Doctor Who's Matt Smith set to leave the series by the end of the year

By James Dohnert , Updated Jun 02, 2013 05:07 PM EDT

Matt Smith is set to leave Doctor Who. The BBC reports that the eleventh Doctor will leave the show after this year's Christmas Special. Smith will be featured in the next two Doctor Who specials before signing off from the long running program.

Smith says he was honored to work for the series. In a written statement on the show's blog he says he enjoyed his time as the Doctor and will be leaving the show on a positive note.

"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 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," Smith wrote.

The soon-to-be former Doctor also gave a shout out to the series fans in his statement. He says he deeply appreciated the rabid fan's support during his time with the series. Doctor Who fans are known for their cosplay efforts and yearly conventions in support of the series.

"The fans of Doctor Who around the world are unlike any other; they dress up, shout louder, know more about the history of the show (and speculate more about the future of the show) in a way that I've never seen before, your dedication is truly remarkable," continues Smith.

"Thank you so very much for supporting my incarnation of the Time Lord, number Eleven, who I might add is not done yet, I'm back for the 50th anniversary and the Christmas special!"

Doctor Who's showrunner writes that he is sad to see Smith leave the show. Steven Moffat says he was consistently surprised by Smith's ability to embody the time traveling Timelord. He believes that Smith was able to show both the Doctor's funny and dramatic sides in equal measure.

"The Doctor can be clown and hero, often at the same time, and Matt rose to both challenges magnificently. And even better than that, given the pressures of this extraordinary show, he is one of the nicest and hardest-working people I have ever had the privilege of knowing. Whatever we threw at him - sometimes literally - his behavior was always worthy of the Doctor," says Smith.

Smith joined the show for its fifth season in 2010. He joined an all new cast and crew for the season. Smith led a cast which included Karen Gillian and Arthur Darvill. The team headlined the show for three seasons. News of Smith's departure comes following his most reason run as the character during Doctor Who season seven.

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