The BBC has formally announced today that actress Jodie Whittaker will be turning in her keys to the TARDIS in 2022. This news comes after months of unconfirmed rumors of her departure from the long-running time and space adventure series. But that was not it, also leaving are showrunner Chris Chibnall and executive producer Matt Strevens.
Whittaker’s tenure in the role of The Doctor was groundbreaking. She was the first woman to play the role, and she brought an immense amount of energy and wittiness to the series. Her portrayal was reminiscent of Matt Smith and David Tennent when they both played the lead character.
The stories written for her were also interestingly game-changing due to the Timeless Child storyline; it added a whole new level of mystery to the origin of The Doctor’s existence. It explained how the Time Lords got their ability to regenerate.
While Whittaker has previously stated in interviews that she would love to have a long run in the role of The Doctor; however, in Chibnall’s statement released today, in it he said that he had a three-year deal with Whittaker so them leaving may not be so surprising after all.
Jodie Whittaker’s statement: “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.”
Doctor Who has a long history and fans, like myself, have gotten a little accustomed to cast changes. However, the news of any departure will always comes with a little sadness, yet some curiosity about the future too. As of this writing, there has not been any announcement of the next person who will take on the lead role, but I would expect the decision will be made once the next showrunner is there.
Current plans are for a six-part thirteenth season scheduled to air later this year with three specials airing in 2022. During the Doctor Who Comic-Con @ Home panel, Chibnall and Whittaker stated that the thirteenth season will be one connected story. Yet first the special is scheduled to air on New Year’s Day and the final one is schedule to air in the fall of 2022 as part of the BBC Centenary celebrations.
As a Whovian, today’s news is a little sad to absorb, but there is plenty of runway left until the final Whittaker special airs in the fall of 2022. For now, I would like to thank Whittaker, Chibnall, and Strevens for an exciting run – thus far – in the TARDIS and I look forward to the 13th season, and the 2022 specials.
Lastly, as many Whovians know, the doors to the TARDIS never ever closes when it comes to the Doctor Who universe. There is always a chance The Doctor will run into past or future incarnations so never ever count out to a potential return of Whittaker in a multi-Doctor storyline in the future – especially with the 60th anniversary of the series coming up. Hey, it has happened before with other Doctors, so why not again later?