Set your sonic screwdrivers to speculation, everyone – the Doctor is about to regenerate again. The BBC has officially announced what’s long been rumoured – that Jodie Whittaker is preparing to leave Doctor Who and hand over the TARDIS keys to a new incarnation of the Time Lord. And she’s not the only one exiting the series, with current showrunner Chris Chibnall also due to step down when Whittaker makes her final bow (or, bow-tie).
For fans of her take on the character, rest assured that there’s plenty more Whittaker goodness to come first. For one, this autumn will bring her official third series in the role – aka Series 13 – which is being described as a “six-part Event Serial”, and consists of one long story than the usual monster-of-the-week format. And beyond that, Whitaker will cap off her tenure with three specials to air through 2022 – of which the final one will be feature-length. After that? It’ll be time for someone else to take over and make the legendary sci-fi character their own.
“In 2017 I opened my glorious gift box of size 13 shoes. I could not have guessed the brilliant adventures, worlds and wonders I was to see in them,” says Jodie Whittaker. “My heart is so full of love for this show, for the team who make it, for the fans who watch it and for what it has brought to my life. And I cannot thank Chris enough for entrusting me with his incredible stories. We knew that we wanted to ride this wave side by side, and pass on the baton together. So here we are, weeks away from wrapping on the best job I have ever had. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to express what this role has given me. I will carry the Doctor and the lessons I’ve learnt forever. I know change can be scary and none of us know what’s out there. That’s why we keep looking. Travel Hopefully. The Universe will surprise you. Constantly.”
Chibnall added that he felt he should move on along with his leading star. “I can’t imagine working with a more inspiring Doctor – so I’m not going to!” he said in a statement. “For me, leading this exceptional team has been unrivalled creative fun, and one of the great joys of my career. I’m so proud of the people we’ve worked with and the stories we’ve told. To finish our time on the show with an additional Special, after the pandemic changed and challenged our production plans, is a lovely bonus. It’s great that the climax of the Thirteenth Doctor’s story will be at the heart(s) of the BBC’s centenary celebrations. I wish our successors - whoever the BBC and BBC Studios choose - as much fun as we’ve had. They’re in for a treat!”
If the next Doctor is unlikely to be confirmed any time soon, expect speculation to run rampant in the months to come – and start your betting now…