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Paging a (New) Doctor: David Tennant to Leave "Doctor Who"

If I could travel back in time in the TARDIS and convince David Tennant not to do it, I would.

Sadly that's not the case. David Tennant has announced that he will step down as the Doctor following the four Doctor Who specials planned for 2009 and that he will not be returning for the fifth season of the BBC series planned for 2010.

The news comes as showrunner/executive producer Russell T. Davies and producer Julie Gardner are making to depart the series following the four feature-length specials planned for 2009. (Davies will be replaced by Steven Moffat as the series' head writer/showrunner.)

"When Doctor Who returns in 2010 it won't be with me," said Tennant, upon accepting theoutstanding drama performance prize at the National Television Awards. "Now don't make me cry... I love this part, and I love this show so much that if I don't take a deep breath and move on now I never will, and you'll be wheeling me out of the Tardis in my bath chair."

"What became very difficult was when it was announced that Steven Moffatt was taking over because I'm such a fan of his, he's such a great writer, he's written such amazing stories for me in Doctor Who already," Tennant told the BBC. "The prospect of hanging around for a while and enjoying working with him was sorely tempting and very nearly changed my mind. But 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."

"I've been lucky and honoured to work with David over the past few years - and it's not over yet, the Tenth Doctor still has five spectacular hours left!" said Davies. "After which, I might drop an anvil on his head. Or maybe a piano. A radioactive piano. But we're planning the most enormous and spectacular ending, so keep watching."

Honestly, I'm completely and utterly heartbroken as I thought that Tennant brought an ageless whimsy and humor to the role along with a gravitas that belied his strengths as a stage actor. He'll definitely be missed though Doctor Who as a series will carry on without him, granted with the unique ability to recast its lead character through regeneration. (This was last fully seen--notice I said fully--when Tennant took over for Christopher Eccleston at the end of Season One.)

Still, while I am sure Moffat will find a suitable replacement for the Doctor (you can bet that former Coupling star Jack Davenport will be in the mix), I feel more than a little sad to see this era of Doctor Who come to an end.

Without further ado, let the guessing games begin about who will take over as the Doctor when Moffat comes aboard...

Doctor Who's latest Christmas Special is set to air next month on BBC One.


Anonymous said…
I can't believe this. I really thought that Tennant would end up staying for another year or two in the end. I feel really sad about his decision to leave. I am sure they'll try to cast a fantastic replacement but no one will come close to David.
Oh no! I was really looking forward to seeing what adventures Tennant and Moffat would take us on. I can understand why Tennant would want to move on but, selfishly, I wish he could be the Doctor forever!
Anonymous said…
Such depressing news. I don't see how they can find someone to replace David Tennant.
par3182 said…
i wonder if they'll have trouble casting? it's going to be one brave actor to follow tennant
Anonymous said…
@par3182: I wouldn't want to follow Tennant. He's put the most iconic spin on the Doctor since Baker and will be a tough act to follow. I hope it's not someone trying to imitate David but an actor who puts their own spin on the part.
Anonymous said…
I am absolutely gutted by this news. Please tell me Jason Statham won't be taking over!
Anonymous said…
I guess I am going to be the Renegade here. First I want to say I have enjoyed Tennant as the Doctor,but you can have too much of a good thing. I am looking forward to see who will step into the role next and see what they will do with the character. That to me is part of the fun of Doctor Who.
Unknown said…
I'm devastated. (Well, as devastated as one can be about television.) Mr. Tennant has been, as I believe I've said before, the best Doctor. His performance and the writing that's been done for him and the other characters has affected me like no other in this series.
The CineManiac said…
That's my initial response, I love Tennant and don't want him to ever leave.
But I was upset when he took Eccleston's (my first doctor) spot and quickly grew to love him much more than I ever liked Eccleston. So although I'm not happy about Tennant leaving, I'm excited to see who will take over in a little over a year.
Anonymous said…
So sad! Can't he at least give Moffat one season?? I hope he reconsiders.
Anonymous said…
This is terrible news. I know we should be optimistic about who they cast next but I can't see anyone coming close to David Tennant's performance. I was really hoping that they'd end up making a deal with him for Series 5.

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