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Matt Smith is to leave his role in Doctor Who at the end of this year

Matt Smith is to leave his role in Doctor Who at the end of this year

Matt Smith is to leave his role in Doctor Who at the end of this year, the BBC has announced.

After four years as the Time Lord on Doctor Who, viewers will see Matt Smith’s Doctor regenerate in the 2013 Christmas special.

Matt Smith, 30, said working on the show had been “the most brilliant experience”.

Doctor Who marks its 50th anniversary in November with a special episode, which Matt Smith has already filmed.

Matt Smith’s “spectacular exit” was yet to be revealed and would be “kept tightly under wraps”.

He first stepped into the Tardis as the 11th Doctor in 2010. Taking over from David Tennant, he was the youngest actor to play the role of the Doctor.

Speaking after the announcement, Matt Smith said he was “incredibly proud” of what the show had achieved over the last four years under Steven Moffat, the show’s lead writer and executive producer.

Matt Smith also thanked fans around the world for their “truly remarkable” dedication to the show.

During his tenure, Matt Smith’s floppy-haired, bow tie-wearing Time Lord has fought enemies such as the Daleks, Cybermen, Weeping Angels and the Silence.

His Doctor has shared his adventures with Amy Pond (Karen Gillan), Rory Williams (Arthur Darvill) and most recently, Clara Oswald (Jenna-Louise Coleman).

Referring to his time-travelling companions, Matt Smith said: “It’s been an honor 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…”

Show runner 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 behavior was always worthy of the Doctor.”

Steven Moffat added: “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 11. Thank you Matt – bow ties were never cooler.”

The announcement of Matt Smith’s exit is likely to spark months of fevered speculation about his replacement.

“Somewhere out there right now – all unknowing, just going about their business – is someone who’s about to become the Doctor,” Steven Moffat hinted.

“A life is going to change, and Doctor Who will be born all over again. After 50 years, that’s still so exciting.”

Matt Smith’s first adventure in April 2010, the Eleventh Hour, saw his newly-regenerated Doctor crash his Tardis into the garden of a young Scottish girl who was later to become his new companion – Amy Pond.

In his most recent adventure, the Name of the Doctor – which aired two weeks ago – Matt Smith’s Time Lord visited his own grave on the planet Trenzalore.

In 2011, Matt Smith became the first actor to be nominated for a BAFTA in the role.

And he won the most popular male drama performance award at the National Television Awards in 2012.

Born in Northampton in 1982, Matt Smith studied drama and creative writing at the University of East Anglia.

He made his TV debut in the 2006 adaptation of Philip Pullman’s the Ruby in the Smoke, which starred former Doctor Who companion Billie Piper.

Matt Smith’s stage work has included stints with theatre companies such as the Royal Court and National Theatre. His West End debut was in Swimming With Sharks opposite Christian Slater.

During his time in Doctor Who, Matt Smith also appeared in TV films Christopher and His Kind, in which he played novelist Christopher Isherwood, and in Olympic rowing drama Bert and Dickie.


Doctor Who: The 11 Doctors

1. William Hartnell (1963-1966)

2. Patrick Troughton (1966-1969)

3. Jon Pertwee (1970-1974)

4. Tom Baker (1974-1981)

5. Peter Davison – pictured (1982-1984)

6. Colin Baker (1984-1986)

7. Sylvester McCoy (1987-1996)

8. Paul McGann (1996)

9. Christopher Eccleston (2005)

10. David Tennant (2005-2010)

11. Matt Smith (2010 – 2013)

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Doctor Who fans in the US are being urged to keep the plot of Saturday’s finale secret after DVDs of the series were sent out early in error.

It appears “a small number” of fans had been sent pre-ordered DVDs three weeks early.

The show’s producers asked those with the DVD not to reveal plot details which would ruin the “viewing pleasure” of others.

They promised footage of current Doctor Matt Smith with predecessor David Tennant “if everyone keeps the secret”.

“A small number of US Doctor Who fans have received their series seven part two DVD three weeks early,” BBC Worldwide said in a statement.

“We are asking fans who may have the discs not to divulge plot details so that fellow fans who have yet to see the episodes do not have their viewing pleasure ruined.”

The statement said BBC Worldwide was “currently investigating how this has happened”.

Doctor Who fans in the US are being urged to keep the plot of Saturday's finale secret after DVDs of the series were sent out early in error

Doctor Who fans in the US are being urged to keep the plot of Saturday’s finale secret after DVDs of the series were sent out early in error

It added executive producer and lead writer Steven Moffat had promised the special video featuring Matt Smith and David Tennant if the secret was kept.

Saturday’s episode of the BBC One show, The Name of the Doctor – written by Steven Moffat – comes ahead of a 50th anniversary 3D special, due to air on November 23.

David Tennant and Billie Piper, who played his on-screen companion Rose Tyler, are among those who will guest star.

David Tennant starred in Doctor Who from 2005 to 2010, while Billie Piper first appeared in 2005 opposite Christopher Eccleston, who played the ninth Doctor.

In May 2011, Steven Moffat criticized those “who call themselves fans” who revealed crucial plot lines ahead of transmission.

“You can imagine how much I hate them,” he told BBC Radio 5 live.

“I wish they could go and be fans of something else.”

He said it was “heartbreaking” when a fan, who had been invited to a press screening but asked not to give away spoilers, had posted the entire plot of two episodes on an internet forum “because you’re trying to tell stories and stories depend on surprise”.

“So to have some twit who came to a press launch, write up a story in the worst, most ham-fisted English you can imagine, and put it on the internet [is heartbreaking].”

The 50th anniversary of Doctor Who was marked at Sunday night’s TV BAFTAs with a video montage while Jenna-Louise Coleman, who plays current assistant Clara Oswald, presented an award.


Doctor Who’s 50th anniversary special will see the return of David Tennant and Billie Piper.

David Tennant was the 10th Doctor and Billie Piper played his on-screen companion Rose Tyler in the show.

Filming on the show, which will also star John Hurt, will start next week.

Doctor Who’s 50th anniversary special will see the return of David Tennant and Billie Piper

Doctor Who’s 50th anniversary special will see the return of David Tennant and Billie Piper

David Tennant’s successor, Matt Smith – also in the special with his new assistant played by Jenna-Louise Coleman – says fans “will not be disappointed” by the 3D show, due to air on November 23.

Billie Piper and David Tennant have long been rumored to be making a return for the special, which is being written by the show’s executive producer and lead writer Steven Moffat.

In January, Billie Piper, appearing on the Graham Norton show, denied she would be appearing.

“I wasn’t asked, no,” she said.

“I think Matt Smith may have said, in passing or in jest, it would be nice.

“I think maybe he said that and then it became something quite different, but no.”

Matt Smith has said the show “manages to pay homage to everything – and look forward”.

“I read it and I clapped at the end. I think it’s hilarious, it’s epic and it’s vast,” he said.

Steven Moffat, meanwhile, has said he took special care to protect the secrets of the story.

“One length I’ve gone to which is a really good security measure – I make sure I don’t get a script, because I will lose it,” he said.

“I forbid people to hand me one. It’s on my computer under lock and key.”

The first story of Doctor Who’s 2013 run, The Bells of Saint John – described by Steven Moffat as a “proper London thriller” – will be screened later.

Viewers will see the Doctor and new companion, Clara, played by Jenna-Louise Coleman, battling an evil entity in the world’s Wi-Fi networks.

Future episodes see the return of the Cybermen and old enemy the Ice Warriors, who last appeared during the Jon Pertwee era in 1974.

The first episode of Doctor Who, An Unearthly Child, starring William Hartnell as the Timelord, was broadcast on November 23, 1963.

As part of the anniversary events, the BBC will also broadcast An Adventure in Space and Time – a one-off drama looking at how the sci-fi show came to be made.

Doctor Who: The Bells of Saint John will air on BBC One at 18:15 GMT on Saturday, March 30.