The BBC has announced that current Doctor Jodie Whittaker as well as showrunner Chris Chibnall, will depart Doctor Who in 2022. The duo will, after the upcoming season 13, will say farewell with three special episodes to air throughout next year.
“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,” Whittaker said in a statement released by the BBC. “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.”
According to the corporation, Doctor Who’s 13th season will air later this year as a “six-part event serial”—the season, truncated by filming restrictions due to the covid-19 pandemic, was previously announced as being eight episodes long—with two previously planned specials to air in 2022. Those specials will now be joined by a third “feature length adventure,” which will bid farewell to Whittaker’s incarnation of the Time Lord and see her regenerate into a new form.
“Jodie and I made a ‘three series and out’ pact with each other at the start of this once-in-a-lifetime blast. So now our shift is done, and we’re handing back the TARDIS keys,” Chibnall said in an accompanying statement. “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!”
Whittaker and Chibnall’s first two seasons of the show were defined by a push and pull between a view of Doctor Who as either a tool for explicit social commentary about the world in which we live (and its past) or the more traditional, monster-forward action that typified both the show’s classical roots and its modern incarnation when it first began in 2005. While their first season, struggled to find a balance, often choosing either at the expense of the other, season 12 brought with it a better handling of these two sides of Doctor Who—along with some big, sweeping revelations about the Doctor’s relationship with their past that will no doubt play a part in Whittaker’s swansong next year.
And if you’re already wondering what’s next, Radio Times cites the BBC as saying: “We will announce plans for the new generation of Doctor Who in due course – watch this space!” You can also keep your eyes on this space, of course, as we’ll always keep you up to date on the latest in the world of Who. What do you think of today’s big news?
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