The Doctor is out. Jodie Whittaker and “Doctor Who” showrunner Chris Chibnall will exit the series in the fall of 2022, BBC confirmed on Thursday.
Whittaker and Chibnall’s farewell will come in a trio of specials that will air as part of the BBC’s Centenary celebrations, and on BBC America in the U.S. The BBC had already previously announced a six-part Season 13 coming in the fall and two specials planned for 2022, but BBC One has now ordered an additional third feature-length adventure to conclude Whittaker and Chibnall’s “Doctor Who” run next year.
Whittaker is the Thirteenth Doctor and the first woman to hold the role, having entered “Doctor Who” when Chibnall took over the show in 2017.
Chibnall was also responsible for bringing in “Doctor Who” cast members Tosin Cole (Ryan), Mandip Gill (Yaz) and Bradley Walsh (Graham), plus Sacha Dhawan as the latest incarnation of The Master and Jo Martin as the mysterious Fugitive Doctor.
Executive producer Matt Strevens, who has worked alongside Chibnall since his tenure began in 2017, will also be leaving the TARDIS when all the special episodes are complete.
“Doctor Who” Season 13 has been in production under strict COVID protocols since October 2020. Following the exits of Cole and Walsh during the holiday special, the cast now includes Whittaker and Gill, plus newcomer John Bishop as Dan Lewis and Jacob Anderson in the recurring role as Vinder.
“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 a 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! 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!”
“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,” Whittaker said. “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.”
“Doctor Who” is a BBC Studios production for BBC One and a BBC America co-production. BBC Studios are the international distributors for “Doctor Who.”