoil the good things or make them unimportant.”  “Vincent and the Doctor”

– [re: Abigail] “Nobody important? Blimey, that’s amazing. You know that in nine hundred years of time and space and I’ve never met anybody who wasn’t important before.”  “A Christmas Carol”

Amy: “Then why do you keep coming back for us?”
The Doctor: “Because you were the first. The first face this face saw. And you’re seared onto my hearts, Amelia Pond. You always will be. I’m running to you and Rory before you fade from me.”  “The Power of Three”

Other notes: At 26, Matt Smith was the youngest Doctor to be cast in the show’s run, beating out previous youngest Doctor Peter Davison, who was 29.


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