The Thursday issue of the Sun is reporting that David Tennant is to quit the title role of Doctor Who midway through the fourth series. The story is headlined on the front page (see right) with the article on page five (see quote box below).
It is worth stressing that, so far, this story is unconfirmed, and Tennant and the production team are still working on the forthcoming third series. A fourth series is yet to be officially commissioned by the BBC, but assuming it goes ahead, it wouldn't be due to hit our screens until Spring 2008 and would mark Tennant's third season in the role. Tennant's first complete story was in the Christmas special 2005.
Update: In an unhelpful move, BBC Radio One have managed to mis-report the story in the Sun this morning, with news summaries during their breakfast programme quoting a newspaper as saying that Tennant will leave "during the next series". Naturally, many listeners may assume this is referring to the forthcoming third series yet to begin broadcasting. However, this is still quoting the tabloid, even if it is a mis-quote, and does not validate the story. The Metro is also quoting The Sun's report, offering no additional information.
(Humorous footnote: There may not be any official confirmation or denial about the story as yet, but there is a "News In Briefs" comment by Thursday's page three model - Katie, 22, from Liverpool - who is reported to be "gutted" that Tennant was supposed to be leaving. She is quoted as saying: "He was brilliant in the show and it won't be the same without him. Not only was he a great actor - but I could swoon over him as well!" Additional reporting by John Bowman)
DR Who star David Tennant is to quit the show - leaving BBC bosses looking for their 11th Timelord, The Sun can reveal.
David, 35, will leave in the middle of the fourth series.
The Scot is still filming the third series of the sci-fi favourite, which is set to be shown in the spring.
He has told the Beeb he will return the following year — but will not do the entire nine-month shoot. David has been bombarded with film offers after appearing in the last Harry Potter movie.
Producers are keen to get another Scot, Trainspotting star Robert Carlyle, 45, to step in.
They are also talking to David Morrisey, who was in BBC drama Blackpool with Tennant, as well as in Basic Instinct 2.
Tennant became Dr Who when Christopher Eccleston quit after one series. David stars with newcomer Freema Agyeman in the third series. She replaces Billie Piper, who left this year.
David refused to deny he was quitting when asked earlier this month, insisting he was "non-committal" about his plans.
He joked: "From the moment I accepted this job, everyone said, 'When are you leaving?' A boy could get a complex!" A Dr Who spokesman declined to comment.