This weekend, Whovians read the news that Matt Smith, the fabulous and wonderful Eleventh Doctor, will be regenerating in this year’s Christmas special and leaving the show, making room for a new actor to assume the Doctor’s mantle.

I’m a New Whovian, and while I love much of the classic series immensely (I’m currently watching all of Romana I’s episodes for an essay I’m writing, and I love her!), my first Doctor was the Ninth. I’ve only been through two regenerations that are properly mine, and they were increasingly painful (as much as the death and rebirth of a fictional character can be).

But Eleven was special to me. While it took me several episodes to fall in love with David Tennant’s Ten, I fell in love with Matt Smith instantly. The moment he entered Amelia Pond’s house and started spitting up apple chunks and eating fish fingers and custard in “The Eleventh Hour,” I knew he was the Doctor. His way with children was amazing, he was brilliant, and he carried with him a perfect balance of ancient wisdom and childlike wonder. Matt Smith astounded me numerous times with his performances, and he totally deserved to be the first actor ever nominated for a BAFTA for this role, because honestly, he’s been the most amazing actor at it. He never seemed to treat it like “just good fun.” It was a deep, meaningful role for him, and he treated it with respect. And it showed.

I’m looking forward to the Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Special and the Christmas special. And I’ll be sad to see Smith go.