Matt Smith plays Doctor Who in the hit TV show.
Matt Smith plays Doctor Who in the hit TV show. Contributed

Fans wonder: where to next for TV's talented Doctor Who?

MATT Smith's decision to stand down as Doctor Who later this year will lead to speculation not only as to who's next? But also what's next for Smith?

Leaving one of the most talked about roles in UK TV can be tricky with no guarantee of future success.

The earliest doctors, William Hartnell and Patrick Troughton, were in the twilight of their careers when they played the role.

So Smith will no doubt look at the paths trodden by the likes of 10th Who David Tennant, who has had a busy TV career, playing Hamlet and starring in The Politician's Husband on the BBC as well as starring in ITV's recent hit, Broadchurch.

He might too note how Tennant's predecessor, Christopher Eccleston, has mixed TV dramas with roles in Hollywood blockbusters such as G.I. Joe: Rise of the Cobra and Thor: the Dark World.

For the rest it's a mixed bag, with some resorting to one-off spots on The Bill and Casualty, while Colin Baker's post-Who career seems to have focused on touring theatre.

Peter Davison, the fifth doctor, has become a regular in Law & Order UK, and Tom Baker is now better known for his voice work.

Neither Sylvester McCoy nor Paul McGann ever achieved the same profile after they said goodbye to the Tardis while the late Jon Pertwee's moved from Who to star as Worzel Gummidge.

Smith will no doubt be plotting his next move carefully, rather than risk appearing in panto in a few years time and have everyone ask: "Who's that again?"