Walls Come Time-Travelling Down

So, then, Doctor Emo…

I said, Doctor EMO!

That’s better.

This young fellow, Matt Smith, has just been announced as the next Doctor Who. I’m rather pleased with that. Particularly as the programme introducing him included clips from the drama Party Games, where he was shown singing and dancing to ‘Walls Come Tumbling Down’ by The Style Council.

The least one can expect from a New Doctor Who is an awareness of Paul Weller’s 80s soul-pop combo, frankly. That’s the FIRST thing I look for. In… oh, everything.

Going by the young Mr Smith’s interview, I’d have picked him, too. Young in exterior, but there’s something in his eyes, his body language and style of speaking that’s not only older than his years, but otherworldly with it. More Tom Baker than David Tennant, or even Peter Davison. Multitudes under the skin. Which is what you want.

At first glance, I thought they’d gone with another choice of mine, Jamie Parker. He played Scripps, the Catholic piano-playing pupil in The History Boys, in the original stage cast and in the film. Very much another old mind in a young body, Mr Parker is facially similar to Mr Smith, though without the mad hair:

Hairdo aside, Mr Smith also reminds me of the young Trevor Howard (as does Jamie P):

And also, let’s face it, he looks a little like a singer in an alternative rock band, the type that the Melody Maker used to label ‘Intensely Intense’ in its joke pages. I’m too out of touch to be familiar with the current ‘Emo’ crop of bands, those latest takes on the Chatterton image – the attractive yet angsty young poet figure. But the frontmen of a couple of 90s bands – who shared fans with Orlando  – spring to mind. Patrick Duff from Strangelove:

And Crispin Hunt from The Longpigs:

Add a sprinkling of Helmut Berger in the 1970s Dorian Gray film. How’s this for a Doctor Who costume:

Is it Outer Space? Or just Chelsea in the early 70s?

Actually, why hasn’t anyone written a pre-Dorian Oscar Wilde / Doctor Who crossover story yet?

Wilde: I must say, you have such youthful, boyish beauty, Doctor.

The Doctor: Awfully kind of you. Actually, I’m much older than you think. I just don’t look it.

Wilde: Really? Now there’s an idea…

One thing’s for sure. The 11th Doctor will have no trouble appealing to teens and twentysomethings. They’ll either think:

‘He’s so Intensely Intense with curious hair. I want to be with him.’


‘He’s so Intensely Intense with curious hair. I AM him.’

They’ll be fine. It’s winning the hearts of the under-13s that’s important. It’s a family show, after all, not a teen show. Doctor Who should never become Skins In Space.

He needs to be friendly and kind and fun to be with, across the board. So I hope they play up the ‘funny and cool older brother’ side of him, and let the ‘sulky yet sexy poet’ aspect take care of itself.