The BBC has announced that Matt Smith, who stepped into the Tardis as the 11th incarnation of the Time Lord Doctor Who in 2010, will be leaving the role at the end of the year.  Fans will see Smith regenerate into the 12th Doctor in the 2013 Christmas Special.  The BBC is promising a “spectacular exit” for Smith, but details of his departure from the show are kept under wraps.  The identity of replacement is also not known yet.  Could the BBC, which has recently had to defend the Doctor Who series against charges of racism leveled in an academic study (see "The BBC Defends 'Doctor Who'"), be planning to debut the first non-white Time Lord?
The floppy-haired, bow-tie wearing Smith took over from the popular David Tennant in 2010, and under Smith the show has continued to fascinate science fiction fans around the globe.  In Smith’s first Doctor Who adventure, "The Eleventh Hour," which debuted in April of 2010, Smith crashed his Tardis into the garden of a young Scottish girl, Amy Pond, who became one of the series’ most popular companions, and who recently signed on to a very different role as the lead female villain in Marvel Studios’ Guardians of the Galaxy (see "Doctor Who's Amy Pond Joins 'Guardians of the Galaxy'").
During his tenure on Doctor Who Smith faced a variety of prime Whovian opponents including the Cybermen, Weeping Angels, Daleks and the Silence.  Smith was the first actor who played Doctor Who to receive a BAFTA (the U.K. equivalent of an Emmy) nomination.  Smith told the BBC "Doctor Who has been the most brilliant experience for me both as an actor and as a bloke, and that is largely down to the cast, crew, and fans of the show."