Matt Smith is done traveling as Doctor Who after starring on the British series for four years. BBC announced the actor's departure on its official blog, saying that Smith "will leave the role at the end of this year after starring in the unmissable 50th Anniversary in November and regenerating in the Christmas special."
The 30-year-old who earned a BAFTA nomination for his role on the popular sci-fi show stated, "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... Many of them have become good friends and I'm incredibly proud of what we have achieved over the last four years."
He went on crediting showrunner Steven Moffat and the show fans, before concluding his statement with, "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."
Moffat, in return, praised Smith as "one of the nicest and hardest-working people I have ever had the privilege of knowing." He added, "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."
Co-star Jenna Coleman chimed in, "I totally lucked-out in having a creative, generous, clever, and lovely fella to work alongside day after day. I feel so privileged to have been part of Matt's reign, to have to been companion to what is and what I think always will be one of our greatest Doctors." She additionally admitted that Smith's exit "will be a very difficult goodbye for me."
Speculations have since floated around about who's best to replace Smith as the Doctor in the recently greenlit season 8. Report says the role may go to a black actor for the first time, with Idris Elba, "Homeland" actor David Harewood and former rapper Ashley Walters among those mentioned. Other names proposed as the possible 12th Doctor are Helen Mirren and John Hurt.
The 50th anniversary "Doctor Who" 3D special will air November 23. Former cast members David Tennant and Billie Piper will star in the special along with John Hurt, Jemma Redgrave and Joanna Page.