The iconic sci-fi role has been prone to changes of actor almost as often as the show has changed media, and now another Doctor Who is going off call.
The BBC announced that Scottish actor David Tennant will leave the current incarnation of the series next year.
Tennant is the 10th actor to portray the time-traveling, space-crossing alien hero, and he's been on the acclaimed series since 2005.
He will appear in a Christmas special and four hour-long episodes to be aired in 2009 and early 2010. But he said Wednesday that when the series returns for a full season in 2010, ''it won't be with me.''
''This show has been so special to me,'' Tennant said. ''I don't want to outstay my welcome.''
''Doctor Who'' was first broadcast in 1963 and is one of the BBC's longest-running and most popular programs. Tennant is the 10th actor to play the title character, who has the power to regenerate in a new body.
Classically trained Tennant, 37, is currently starring in Shakespeare's ''Hamlet'' for the Royal Shakespeare Company.