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The BBC has announced that Matt Smith will be leaving the network’s long-running hit sci-fi show, Doctor Who, later this year. In the show’s history, Smith played the 11th incarnation of the time-traveling Doctor, and he has been hailed as one of the more enjoyable actors to take on the role. For those unaware, it’s common practice for the show to replace its lead on a regular basis. A statement on The BBC website broke down Smith's departure:

Matt first stepped into the TARDIS in 2010 and will leave the role at the end of this year after starring in the unmissable 50th Anniversary in November and regenerating in the Christmas special. During his time as the Doctor, Matt has reached over 30 million unique UK viewers and his incarnation has seen the show go truly global. He was also the first actor to be nominated for a BAFTA in the role.

Smith was the third actor to take on the role since the show returned in 2005, so it’s evident that no Doctor has a long shelf life. Now fans of the show will again have to endure endless rumors of who will take over the beloved role of the mysterious Doctor. We’ll have more information on who might land the part when the BBC makes an official announcement. Until then, fans should enjoy Smith while he lasts.

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[via The BBC]