Three full seasons and some specials - Matt Smith looks like he might be matching his predecessor David Tennant's track record with a report today that the actor will be departing "Doctor Who" this Christmas.
The Sun says that the 2013 Christmas special will be Smith's final outing as The Doctor, during which he will regenerate into the twelfth incarnation of the Time Lord.
Smith's contract is said to expire in November and Smith reportedly doesn’t want it renewed. The paper's source says "Matt has told bosses he wants to bow out at Christmas," and that show bosses already have an idea of who they want to replace him with.
Filming on the 50th Anniversary special is about to get underway ahead of its November airing, while the Christmas special will film later in the year.
Matt refused to commit to a Doctor Who future beyond Christmas when interviewed on Jonathan Ross last week - "I am very happy doing it. I do the anniversary special, then the Christmas special. At the moment it’s 2013 and we will see what 2014 holds."
The BBC has already responded to the news, saying in a statement that nothing is certain yet: "Sorry folks but even we don’t know what’s going to happen at Christmas. It’s not been written yet! But Matt loves the show and is to start filming the unmissable 50th anniversary, and the new series starting on Easter Saturday."
Take all this with a grain of salt as - it is The Sun. Six months ago, the same paper reported that show runner Steven Moffat had convinced Smith to stay on for an eighth season. That said, the British papers do hit the 'Who' rumors spot on every now and then - so one can't quite immediately dismiss this.
Nevertheless, this has opened the floodgates to the guessing games regarding who will replace Smith who came onboard the series in 2010. While Smith's first season (the show's fifth since the revival) was met with strong acclaim, the subsequent episodes have met a more mixed response amongst fandom - even as the show finally cracked the American market in a way it hadn't before.
Source: The Sun