Matt Smith to leave after Christmas SpecialBookmark and Share

Saturday, 1 June 2013 - Reported by Chuck Foster
Photo: BBC/Adrian RogersThe BBC have announced that Matt Smith is to relinquish the role of the Doctor at the end of the year, once filming has completed on the Christmas Special.

In a press release, the actor reflected:
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.

Having Steven Moffat as show runner write such varied, funny, mind-bending and brilliant scripts has been one of the greatest and most rewarding challenges of my career. It's been a privilege and a treat to work with Steven, he's a good friend and will continue to shape a brilliant world for the Doctor.

The fans of Doctor Who around the world are unlike any other; they dress up, shout louder, know more about the history of the show (and speculate more about the future of the show) in a way that I've never seen before, your dedication is truly remarkable. Thank you so very much for supporting my incarnation of the Time Lord, number Eleven, who I might add is not done yet, I'm back for the 50th anniversary and the Christmas special!

It's been an honour to play this part, to follow the legacy of brilliant actors, and helm the TARDIS for a spell with 'the ginger, the nose and the impossible one'. But when ya gotta go, ya gotta go and Trenzalore calls. Thank you guys.


Head writer 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.

But great actors always know when it's time for the curtain call, so this Christmas prepare for your hearts to break, as we say goodbye to number Eleven. Thank you Matt - bow ties were never cooler.

Of course, this isn't the end of the story, because now the search begins. Somewhere out there right now - all unknowing, just going about their business - is someone who's about to become the Doctor. A life is going to change, and Doctor Who will be born all over again! After 50 years, that's still so exciting!

Some tributes to Matt's tenure as the Doctor on Twitter include: Nicola Bryant (Peri) - "I'm sad that Matt Smith is leaving. I've loved his Doctor. I wish him and thank him for his time. :)"; Yee Jee Tso (Chang Lee) - "YeeJeeTso for the next Doctor!” Ha! It'd be fun... but I'd never be able to fill those shoes!"; Caitlin Blackwood (Amelia) - "Oh my Gosh. I'm a little upset that Matt smith is leaving doctor who..."; Mark Gatiss (writer) - "Desperately sorry to see Matt Smith go. A truly wonderful Doctor Who, a gifted actor & a lovely man. It's the end. But ( altogether now!)..."; Neil Gaiman (writer) - "thank you, Matt Smith. It was an honour and a delight to write scripts for you: you never did what I expected."; James Moran (writer) - "Anyway. End of an era. Start of a new one. It's why we love the show- laughs, tears, surprises. Also: explosions!"; Gareth Roberts (writer) - "Very sad Matt Smith will depart from Doctor Who. A brilliant actor and a good man."; Nicholas Pegg (actor) - "Matt Smith is a terrific actor, and a lovely, kind, funny, generous, considerate man. Always a pleasure to threaten him with extermination."; Barnaby Edwards (actor) - "Farewell, Matt. You were a joy to work with and a wonder to watch. Thanks for all the good times."; Tom Spilsbury (DWM editor) - "I am very sad to see Matt Smith leave. He has been a brilliant Doctor Who, as well as being a kind and generous man. Thanks from all at DWM."; Edward Russell (brand manager) - "It feels impossible to think that anyone could be as good as Matt. Still, I thought that when David left."

The news will of course generate a lot of media interest, with many of the Sunday newspapers commencing their speculation as to who the next person to play the Doctor will be (with front pages coverage by the Times, Mail and Star). It is also expected that bookmakers will begin offering odds for Smith's replacement imminently!

Lizo Mzimba presented an item on Matt's tenure during BBC One's news bulletin at 10:30pm (available in the UK via the BBC News site), whilst BBC Breakfast is expected to have an item on the news in the morning, with Doctor Who Magazine's editor Tom Spilsbury reporting on Twitter that he will appear on the programme.