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Doctor Who? 12th incarnation sought after Matt Smith quits

'Spectacular exit' promised for Time Lord

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Matt Smith has announced he'll be handing over the keys to the Tardis at the end of this year, leaving Doctor Who fans plenty of time to speculate over just who will step into the Time Lord's shoes.

Smith will bow out in a "spectacular" 2013 Christmas special, after four years as the 11th Doctor.

He said: "Doctor Who has been the most brilliant experience for me as an actor and a bloke, and that largely is down to the cast, crew and fans of the show.

"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."

Doctor Who head honcho Steven Moffat described Smith as "one of the nicest and hardest-working people I have ever had the privilege of knowing", adding: "Great actors always know when it's time for the curtain call, so this Christmas prepare for your hearts to break as we say goodbye to number 11. Thank you Matt - bow ties were never cooler."

If your nerves can stand it, there's more of this love-in right here.

Amid the back-slapping, Moffat said of Smith's replacement: "Somewhere out there right now - all unknowing, just going about their business - is someone who's about to become the Doctor. A life is going to change, and Doctor Who will be born all over again. After 50 years, that's still so exciting."

Bookies William Hill have named "former Harry Potter star Rupert Grint and Russell Tovey from BBC Three's Being Human as their joint 10/1 favourites to named the next Doctor", the Beeb notes.

It adds: "They are also offering odds on Sherlock star Martin Freeman, on Skyfall's Ben Whishaw and on former assistant Billie Piper returning to the series as the Doctor's new incarnation."

Piper joins "Twenty Twelve and Broadchurch star Olivia Colman and Fiona O'Shaughnessy from Channel 4 drama Utopia" on the list for a possible gender-bending reincarnation. ®

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