Matt Smith - Eleven Reasons He Rocked

To mark the fall of the Eleventh, SFX brings you eleven compelling reasons why we’ll miss this madman in a box. Goodbye, raggedy man!

THAT FACE

And what a face. Genetically engineered for internet GIF culture, a simple tilt of the head could transform it from hall of mirrors oddness to matinee idol handsomeness, boyish innocence to something immeasurably ancient. In this age of TOWIE blandroids it was an infinitely watchable reminder that what the camera loves most is a fascinating phizog.

THE ELEVENTH HOUR

He claimed he was still cooking, but we knew we were in safe hands the moment that huge, daft head poked out of a crashed TARDIS and enquired “Can I have an apple?” The most confident, charismatic, instantly winning entrance by a Doctor since Tom Baker first popped his mad old eyeballs in 1974. Fish fingers and custard simply sealed the deal.

HIS PHYSICALITY

Turning on a Gallifreyan sixpence from the subtlest facial tic to headbutting James Corden, Matt Smith was the most physically accomplished actor ever to take the title role. If he’d been born a century earlier he would have ruled silent cinema.

THAT HAIR

There’s a reason we’ll never see Jason Statham as the Doctor.

HIS WAY WITH KIDS

From Amelia Pond on, the Eleventh Doctor always had a magical bond with kids. Reassuring, empathic, the man in the bow-tie who beat the bogeymen. He kept everyone safe, like a light left on in the universe when all the children are asleep.

THE JAMMIE DODGER GAMBIT

Ah, that glorious moment in “Victory Of The Daleks”, confronting the might of Skaro with a single Jammie Dodger. Claiming the tactical advantage of shortbread and raspberry filling was a mad, mighty bluff - pure distillation of Doctor.

OFF-DUTY DOCTOR

Beyond the screen, Matt Smith was the perfect ambassador: unflaggingly friendly and enthusiastic every time we spoke to him. We’ll miss such inimitable quotes as “There’s no other job in the world where you get to walk into a room like you’re a piece of velvet.”

HIS DANCING

We’re still laughing at that demented boogie he performed at Amy and Rory’s wedding night bash. Moving like an aroused asparagus in a tailcoat, he redefined the very artform of dad dancing.

HIS HOPELESS WAY WITH THE LADIES

You always sensed Eccleston could take you savagely over the TARDIS console. Tennant was a cheeky cosmic studmuffin. Matt, meanwhile, played the Doctor as a 1000 year old innocent, reacting to each kiss as though he’d just been roped into some particularly perplexing experiment in the love lab.

“MARILYN! GET YOUR COAT”

Then again, he did pull Marilyn Monroe in “A Christmas Carol.” Respect.

HIS PERFORMANCE

So many dazzling gear changes, from tenderness to rage, tears to screwball zaniness. A tweed-clad, big booted acting masterclass, as brilliant with the funny as he was with the heartbreaking. Follow that, Mr Capaldi... and we bet you will.

Nick Setchfield