'Doctor Who: Time Of The Doctor' Review - Matt Smith Passes Tardis Keys To Peter Capaldi In Tearful Farewell

It was the 800th episode, it was Matt Smith's farewell, so it was right and fitting that Steven Moffat threw the kitchen sink at 'The Time of the Doctor'.

Ever since Smith was bumped unceremoniously from 11th to 13th Doctor, courtesy of that war lord business and 'Captain Grumpy' (John Hurt), his dying die had been cast. And, as a catalogue of a half-century of familiar enemies gathered in Tasha Lem's neon drawing room like a futuristic Agatha Christie plot, it was a case of how, not if, he would meet his untimely, or timely, end. And right on cue, there walked, or wheeled, in… those sociopathic top loaders all but shrieking 'Exterminate'.

Matt Smith channels his inner Gandalf as events take a turn

There were two problems with this. Our knowledge that Mr Capaldi was waiting in the wings meant there wasn't quite the permanent peril associated with Smith's demise that we would have feared otherwise.

And, with all this historic explanation plus a lot of to and fro-ing from Trenzalore, this narrative narrowly avoided erring on the historical side of things, at sizeable cost to the human side of things.

Out with the old (or young)...

It was left to the ever more personable Clara (Jenna Coleman) to keep the Doctor on the sweet and mellow, and a town called Christmas to remind us of how well the Time Lord's adventures can be strung through with fairy lights at this time of year.

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Initially, I feared that, compared with Amy Pond's overwhelming goodbye last year, her Time Lord's farewell didn't quite touch all the buttons, but that was before Smith got hold of an even floppier wig than usual, some grease-paint and cranked into staff-waving, arms-flailing, proper Gandalf mode, and managed to somehow evade the apocalypse.

The Time Lord reunited with his very first friend, but only to say goodbye

And, for the last ten minutes, it was Tardis tears all the way as Matt Smith got to be reunited with his very first friend, bid a final farewell to his best one, and make a knowing, emotional nod to his own actor's part in half a century of proceedings. The show will go on, but for one last time, it was all his.

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