The Doctor is no longer in!

Matt Smith has officially announced he will not be returning for the eighth season of Doctor Who, and the search is on for a new Time Lord.

Smith will don the bow tie alongside the tenth Doctor David Tennant for the 50th Anniversary Special of Doctor Who in November. Then, once more and for the final time in the annual Doctor Who Christmas Special.

In a statement appearing on the BBC Website, Smith wrote:

“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 realize 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… Thank you so very much for supporting my incarnation of the Time Lord, number Eleven, who I might add is not done yet, I’m back for the 50th anniversary and the Christmas special!

It’s been an honor to play this part, to follow the legacy of brilliant actors, and helm the TARDIS for a spell with ‘the ginger, the nose and the impossible one’. But when ya gotta go, ya gotta go and Trenzalore calls. Thank you guys. Matt.”

Doctor Who’s Executive Producer Steven Moffat added: “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 Eleven. Thank you Matt – bow ties were never cooler.

Of course, this isn’t the end of the story, because now the search begins. 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!”

Rumors of Smith’s exit have been circulating for the past few months, but died down after Smith told the press that he intended to come back to the series for it’s eighth season after he wrapped filming for Ryan Gosling‘s upcoming movie ‘How To Catch A Monster.’ However, it seems this was just some very clever wording, as season 8 technically starts with the Christmas Special; which will be his last appearance.

The current companion Clara Oswald, played by Jenna-Louise Coleman, will remain with the show.

Smith, 30, took on the role of The Doctor in 2010, following the departure of 10th Doctor David Tennant, who himself took over from Christopher Eccleston in 2005. Smith became the eleventh doctor, and the youngest person ever to take on the role of the ~900 year old Time Lord.

Matt Smith’s directorial debut ‘Cargese’ aired for the first time on UK film channel Sky Arts May 30, and received mostly positive reviews. The actor has been open about his ambitions in cinema, and is known to be working a number of new projects. He also revealed the The Telegraph that he would like to direct a science-fiction film one day, saying: “[Stanley] Kubrick’s the man to follow: a film in every genre.”

Watch some of the Eleventh Doctor’s best moments below: