The BBC have confirmed that Jodie Whittaker will be leaving the role of the Doctor next year, in a trilogy of specials
Patrick Troughton once famously suggested to his successors that three series was the perfect length for a Doctor’s era. And that certainly seems to have held true in recent years; David Tennant, Matt Smith and Peter Capaldi all called time at that same point. Now, the BBC have confirmed that the Thirteenth Doctor, Jodie Whittaker, will be following suit, with the upcoming Series 13 forming her last full series in the role. However, with echoes of the Tenth Doctor’s departure, following this year’s episodes she will appear in three specials next year. A final huge adventure for 2022, culminating in her regeneration.
“I will carry the Doctor and the lessons I’ve learnt forever.”
Talking to the BBC, Jodie Whittaker talked of her bittersweet feelings about leaving the role behind.
“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. 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.”
“She’s been the gold standard leading actor, shouldering the responsibility of being the first female Doctor with style, strength, warmth, generosity and humour”
Meanwhile, Chris Chibnall, who has been the architect of the Doctor’s adventures since 2018, is also moving on. He reveals that it always the plan for he and Whittaker to do three series and then leave together. “Jodie and I made a ‘three series and out’ pact with each other at the start of this once-in-a-lifetime blast,” he explains. “So now our shift is done, and we’re handing back the TARDIS keys.”
Chibnall also heaped praise on his star, saying “Jodie’s magnificent, iconic Doctor has exceeded all our high expectations. She’s been the gold standard leading actor, shouldering the responsibility of being the first female Doctor with style, strength, warmth, generosity and humour. She captured the public imagination and continues to inspire adoration around the world, as well as from everyone on the production. I can’t imagine working with a more inspiring Doctor – so I’m not going to!
“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!”
“Chris and Jodie have given Doctor Who some of its most life-affirming and tear-jerking moments”
Finally, the BBC’s Head of Drama, Piers Wenger, lauded his team for the three series they’d put together and all they’ve accomplished. He also described the 2022 specials as tying into the BBC’s centenary, suggesting a November broadcast date. (Which would also, obviously, mark the 59th anniversary of Doctor Who itself.)
“Over the last four years Chris and Jodie have made Doctor Who history and their time on the show is indelibly marked on our memories. From Rosa Parks to Ascension of the Cybermen, Chris and Jodie have given Doctor Who some of its most life-affirming and tear-jerking moments to date and we are beyond excited to see what they have in store for us in the new series this Autumn. Jodie’s final adventure to mark the BBC’s Centenary in 2022 is set to be a Doctor Who Special to remember. I’d like to thank them both for their incredible work on the show”
With Series 13 and three specials left to go, the Thirteenth Doctor’s story isn’t over yet…
Jodie Whittaker became the Doctor during a period of unprecedented change in both the show and the whole television industry. And her debut and first series gained some of the largest audiences, and highest chart placements ever for Doctor Who. As the first female actor to play the role, she had a special place in the hearts of many fans, and an undisputed place in Doctor Who history. Blogtor Who can’t wait to see what she does next.
Her final full series will be one epic story, told across six episodes. Though the fact that the global pandemic cut short the number of episodes this year seems especially cruel in light of the Thirteenth Doctor’s upcoming departure. But hopefully it won’t be too long before we see her again. After all, the 60th Anniversary is only two years away…
Doctor Who Series 13 is currently filming for broadcast later in 2021.It stars Jodie Whittaker as the Doctor, Mandip Gill as her companion Yaz, and John Bishop as newcomer Dan.