The series finale of Doctor Who was a smashing success for the BBC where an estimated 47% of the viewing TV audience settled into their couches to watch the show, or just over 9 million viewers.

The success of the finale could be partially due to the show’s star, David Tennant.

I’ve been following the rumors and noise about David Tennant and what the plans are for his version of The Doctor, but it seems the rumors are being put to rest. At least as best they can.

This has been sparking all kinds of speculation as to what David Tennant’s plans were in regards to the the Doctor Who franchise since he’s going to the stage to play Hamlet with the Royal Shakespeare Company.

TiVO / DVR / U.S. SPOILERS AFTER THE BREAK

In addition to the stage role, the other factor that fueled the rumors of Tennant’s possible departure was The Doctor being shot by a Dalek at the end of the next to last episode and it appeared he was starting to regenerate. Regeneration is one of his abilities, and the infamous process that contributes to the switching of actors if need be.

Rather than regenerate, he cloned a half human version of himself who will live out the rest of his natural mortal life with one of his past companions, Rose Tyler… lucky dog.

The Doctor also parted ways with his current companion, Donna, after wiping her mind of memories of being with him on his adventures.

Whew! For one, I really like David Tennant in the role of The Doctor and I would have been disappointed to see him deinitively leave the role.

The news is that Tennant will be in the Christmas special this year and another three specials next year, but (Here we go again) he has not been confirmed for the fifth series when it starts back up again in 2010.

Reportedly, the show is taking a bit of a break so Tennant can go play Hamlet.

For those of us in the U.S., the full 65 minute episode of the finale can be found at BBC’s iPlayer site, but it will only be there until July 18th. (Thanks to Belly for letting us know) At press time, the link to the BBC iPlayer keeps spitting up the message “This doesn’t seem to be working. Try again later.” I’m so totally trying to get around my Sci-Fi Channel feed!

Sources: BBC News, Google UK Press, image courtesy of BBC iPlayer screen shot.