10:06 16 December 2011
Doctor Who stars Karen Gillan and Arthur Darvill have announced that they will be leaving the show during the next series.
The pair, who play companions Amy Pond and Rory Williams, will depart the sci-fi show in a "heartbreaking end" during the shows seventh series.
Showrunner Steven Moffat confirmed the news at last nights Doctor Who Christmas special press screening, adding that they will be replaced by a "new friend" for the Doctor:
"The final days of the Ponds are coming during the next series. I'm not telling you when or how, but that story is going to come to a heartbreaking end... Then The Doctor will meet a new friend."
He also added that he expects Alex Kingston to return as the Doctors wife, and Amy and Rorys daughter, River Song.
After the news was announced, Gillan tweeted:
"I'm so grateful for everything. Honestly. I've met such amazing people who I will definitely keep in touch with & had the time of my life!"
Matt Smith who has played the Doctor for two years said:
"The show will miss the Ponds, brilliantly played by Karen and Arthur, but the great thing about Doctor Who is its ability to change.
"We had the most incredible journey. We took over the show and we've really had to hold hands and help each other through it.
"So it's very disappointing, but one has to remember that this show is about change and regeneration, and that's what galvanizes it and pushes it forwards."
Doctor Who returns for a Christmas special on Christmas Day at 7pm on BBC One.
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