The BBC has announced that the latest lead of Doctor Who will hang up his time traveling hat by the end of the year, after playing the Doctor for four years. Smith is the eleventh actor to play the role, most recently following David Tennant and Christopher Eccleston. And while Who's doctor is born again every few years, his companion is swapped even more frequently: Amy Pond (Karen Gillan), Rory Williams (Arthur Darvill), and Clara Oswald (Jenna Coleman) all joined Smith during his tenure. "It's been an honor to play this part, to follow the legacy of brilliant actors, and helm the TARDIS for a spell," Smith said. "But when ya gotta go, ya gotta go, and Trenzalore calls."
"Great actors always known when it's time for the curtain call," said Doctor Who producer Steven Moffat, "so this Christmas prepare for your hearts to break, as we say goodbye to number eleven." Smith's departure was rumored to happen following the 50th anniversary episode, slated to air on Saturday, November 23rd, but the BBC hasn't yet confirmed if his appearance in that episode will be his last.