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David Tennant quits Who

New Doctor for Series 5, Beeb confirms

David Tennant will step down as Doctor Who when he's completed filming on the four special episodes slated to hit the small screen in 2009-2010, the BBC has confirmed.

Tennant will also appear in this year's Who Xmas special - entitled The Next Doctor - before handing over the keys to the Tardis to a new resident for Series 5.

He said: "I've had the most brilliant, bewildering and life changing time working on Doctor Who. I have loved every day of it. It would be very easy to cling on to the Tardis console forever and I fear that if I don't take a deep breath and make the decision to move on now, then I simply never will. You would be prising the Tardis key out of my cold dead hand. This show has been so special to me, I don't want to outstay my welcome.

"This is all a long way off, of course. I'm not quitting, I'm back in Cardiff in January to film four special episodes which will take Doctor Who all the way through 2009. I'm still the Doctor all next year but when the time finally comes I'll be honoured to hand on the best job in the world to the next lucky git - whoever that may be.

"I'd always thought the time to leave would be in conjunction with Russell T Davies and Julie Gardner who have been such a huge part of it all for me. Steven Moffat is the most brilliant and exciting writer, the only possible successor to Russell and it was sorely tempting to be part of his amazing new plans for the show. I will be there, glued to my TV when his stories begin in 2010.

"I feel very privileged to have been part of this incredible phenomenon, and whilst I'm looking forward to new challenges I know I'll always be very proud to be the Tenth Doctor."

Russell T Davies reciprocated: "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! 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!"

While Who fans might lament Tennant's departure, they have the consolation of enjoying some light speculation as to who might be the eleventh Doctor. We reckon Hugh Laurie would be absolutely perfect, but he's not on the Daily Telegraph's list of hopefuls... ®

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