Matt Smith has reconsidered his decision to remain on Doctor Who and the BBC has announced that he will, in fact, be leaving the show this season.
Even a Time Lord can change his mind. There has been an awful lot of speculation about whether Matt Smith—who plays the current incarnation of the ever-popular sci-fi hero known as the Doctor—would be quitting the role. Recently, Smith had said he'd officially signed on for season eight of Doctor Who. However, it turns out that either the actor has had a change of heart, or the announcement was premature, because Smith has now announced that he is leaving Doctor Who after filming the upcoming 2013 Christmas special.
The BBC Press announcement said, "The BBC is today announcing that Matt Smith is to leave Doctor Who after four incredible years on the hit BBC One show. Matt first stepped into the TARDIS in 2010 and will leave the role at the end of this year after starring in the unmissable 50th Anniversary in November and regenerating in the Christmas special."
Smith, 28, said, "It has been an honour to play the part. 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."
However, speaking of new regenerations of the Doctor, the last episode of season seven, titled “the Name of the Doctor”, ended on a strange cliffhanger, when John Hurt appeared, and the on-screen text-graphics proclaimed “Introducing John Hurt…as the Doctor!” Since then, fans have been wondering what this foreshadows.
This mysterious new manifestation of the Doctor is described as the one who “broke the promise” of helping people. What do we make of all this? Is he actually the next Doctor? Is John Hurt’s character a ‘lost’ regeneration of the Doctor, previously unknown to us? Is he an older version of the Eighth Doctor (we never saw him regenerate) who fought in the Time War and destroyed his own people? Is he the manifestation of the Doctor’s evil side known as the Valeyard, introduced back in the classic series, in the Sixth Doctor story “Trial of a Time Lord”? Is he a future regeneration who the current Doctor met during his time travels? Or is he something completely different? We’ll have to wait until November to find out, when the 90 minute, 3-D 50th anniversary special airs. The special will co-star David Tennant as the Tenth Doctor, and Billie Piper as his companion Rose. It will be Matt Smith's second-to-last appearance. (The Christmas special will be the last)
Until then, let the speculation about the nature of John Hurt’s hitherto unknown Doctor commence. And if Hurt isn't the next Doctor, then let the speculation begin on who the 12th Doctor will be.