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The BBC announced today that Matt Smith is leaving Doctor Who.

Doctor Who: Matt Smith
Doctor Who © BBC

After four years of starring as The Doctor on the hit BBC program, Matt Smith will be leaving the TARDIS, sonic screwdriver, and Clara at the end of this year, after starring in the 50th Anniversary Doctor Who Special in November and “regenerating in the Christmas Special.”

From the BBC press release:

“During his time as the Doctor… his incarnation has seen the show go truly global. [Smith] was also the first actor to be nominated for a BAFTA in the role.

“Matt quickly won over fans to be voted Best Actor by Readers of Doctor Who Magazine for the 2010 season. He also received a nod for his first series at the National Television Awards, before winning the Most Popular Male Drama Performance award in 2012.

“Matt has played one of the biggest roles in TV with over 77 million fans in the UK, USA and Australia alone!”

Said Matt Smith:

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. Matt.”

Speaking of the show runner, lead writer and executive producer Steven Moffat added:

“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!”

Through the four years of Matt Smith’s portrayal of The Doctor, we’ve met and said farewell to companions Amy Pond (Karen Gillan) and Rory Williams (Arthur Darvill); pondered the mystery of “Impossible Girl” Clara Oswald (Jenna Coleman); and watched him battle all sorts of aliens, monsters and other villains, from dinosaurs on a spaceship to Weeping Angels in New York City to the Great Intelligence at Trenzalore.

We’ve also embraced bow ties (and even fezzes!) as fashion statements, exclaimed “Geronimo!” with glee more often, and tucked in to the Whovian culinary delight of fish fingers and custard.

And soon we’ll have to bid Matt Smith and his eleventh incarnation of The Doctor good-bye.

Say it ain’t so!!!

“Matt’s spectacular exit is yet to be revealed and will be kept tightly under wraps. He will return to BBC One screens in the unmissable 50th anniversary episode on Saturday, 23 November 2013 – TUNE IN!”

Source: BBC

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Matt Smith Leaving Doctor Who
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