Jodie Whittaker and showrunner Chris Chibnall are leaving Doctor Who next year.
In a statement, BBC announced that Whittaker, who played the first female incarnation of the Doctor after Peter Capaldi's three-season stint, will leave the iconic sci-fi drama in 2022.
Whittaker's Thirteenth Doctor will first appear in a six-part event series later this year and three specials in 2022 before the 39-year-old actress turns over the TARDIS keys for good. As of this writing, there's no word yet on the next actor who will play the lead role in the British sci-fi series.
“In 2017 I opened my glorious gift box of size 13 shoes," Whittaker said. "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."
She added: "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.”
Chibnall, meanwhile, is also leaving the series after three seasons. Chibnall cast Whittaker as the first female Doctor in 2017 along with Tosin Cole (Ryan), Mandip Gill (Yaz), Bradley Walsh (Graham), Sacha Dhawan (The Master) and Jo Martin as the mysterious Fugitive Doctor.
"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.
“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," he said.
“I wish our successors—whoever the BBC and BBC Studios choose—as much fun as we’ve had. They’re in for a treat!” Chibnall added.
The six-episode thirteenth season of Doctor Who will air later this year. The first of the three specials will premiere on January 1, 2022 while the second one will come out in spring 2022.
The third and final special episode, which will feature the regeneration of the Thirteenth Doctor, will air in autumn 2022—in time for BBC's Centenary celebrations.
(Images from IMDB)