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The BBC is denying a report that the current star of Doctor Who, Matt Smith, was ready to call it quits. The report was sparked by a recent interview Smith gave, in which he said that he doesn’t think that he could star in the long-running series forever.
Entertainmentwise reports that Smith, the 11th actor to take the role, told Empire magazine that the grueling production schedule is taking a toll on him.
“I couldn’t do this for seven years. I’d be run into the ground... And your life outside of it is … I don’t know. I hope I don’t sound too pessimistic,” he said. “It’s just I don’t think my body or my life or the people around me could sustain it.”
According to MTV News, the British tabloid the Mirror took that to mean that Smith was quitting the series.
However, BBC Head of Communication Sam Hodges took to Twitter to clarify that Smith is not quitting.
“#DoctorWho fans - Matt Smith hasn't quit. See him in Asylum of the Daleks, tomorrow at 7.20 on #BBC1,” Hodges wrote. He then went on to tweet back and forth with Doctor Who fans who wanted to know why the Mirror would run a headline like that.
“He says in an interview that he won't be the Doctor forever - hardly quitting!” Hodges said. In another, he promised that Smith will be around for awhile. “He'll be around for a good while yet.”
One fan accused the BBC of creating a publicity stunt to hit ratings targets, but Hodges fired back, “Not at all - and we don't set targets like that.”
The latest series of Doctor Who kicks off tonight in the U.K. Smith has played the title role since 2009, when he took over from David Tennant.
It will also air tonight on BBC America. The episode was screened in New York City last weekend.