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Matt Smith to leave Doctor Who at the end of this year

Matt Smith's tenure is up as the eleventh Doctor, but he'll be back for a Christmas special and 50th anniversary spectacular.

After four years in the role, Matt Smith will leave Doctor Who, the BBC has announced.

Smith will hang up his Sonic Screwdriver at the end of the year. But he's bowing out in style. He'll star in a 50th anniversary spectacular in November, and will regenerate in the Christmas special.

Smith is the eleventh actor to play the Time Lord. He's the youngest actor to ever take on the role in the British series, and was the first to ever be nominated for a Bafta in the part. As the Doctor, Smith won Most Popular Male Drama Performance in the National Television Awards in 2012.

"Doctor Who has been the most brilliant experience for me as an actor and a bloke, and that is largely down to the cast, crew and fans of the show," Smith said in a statement. "I'm incredibly grateful to all the cast and crew who work tirelessly every day, to realise 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.

"It's been an honour to play this part, to follow the legacy of brilliant actors, and helm the Tardis for a spell with 'the ginger, the nose and the impossible one'. But when ya gotta go, ya gotta go and Trenzalore calls. Thank you guys. Matt."

Exactly how Smith leaves is being kept tightly under wraps, but he will be back for the 50th anniversary special on 23 November.

Matt's Doctor has battled some arch nemeses in his time, but he's also had to duke it out with some troublesome tech, including Wi-Fi signals that try to take over the world. But then that's nothing new for the Doctor, who's previously battled a Bluetooth headset that turns people into Cybermen, and sat-navs that threatened to poison the world's atmosphere. Sheesh. And I thought my dodgy phone reception was a problem.

Who should replace Matt Smith? And who's your favourite Doctor? Let me know in the comments, or on Facebook.