Matt Smith has announced he will leave Doctor Who at the end of this year (2013).
The British actor has played the starring role for four years and viewers will see his Doctor regenerate during the 2013 Christmas specials, the BBC has confirmed.
Speaking about his decision to quite the long-running sci-fi series, the 30-year-old actor said: “Doctor Who has been the most brilliant experience for me as an actor and a bloke, and that largely is down to the cast, crew and fans of the show.
“I’m incredibly grateful to all the cast and crew who work tirelessly every day, to realise all the elements of the show and deliver Doctor Who to the audience. Many of them have become good friends and I’m incredibly proud of what we have achieved over the last four years.”
Smith also thanked executive producer and show writer Steven Moffat for his “varied, funny, mind bending and brilliant scripts”.
Steven Moffat said: “Every day, on every episode, in every set of rushes, Matt Smith surprised me. The way he’d turn a line, or spin on his heels, or make something funny, or out of nowhere make me cry – I just never knew what was coming next.
“The Doctor can be clown and hero – often at the same time – and Matt rose to both challenges magnificently. And even better than that, given the pressures of this extraordinary show, he is one of the nicest and hardest-working people I have ever had the privilege of knowing. Whatever we threw at him – sometimes literally – his behaviour was always worthy of the Doctor.”
Matt Smith first appeared as the 11th Doctor in the New Year’s Day episode in 2010, replacing David Tennant in the role. He was the youngest ever Doctor and only actor to be nominated for a BAFTA playing the character.
The BBC have said Smith’s “spectacular exit” is yet to be revealed but added that it would be “kept tightly under wraps”. A search for a new Doctor has begun.