Following months of speculation and rumours around the internet, it’s official—Jodie Whittaker is leaving Doctor Who.
Announced by the BBC on Thursday, Whittaker will depart in Autumn 2022 after the highly-anticipated thirteenth season later this year and the 3 special episodes set to follow it.
Whittaker made history back in 2017 when she was announced as the first-ever female to step into the iconic role of The Doctor and has made a huge impact on the series so far with her two seasons in the role. Her introductory episode back in 2018 drew in a peak of 9 million viewers, beating out both Matt Smith and Peter Capaldi’s debuts.
News of Jodie Whittaker’s departure also comes with the news that Chris Chibnall, the current showrunner of Doctor Who, will be stepping down, too. Chibnall joined the TARDIS team alongside Whittaker in 2017 and stated the two both made a “three-season pact” when they began, which they’ve now fulfilled. The pair had previously worked together on the critically acclaimed ITV drama Broadchurch.
While there has been some criticism of the latest era of Doctor Who for being “too woke” or “unbearably politically correct,” there have been multiple standout episodes that thrilled audiences through the era. ‘Spyfall’, ‘Rosa,’ and ‘Demons of the Punjab’ earned the show BAFTA Must-See Moment nominations, as well as NTA’s and Critics Choice nominations.
Though fans of the current era may be sad to see Jodie’s Thirteenth Doctor depart, they still have a whole new season with her, Yaz (Mandip Gill) and new companion Dan (John Bishop) to look forward to; plus the specials that will see Thirteen regenerate. In social media posts, the BBC said the pair leave “in a trio of specials, culminating in an epic blockbuster to air in autumn 2022 as part of the BBC’s centenary celebrations.” A teaser trailer for the thirteenth season was revealed at San Diego Comic-Con last weekend.
Speculation will likely now turn to who Whittaker’s replacement will be, as Doctor Who approaches its 60th anniversary in 2023.
Words by Ben Wilkinson