Only days after the release of the first trailer for season 13 of Doctor Who, viewers are learning that some big changes are coming. Both star Jodie Whittaker and showrunner Chris Chibnall have announced their exits from the sci-fi fantasy series. The pair will leave after a six-episode 13th season and three 2022 specials. There’s no word yet on who will be cast as the next Time Lord.
BBC America revealed more about the exits of Whittaker and Chibnall in a press release.
“Having been in charge of the TARDIS since filming for the Thirteenth Doctor began in 2017, Showrunner Chris Chibnall and the Thirteenth Doctor, Jodie Whittaker, have confirmed they will be moving on from the most famous police box on Earth – and the universe.
With a six-part season announced for the fall, and two specials already planned for 2022, BBC One has now asked for an additional final feature length adventure for the Thirteenth Doctor, to form a trio of specials for 2022, before the Doctor regenerates once more.
After taking the helm of the show, Chris Chibnall made the ground-breaking decision to cast Jodie Whittaker as the first female Doctor. He also brought in ‘the fam’ of Tosin Cole (Ryan), Mandip Gill (Yaz) and Bradley Walsh (Graham), and cast the acclaimed Sacha Dhawan as the latest incarnation of The Master, plus Jo Martin as the mysterious Fugitive Doctor, adding new characters, layers and twists to the mythology of the show.
Episodes such as ‘Rosa’, ‘Demons of the Punjab’ and ‘Spyfall’ have thrilled audiences across the globe garnering critical acclaim and award recognition, including two BAFTA Must See Moment nominations, along with multiple National Television Award, BAFTA Cymru, TV Choice, Screen Nation, Hugo, Saturn and Critics Choice nominations. Under Chris’ tenure, the series has been awarded the Visionary Awards TV Show of the Year, the Canadian Rockie Award from the BANFF Television Festival for best sci-fi and genre series, while Mandip Gill and Vinay Patel were recognized with wins from the Eastern Eye Awards. The 2020 series won Best Science Fiction Show voted for by readers at Radio Times.com, beating out competition from The Mandalorian, Lucifer and The Boys, as well as winning both Best Moment and Most Incredible Twist from the Digital Spy Reader Awards 2020, for ‘Fugitive Of The Judoon’ and ‘Ascension Of The Cybermen’. In 2019, the entire current cast and crew were awarded Honorary Doctorates by Sheffield Hallam University for their work on the show.
As the Thirteenth Doctor, Jodie Whittaker stepped aboard the TARDIS to begin filming in 2017. As the first woman to play the iconic role, Jodie has thrilled audiences with her portrayal of the Time Lord, winning the hearts of Doctor Who fans across the globe. Jodie’s multi-layered, warm, funny and inspiring depiction of the Doctor not only created a first in Doctor Who history, but in 2020, Jodie was voted 2nd Most Popular Doctor of all time, coming within a whisker of her friend David Tennant, in a poll of more than 50,000 fans for Radio Times.
Chris Chibnall says “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.
“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!”
Jodie Whittaker adds: “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. 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.”
Piers Wenger, Director of BBC Drama, said: “Over the last four years Chris and Jodie have made Doctor Who history and their time on the show is indelibly marked on our memories. From Rosa Parks to Ascension of the Cybermen, Chris and Jodie have given Doctor Who some of its most life-affirming and tear-jerking moments to date and we are beyond excited to see what they have in store for us in the new series this Autumn. Jodie’s final adventure to mark the BBC’s Centenary in 2022 is set to be a Doctor Who Special to remember. I’d like to thank them both for their incredible work on the show.”
Blake Callaway, GM of BBC AMERICA, said: “We’re incredibly grateful to have worked with Chris and Jodie as they ushered in a new era of the Doctor Who franchise, breaking new ground with one of TV’s most iconic heroes and bringing longstanding fans, and new viewers alike, three remarkable seasons. We’re very proud to be a part of a series that, fifty-seven years later, continues to reinvent itself, surprise and delight fans around the world.”
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.”
A premiere date for season 13 of Doctor Who will be announced at a later time, but it is expected to debut later this year.
What do you think? Are you shocked by the upcoming exit of Whittaker from Doctor Who? Who would you cast as the next Time Lord?