Jodie Whittaker is leaving Doctor Who. But she isn’t, at least not yet. The 13th Doctor is still in residence for another year, and the actor is still filming the special episodes that will form her farewell, before a new Doctor and a new (okay, new-ish) showrunner takes control of the TARDIS. Which makes the fact that she’s “gone” a peculiar feeling for the actress.
Whittaker discussed last month’s announcement of her impending exit alongside current showrunner Chris Chibnall in 2022 on the Line-Up podcast (via Radio Times). Reflecting on how she feels about her departure, the actor instead offered a feeling of more confusion: it might be public that she’s “left,” but she’s very much still in the actual business of filming Doctor Who and being the Doctor. The definite article, you might say.
“So I am still knee deep in shooting. So to me this hasn’t finished,” Whittaker said of the news. “You’re just in it, but I can be in it. So the good thing now is being announced that these are my last episodes that I’m shooting doesn’t mean I have to let go yet.”
For Whittaker, the emotion feels akin to the inverse she felt when she was first cast as the Doctor—an announcement that came well before she actually started filming, leaving her once again in that strange limbo of potentiality. Except that time, she was not yet the Doctor. “Well, it’s strange because, like, announcing you’re the Doctor, it always happens at a very strange time,” Whittaker said. “So you announce that you’re going to play the Doctor and it happens before, essentially, you’ve stepped foot on set. So that’s one big announcement and the very emotionally, kind of contradicting thing is you announce you’re leaving, but you haven’t left.”
The TARDIS is always occupied—but for now, despite us being aware of a change of management, the Doctor is still Jodie Whittaker, and she’s very much still in.
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