As announced in late October, David Tennant is leaving Doctor Who — but that doesn’t mean it’s the end for the time- and space-hopping British sci-fi series. Tennant was the 10th actor to play the role of the Doctor — who has the ability to “regenerate” his body when mortally wounded.
Tennant (pictured at right) 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,” he told the BBC. The show’s fifth season was pushed back to 2010, replaced by a series of specials at 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 also have a new executive producer, Steven Moffat.
When the Doctor regenerates, 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 call 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 (pictured at left), 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 — but really, the speculation has been all over the place. The identity of the lucky actor will be revealed in a special Saturday episode of the behind-the-scenes series Doctor Who Confidential, appropriately titled “The Eleventh Doctor,” which will feature the actor concerned giving his (or her) thoughts on having been cast.