Doctor Who and Jesus - 3 - Too young to be a time lord

08/01/09 | Posted by Andrew Wooding

You have to admit, it’s been a momentous few weeks for Doctor Who fans. First, David Tennant announced he was going to step down from the role after filming four specials in early 2009. This announcement was followed by the 2008 Christmas special, featuring guest actor David Morrissey. Would Morrissey be ‘The Next Doctor’ – David Tennant’s successor – or was the episode’s title just a red herring? It turned out the latter was true. Finally, just three days into the new year, the real ‘next Doctor’ was announced: a virtual unknown called Matt Smith, the youngest actor ever to take on the part of the Doctor. Which begs the question, at just 26 years old, is he too young to be our favourite time lord?

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 Doctor number 11 is ... Matt Smith!

Since the 7th Doctor’s era in the late eighties, the Doctor has been portrayed as ‘more than just a time lord’. In recent years he has been called ‘the lonely god’ and he often displays messianic tendencies – the ‘New Earth’ equivalent of the healing of the lepers is just one example that springs to mind. In the same episode, he claimed that there is no moral authority higher than himself.

More than just a time lord, the Doctor is a Lord of Time and Space. He has lived for hundreds of years, he has godlike powers, he can sense so many happenings in the web of time that us mere mortals cannot even begin to perceive. Be honest, can all of this really be contained in the body of a 26 year-old? I’ll be honest and admit that I have my doubts. I started watching in 1969, and I want my Doctor to be old and wise. I’m old enough to be Matt Smith’s father!

So how would I feel if some young thirty-year-old - a woodworker from an obscure town called Nazareth, who was known more for banging together tables and bookshelves than anything else - came to me out of the blue and told me he was God in human form? I think I would struggle – wouldn’t you? If he was a little bit older, maybe, and had a white beard and thought lines on his face, I might not struggle so much … but a thirty-year-old? How can the whole of God, infinity, billions of years of time and space be contained in someone so young? Unbelievable. Yet I can quite happily recite the creed at a Christian meeting that claims all of the above for Jesus.

So, when did Jesus become God in human form? When he was 30? When he died at 33? When he was a teenager? Younger than that? When he was a baby? The Christmas story seems to tell us that he was God in human form right from the word ‘go’. God as a baby?

With that in mind – and going back to more trivial matters – maybe Matt Smith will be fine for the job! As Doctor Who writer Steven Moffat says: ‘The Doctor is a very special part, and it takes a very special actor to play him. You need to be old and young at the same time, a boffin and an action hero, a cheeky schoolboy and the wise old man of the universe.’ Piers Wenger, Head Of Drama, BBC Wales, has added: ‘With two hearts, a ferocious mind and over 900 years of experience behind him, it’s not every 26 year old actor who can take on a role like the Doctor but within moments of meeting Matt he showed the skill and imagination needed to create a Doctor all of his own.’ I look forward to them proving me wrong in my doubts about Doctor number 11.

So, Matt Smith – ideal for the next Doctor, or should they have picked someone older? And Jesus Christ - son of God, or far too young to be the Messiah?

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I am just so relieved that it wasn’t Paterson Joseph because I really don’t think he was right for the role. I trust Steven’s decision because he is a Doctor Who fan as well and if anyone knows what makes a good Doctor then it’s the great Mr Moffatt

Nice comparison here Andrew, a very well thought out article.

#1. By Paul Davidson on January 08, 2009

Paul - any relation to the 5th doctor!?

#2. By ellen on January 08, 2009

I guess we won’t know if he’s any good or not (and how he’s going to play it)until we actually see him in the role, which won’t be for another year (ish)! I haven’t got any objection to his age - wisdom doesn’t necessarily increase exponentially with age! It’ll be sad to see David Tennant go though.

I usually love the episodes but I didn’t like the Christmas special so much. I don’t know if it was just because I find the Cybermen a bit boring or if it was because there seemed a huge gaping hole without Donna. Donna was hands down my favourite assistant. The episode seemed a bit flat without someone for the Doctor to bounce off.

#3. By Jenny on January 09, 2009

no not really at all tis si just one of the truly amazing facts of the Doctor and of jesus as well just have a little faith baby have a little faith and it all works put in the end it all works out in the end a line form Kellys heroes Donald Sutherland said idt just fine so take it to heart and belive it can be and can happen just like it is happening and it will all just be fine witht the time lords and the doctor and with jesus as well trust me i am the Doctor!

#4. By Jay on March 01, 2010

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