MATT Smith is leaving Doctor Who and will bow out in the Christmas special, when he will be replaced by a new incarnation of the Time Lord.
Smith, who has been in the role since 2010, said it had been “an honour” to play the part.
He said: “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 have become good friends, and I’m proud of what we have achieved over the last four years.”
He also paid tribute to Scottish show supremo Steven Moffat, whose “varied, funny, mindbending and brilliant scripts has been one of the greatest and most rewarding challenges of my career”.
Smith said: “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 11, who I might add is not done yet. I’m back for the 50th anniversary and the Christmas special.”
Smith, who recently made his directorial debut, has spoken about ambitions for a film-making career. The search is on for his replacement as the Doctor.