David Tennant's appearance in the fifth series of Doctor Who looks uncertain after it was revealed there will be no new series in 2009.
David Tennant and Catherine Tate star in the next series
The fourth series, starring Tennant, is due to hit TV screens next year, but the fifth will not be seen until 2010.
Instead, Tennant, will star in three Doctor Who specials, written by Russell T Davies, on BBC One in 2009.
A spokeswoman for Doctor Who said she was unable to comment whether Tennant would return for the 2010 series.
Tennant, 36, will reportedly play Hamlet with the Royal Shakespeare Company from July to November next year, but this has not been confirmed by the RSC.
Series four, which went into production in July, will hit UK screens in spring 2008 with a special episode scheduled for Christmas 2008.
Comedian Catherine Tate is set to return to the Tardis for the complete 13-week run, reprising her role as Donna from the 2006 Christmas special.
Actress Freema Agyeman, who won praise for her portrayal of assistant Martha Jones, is also set to return during series four.
BBC Fiction controller Jane Tranter said: "Doctor Who is one of the BBC's best loved and most successful dramas.
"Its journey over the past three series has been one of the most ambitious and exciting that we have had, and I'm delighted to be able to confirm not only three exciting specials for 2009, but a fifth series in 2010. "
Menna Richards, controller of BBC Wales, said: "This announcement is marvellous news for all involved, and more importantly for the programme's amazing fan base and audience."