4 Jan 2009

Sci-fi series gets its youngest Doctor Who

11:09 am on 4 January 2009

Matt Smith will be the 11th "Doctor Who" and the youngest actor ever to play the cult television time traveller, the BBC has announced.

Revealing a closely-guarded secret, the network said on Saturday that Smith, 26, would take over from the popular David Tennant as the star of the science fiction show that first appeared on British television screens in 1963.

Tennant announced last October he planned to step down but will stay in the role for four specials this year before Smith takes over in a new series to be broadcast in 2010.

"I'm flabbergasted. I haven't slept really because it's an iconic part of our culture. It has the iconic status that Robin Hood or Sherlock Holmes (have) and I'm taking that on as my responsibility. It's nerve-racking, exciting," Smith said.

Other actors who have played the role over the years include the original doctor, William Hartnell, Jon Pertwee, Tom Baker and Peter Davison.

The identity of the next Doctor Who has led to intense speculation, with names in the frame including David Morrissey, who took part in a Christmas edition of the show.