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Matt Smith leaving Doctor Who

British actor Matt Smith is set to retire as the Time Lord after announcing he will leave Doctor Who at the end of the year (13).

The 30 year old took over the iconic role from David Tennant in 2010, but will bow out in the 2013 Christmas special, when fans will see the time-traveling doctor regenerate into a new person.

His departure will follow the cult sci-fi show's 50th anniversary special in November (13).

A statement from Smith reads, "Doctor Who has been the most brilliant experience for me as an actor and a bloke (guy), 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.

"Your dedication is truly remarkable. Thank you so very much for supporting my incarnation of the Time Lord, number 11, who I might add is not done yet - I'm back for the 50th anniversary and the Christmas special... But when ya gotta go, ya gotta go..."

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