Next Doctor Who a veritable unknown

Jan. 3, 2009 at 3:20 PM

LONDON, Jan. 3 (UPI) -- The career of actor Matt Smith got a lift with the BBC's announcement he will be the next star of the British TV mainstay "Doctor Who."

The BBC has officially tabbed the 26-year-old unknown actor to take over the legendary TV role from current star David Tennant, making Smith the 11th actor to assume the fictional mantle, the Daily Mail reported Saturday.

Primarily a stage actor, Smith, who previously appeared on a pair of BBC programs, said his new role comes with a long history in British entertainment.

"It's sort of an iconic part of our culture, it's been going since 1963 and I think it has the iconic sort of status that Robin Hood or Sherlock Holmes have, and I'm taking that on," Smith said.

Tennant, meanwhile, called the cast change "exciting" and admitted being a bit envious of his "Doctor" successor, the Mail said.

"Everything that's about to unfold and the way that his life is going to change in so many ways ... it's exciting," Tennant said.

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