Executive producer and showrunner Steven Moffat was quick to echo the news, making a point that Smith would indeed be returning as the 11th incarnation of the Doctor after the close of the series’ current season. “14 eps + Matt DEFINITELY,” he writes. “I’ve got a plan and I’m not telling you what it is. Now hush or River shoots you with her Spoiler Gun.”
Already at the halfway point of Season 6, fans are justified in their concern over the future of Smith. After rising to the occasion of David Tennant‘s departure at the beginning of Season 5, Smith’s Doctor was killed in the Season 6 premiere — albeit 200 years down the line in his chronology.
What’s not clear is when these episodes will air. There’s been speculation that a full season won’t return until 2013, with four specials (like the 2009 run for Tennant) bridging the gap between Seasons 6 and 7.
A BBC spokesperson was coy about scheduling with the Guardian: “The new commission is a big commitment, not many other shows have such a commitment so far in advance,” they tell the paper. “We do not know yet how many will air in 2012.”
The current season of “Doctor Who,” broken into two parts, will return in September.
UPDATE: Creator Steven Moffat tweeted that the renewal entails 13 episodes and a Christmas special, possibly debunking talk of four specials and a 10-episode season.