BBC have announced Matt Smith's departure will take place after he appears in the 50th anniversary and the 2013 Christmas special.
Smith first stepped
into the TARDIS in 2010. Steven Moffat, lead writer and executive
producer on "Doctor Who," praised Smith's work on the long-running
"[G]reat 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," he said.
"Of course, this isn't the end of the story, because now the search
begins. Somewhere out there right now -- all unknowing, just going about
their business -- is someone who's about to become the Doctor. A life
is going to change, and 'Doctor Who' will be born all over again! After
50 years, that's still so exciting!"
“I am very happy doing it. I go and I do the anniversary special, then I
go away for a bit. Then I come back and I do the Christmas special.
It's sort of one of those jobs that you have to take year by year really
because it's 10 months a year. It's all-consuming so I don't think you
can plan five, six years ahead or even two years ahead," Smith said on
Jonathan Ross’s show in March 2013. "At the moment, it’s 2013 and we
will see what 2014 holds."
Now, it's official. Smith said "Doctor Who" was "the most brilliant
experience" thanks to the cast, crew and fans. "I'm incredibly grateful
to all the cast and crew who work tirelessly every day, to realize 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.
"Having Steven Moffat as showrunner write such varied, funny,
mind-bending and brilliant scripts has been one of the greatest and most
rewarding challenges of my career," Smith continued in a statement.
"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."
Smith praised the fans of "Doctor Who" for being "unlike any other" for their dedication to the series.