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article imageMatt Smith to leave Doctor Who

By Mathew Wace Peck     Jun 2, 2013 in Entertainment
Matt Smith is to leave Doctor Who at the end of 2013, the BBC has confirmed. He will have played the Eleventh Doctor for four years.
Smith’s Doctor will regenerate in the as-yet-unnamed 2013 Christmas special, which will mark the end of the 50th anniversary year for what is the longest-running science-fiction television drama.
Before then, though, a special episode to mark the anniversary will be shown on Saturday, 23 November – exactly 50 years to the day after Doctor Who was first broadcast.
Thirty-year-old Smith – who in 2009, at 26, was the youngest actor to be cast in the role – tells BBC News that working on the show has been “the most brilliant experience”.
It’s expected that Smith will make what the BBC are calling a “spectacular exit”, but that’s being kept tightly under wraps by the corporation.
Smith made his first appearance as the Eleventh Doctor during the New Year’s Day episode of 2010 – The End of Time Part Two. He took over from Tenth Doctor David Tennant (Broadchurch, The Politician’s Husband).
“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,” he says.
“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.”
He has particular praise for showrunner Steven Moffat, who took over the reins from Russell T. Davies.
“Having Steven Moffat as showrunner write such varied, funny, mind-bending and brilliant scripts has been one of the greatest and most rewarding challenges of my career,” says Smith “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.”
Earlier this year, as reported by Digital Journal, claims were made that Smith would be leaving Doctor Who this year, and that Moffat had already chosen Smith’s successor. However, at the time, the BBC denied this.
Moffat tells the BBC: “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.”
The Twelve Doctors
To date, there have been 12 actors playing the Doctor in the TV series, including John Hurt, who was introduced in the finale – The Name of the Doctor – of the most recent series. However, where Hurt’s Doctor fits into official canon is being widely speculated on by fans and Who aficionados.
That will be answered in the upcoming 50th-anniversary special, which will see Smith, Tenant and Hurt together as the Doctor.
The eleven official doctors so far have been:
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)
The anniversary special, written by Steven Moffat, was filmed a few weeks ago, prior to Smith’s going to Hollywood to film Ryan Gosling’s directorial debut movie How to Catch a Monster. Smith is expected to return to the UK to film his Doctor Who swansong in the autumn.
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