30 Oct 2008

Tennant says time's up as Doctor Who

10:00 pm on 30 October 2008

David Tennant will take his last trip in the Tardis as Doctor Who next year after deciding to quit the hit television show.

The British actor has announced he will no longer play the Timelord after he finishes filming four more special episodes due to be screened in the United Kingdom next year and in early 2010.

Tennant, 37, is the 10th actor to play the role and has been hugely popular with fans of the long-running BBC sci-fi drama.

"When Doctor Who returns in 2010 it won't be with me," Tennant said in a video message to the crowd at National TV Awards in London where he won the outstanding drama performance prize.

"The 2009 shows will be my last. I love this show and if I don't take a deep breath and make the decision to move on now, then I simply never will and you'll be wheeling me out of the Tardis in my bath chair."

Bookmakers are already taking bets on who will replace Tennant as the Doctor, with Cold Feet star James Nesbitt, Life on Mars' John Simm and fellow British actors Paterson Joseph and David Morrisey the favourites.

Tennant went on his first inter-galactic adventure in the Tardis when he took over the role in 2005 from Christopher Eccleston, who starred as the Timelord when the BBC resurrected the show after a 16-year break.

Tennant will appear in a Christmas special, titled The Next Doctor, before filming his final four special episodes in January.

Russell T Davies, the show's long-time executive producer and writer, said fans could expect a spectacular end to Tennant's time as the Doctor.

"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," he told the BBC.

"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."

Tennant's replacement will star in the fifth series of the show which has been scheduled for 2010.