The news that Matt Smith has landed a big Hollywood film role was not a big surprise to me or any of the devoted Doctor Who fans.
As long ago as June 2011, he eagerly spoke to me down the phone from a US hotel room telling me how he was meeting with agents and film bosses to try to make it Stateside.
Matt told me he thought LA was “groovy” and that he liked the vibe out there. At that point he had been the Time Lord for less than two years, but already Matt was full of ambition and had the acting talent to back it up.
Now, all the signs point towards him spending more and more time across the pond, which means his time in the Tardis is surely coming to a close.
His debut Hollywood film – Ryan Gosling’s How To Catch A Monster – was announced by US trade magazine Variety and within hours the BBC rushed out a statement to say he hadn’t quit his role as the Time Lord.
But at the same time, the statement was worded to state carefully: “he will be around for a while yet”. That much we knew already.
Matt has filmed another series and will be at the centre of the 50th anniversary celebrations this year. He will fit this film in around a gap in the Doctor Who schedule in the coming months and has said he would like to do another Doctor Who Christmas special.
But by 2014, Matt will need to promote his new film and will have been offered many other big screen roles, some of which I think will be too good to turn down. He has also spoken about wanting to direct, and his debut drama behind the camera will be on Sky Arts in May, which I expect to be the first of many TV projects with Matt in charge.
There is just too much going on and too many opportunities for him to be tied to the Doctor for too much longer. Matt is a great Time Lord, but make the most of him this year. I don’t need to travel in the Tardis to say I can see a regeneration getting closer.
Mark Jefferies is Deputy TV Editor of the Daily Mirror