Producers of the beloved U.K. sci-fi series Doctor Who are on the lookout for a new face to play the titular time lord, after star David Tennant announced Wednesday night he plans to step down.

The 37-year-old Tennant, who has become one of the most popular actors on British TV during his stint as the time-travelling hero, revealed he will leave the show at the end of next year, after filming a series of Doctor Who specials to air in 2009 and early 2010.

He made the revelation by videolink message at the U.K.'s National Television Awards on Wednesday night, where he won a trophy for outstanding drama performance and the show was named most popular drama.

Tennant called the role the "best job in the world."

However, he also added that "it would be very easy to cling on to the Tardis console forever and I fear that if I don't take a deep breath and make the decision to move on now, then I simply never will."

The BBC confirmed that the Scottish actor was leaving the show and a replacement would take over for a new edition of the sci-fi favourite beginning in 2010.

Tennant is the 10th actor to portray the doctor since the show began in 1963. The titular character has the ability to regenerate and take on a new physical form.

The most recent edition of the show relaunched in 2005, with Christopher Eccleston enlisted for the lead role, but quit after just one season, claiming he did not want to get typecast.

With files from the Associated Press