'Doctor Who' Stops Clock

The Tardis is going into the shop for a while after next year, and there's no certainty about who'll be driving it after that.

The BBC announced Monday that "Doctor Who" will take a break between its fourth and fifth seasons, meaning that aside from a few specials, there will be no regular episodes in 2009. It's also not clear, according to multiple reports in the British media, if star David Tennant will return for the show's fifth season in 2010.

A BBC spokesperson declined comment on Tennant's status for the fifth season. The show's fourth season is in production now and is scheduled to premiere in the U.K. in 2008. "Doctor Who" airs on both the Sci Fi Channel and BBC America in this country.

Tennant is reportedly in line to play Hamlet for Britain's Royal Shakespeare Company in the summer and fall of 2008, which would preclude him doing a full season of "Doctor Who" for 2009. The BBC is planning to produce three specials featuring Tennant as the Time Lord to air in '09.

If Tennant were to exit the series after that, it would follow a long "Doctor Who" tradition of periodically casting a new actor in the lead role. Tennant is the second Doctor in the new incarnation of the show, following Christopher Eccleston, and the 10th person to play him over the series' long history.