2013 is not only the 50th Anniversary of the popular television show "Doctor Who", its also the final year that Matt Smith will play the thousand-year-old Time Lord.  In a statement from the BBC yesterday, it was confirmed that Matt Smith's Doctor will regenerate into the next Doctor during this year's Christmas special following the 50th Anniversary Special in November.

Taking over the role from David Tennant in 2010, Matt Smith has been immensely popular with fans of the long-time series, often being the other side of the debate, "Whose the better Doctor?  Tennant or Smith?"    During his time in the TARDIS, viewership of "Doctor Who" hit 30 million viewers in the UK, and Smith became the first actor to receive a BAFTA nomination for playing the role.  Of leaving the role, Smith 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 of them have become good friends and I'm incredibly proud of what we have achieved over the last four years.


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.

("The ginger, the nose and the impossible one" refer to the traveling companions of Smith's Doctor, and "Trenzalore" is the foretold location of the fall of this Doctor.)

With this announcement, speculation is running rampant on who will play the role next.  When a Time Lord's body is dying, the Time Lord regenerates into a new body and a new personality.  The current season's finale ended on a surprise with veteran actor John Hurt ("Harry Potter and Sorcerer's Stone" & "Alien") being introduced as "The Doctor", but which one?  Current speculation is that Hurt will play a previously unknown incarnation of the Doctor that took place between the TV movie and the restart of the series 7 seasons ago.  Hurt's Doctor is already slated to appear in the 50th Anniversary special in November, going up against the duo of Smith's Doctor and the returning David Tennant's Doctor.  Academy Award winning actress Helen Mirren has already expressed a desire to be the first woman to play the Doctor, though the previous pattern has been to cast younger actors in the role.

A running plot point of the series has been that a Time Lord can only regenerate a dozen times.  With the possible revelation that Hurt was the true 9th Doctor, making Smith's 11th Doctor truly number 12, there's a possibility that the next incarnation of the Doctor could be the last.  And with more than 77 million viewers across Australia, the UK, and America, its no doubt that the changeover to the next Doctor will be a major television event.

via BBC


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