They say you never forget your first. I was rather late to the game, it didn’t happen until my second year at university. He was wearing a bowtie, he had a sonic screw-driver, and he was surrounded by Weeping Angels. Matt Smith came into my life and I knew that he’d always be my Doctor.
As an American, it was hard at first to understand just how much Doctor Who is embedded into the fabric of Great Britain. The Doctor, his companions, his enemies – they have all been a visible part of society for 50 years. Even those who aren’t avid fans have seen episodes, know who’s who and understand the basic premise (things can get pretty complicated at times). Slews of celebrities have been on the show from Ian McKellen to Kylie Minogue and after the 2007 Christmas special, Prince Charles even said he’d have had a cameo if asked.
The show is decidedly British in a way that brings the country together, and its longevity unites generations around the television, especially with the yearly Christmas episodes. Matt Smith has raised the show’s profile, using his quirky charm to entice viewers across the world. He’s even become something of a style icon – “bowties are cool,” especially with suspenders – something surprising for a sci-fi show. After becoming the Doctor in 2009, Smith will be bowing out this Christmas. While the 12th reincarnation, played by Peter Capaldi, offers all the excitement of the unknown, I can hardly bear the thought of saying goodbye to my Doctor.
Doctor Who has become what it is by its ability to reinvent itself with every regeneration (new actor), but it doesn’t mean the change is easy. Fans are incredibly loyal to the show but we all have our favorite, our first, our Doctor.