The BBC announced this weekend that Matt Smith, the 11th actor to portray the Doctor in the long-running Doctor Who series, will be leaving the show at the end of the year. Smith's Doctor will appear in the show's 50th anniversary special in November, and will regenerate in this year's Christmas day special.
"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," said Smith. "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.
"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."
Smith's Bow tie-wearing Doctor debuted in 2010, taking over for popular actor David Tennant. Smith's time on the show has been marked by the continued growth of the show's popularity. He received a BAFTA Award nomination for his work as the Doctor in 2011.
"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," said Steven Moffat, lead writer on Doctor Who. "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."