Peter Capaldi is to quit BBC One’s Doctor Who at the end of this year, the actor confirmed this evening.
Replacing Matt Smith as The Doctor, the former The Thick of It star joined the series in 2013 and will bow out in this year’s Christmas special which will also see the departure of lead writer Steven Moffat.
In his final series, which debuts on Easter Saturday, the star will be joined by Pearl Mackie as new companion Bill, as well as Matt Lucas (Nardole) and guest stars David Suchet and Michelle Gomez.
Capaldi’s departure will mean a new leading man and head writer taking control of the Tardis when the show returns next year. Moffat is to be replaced by Chris Chibnall but BBC bosses are yet to reveal the identity of the new Doctor.
Announcing his departure, Capaldi said: “One of the greatest privileges of being Doctor Who is to see the world at its best.
“From our brilliant crew and creative team working for the best broadcaster on the planet, to the viewers and fans whose endless creativity, generosity and inclusiveness points to a brighter future ahead.
“I can’t thank everyone enough. It’s been cosmic.”
Charlotte Moore, Director of BBC Content, described Capaldi as “a tremendous Doctor who has brought his own unique wisdom and charisma to the role.”
She added: “It’s not over yet – I know the next series is going to be spectacular.
Brian Minchin, Executive Producer commented: “Peter Capaldi is an extraordinary Doctor and has taken the show to amazing places.
“Although I’m sad he has decided to move on in 2018 I’m delighted that we have one final series with Peter Capaldi and Steven Moffat.
“I know what they’re planning and it’s going to be incredible.”
Moffat, writer and executive producer, said: “Like Peter, I’m facing up to leaving the best job I’ll ever have, but knowing I do so in the company of the best, and kindest and cleverest of men, makes the saddest of endings a little sweeter.”
Bookmakers William Hill are already offering odds on Capaldi’s successor with Ben Whishaw – star of BBC Two’s London Spy and the Bond films’ Q – as their 5/1 favourite.
Other contenders include Rory Kinnear (6/1), Rupert Grint (8/1), David Harewood (12/1), and David Tennant at 20/1.
“Ben looks a banker at the minute but there is a little bit of cash about for a return of a former Doctor,” said William Hill spokesman Rupert Adams.