The verdict on Matt Smith as the new Doctor Who
Dispatches from the sofa with Brian Donaldson
He might have a name that suggests boy band membership and a tweed/bow-tie look that screamed late 70s geography teacher, but judging by the wave of acclaim which has greeted his Timelord debut, Matt Smith could have gotten away with being clad in a Gimp outfit and speaking his lines in Norwegian. In the first episode of this all-new eleventh Doctor Who (BBC1, Sat, 6.20pm), Smith got to say relatively flaccid self-reflexive stuff like ‘Trust me, I’m the Doctor’ and ‘The Doctor will see you now’, but Paisley’s Steven Moffat hit the mark better when penning lines such as ‘You’re Scottish, fry something!’ when the Timelord implored the young Amy Pond to help him find his taste buds. The later, grown-up strippergram assistant played splendidly by Inverness’ Karen Gillan was allowed to hit back by dubbing her new ‘boss’ as a ‘mad man with a box’.
At the end of 65 minutes of time-juggling horseplay, the over-riding emotion for Moffat, Smith and the legions of fans desperate for this post-Russell T Davies era not to crashland would surely have been immense relief. Smith has pitched himself accurately as loopy-funny while Gillan’s Pond hit the right notes of fruity-caustic, and while they both run a bit funny, that never harmed Liz McColgan. For those who were raised on Dalek-fighters with white hair and one foot in the grave, all this will be one step beyond. For the modern breed, all week they’ve been Twittering ‘David who?’