Doctor Who showrunner Chris Chibnall and current star Jodie Whittaker have announced that they will officially be leaving their respective roles on the long-running sci-fi series following a trio of specials set to air in 2022.
In an announcement published on July 29th, the BBC revealed that though the pair were already confirmed to return for “a six-part Event Serial announced for the autumn, and two Specials already planned for 2022,” the broadcaster had since “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.”
In a statement provided to the BBC by Chibnall, the showrunner responsible for introducing the first female incarnation of the Doctor recalled how “Jodie and I made a “three series and out” pact with each other at the start of this once-in-a-lifetime blast,” and as such, “now our shift is done, and we’re handing back the TARDIS keys.”
“Jodie’s magnificent, iconic Doctor has exceeded all our high expectations.” Chibnall continued. “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!”
Turning to his own experiences on the show, Chibnall stated, “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,” said the showrunner. “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,” he concluded. “They’re in for a treat!”
In a separate statement, Whittaker similarly expressed her own joy towards her time on the series, writing, “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,” wrote the actress. “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,” she added. “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.”
Whittaker concluded her good-bye with a message of hope, telling fans, “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.”
Series 13 of Doctor Who is currently set to air later this year.
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