11th Doctor Who signs five-year deal

Feb. 11, 2009 at 1:00 PM

LONDON, Feb. 11 (UPI) -- The 11th "Doctor Who," newcomer Matt Smith, has signed a multiyear contract with the BBC worth more than $1 million over the life of the pact.

The 26-year-old actor signed a contract worth roughly $287,000 a year for five years, The Daily Telegraph reported Wednesday, to play the Timelord after David Tennant leaves the popular science fiction program.

The contract comes as the British broadcaster begins to shed larger contracts amid a lousy economic climate and controversy over Jonathan Ross, whom the BBC suspended without pay for 12 weeks in November for his part in leaving a series of vulgar messages on the answering machine of actor Andrew Sachs.

Smith's contract ties him into the show for three years, with a two-year option after that, newspaper accounts indicated.

While the BBC declined to discuss Smith's contract, it told the Telegraph, "All new deals are done with the economic climate in mind."

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