It’s official, Doctor Who fans: David Tennant will leave the British sci-fi series following a set of TV specials next year.
“I think it’s better to go when there’s a chance that people might miss you, rather than to hang around and outstay your welcome,” Tennant told the BBC.
The show’s fifth season was pushed back to 2010, replaced with a series of specials at Christmas, Easter and three other unannounced dates, to allow Tennant to do stage work, like a recent successful run of Hamlet with the Royal Shakespeare Company. When the show returns to a weekly run after the specials it will have a new executive producer, Steven Moffat — and now a new star as well.
This is possible because the character is a Time Lord, an alien who has the ability to “regenerate” when mortally wounded. His appearance and personality are changed, but at his core he always remains a wanderer and unlikely hero who saves Earth, and the universe, from unimaginable threats.
With assorted companions — usually from Earth — the Doctor rattles around in his trusty TARDIS, a spaceship and time machine disguised as a British police box.
Tennant took over the role from Christopher Eccleston, who left after only one season when the show returned from a 16-year break in 2005. Going backwards, the role has also been held by Paul McGann, Sylvester McCoy, Colin Baker, Peter Davison, Tom Baker (no relation), Jon Pertwee, Patrick Troughton and William Hartnell.
Paterson Joseph, who appeared in the BBC’s production of Jekyll, has for some time been hotly rumored to be in consideration to step into Tennant’s shoes.