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July 29th, 2021 46 comments

Jodie Whittaker / Chris Chibnall to leave Doctor Who in 2022

Jodie Whittaker and Chris Chibnall to leave Doctor Who in a trio of Specials, culminating in an epic blockbuster Special to air in autumn 2022 as part of the BBC’s Centenary celebrations.

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 Event Serial announced for the autumn, 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 groundbreaking 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 recognised with wins from the Eastern Eye Awards. The 2020 series won Best Science Fiction Show voted for by readers at Radio, 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 says

“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”


  • RPG74

    July 30th, 2021 - 12:15pm

    They did originally say eight episodes, didn’t they? I wonder if the Beeb, for obvious reasons, decided to bin two John Barrowman episodes? And now they’re in the position of having to write and shoot two new stories to take their place-hence then delay? Idle speculation perhaps, but there was an insinuation not too far back that the Time Fracture event (which previously starred Jack Harkness) would be narratively connected to series 13.
    Could all be bobbins, but it’ll be interesting to see if Barrowman comments during series 13’s run.

  • James

    July 30th, 2021 - 11:04am

    The Master. Definelty been short episoded. Told we get 8 episode series now down to 6. Then other 2 next year and bumper blockbuster finale episode in autumn 2022. I get the pandemic and all but why didn’t they do the 8 series this year plus the specials next year like 10ths last. He got series 4 plus 4 specials. When new person takes over he or she needs to get it bakc upto the old New Who standard series ; 13 episode series plus Christmas special. And have an unknown actor as the lead role.

    The regeneration in Jodies final ep in the autumn 2022. Then the new Doctor first episode being Christmas special 2022 just like when David took over From Chris.

    The. Possibly a mini series for mid 2023 leading into the 60TH anniversary November 2023. Then back to normal in 2024.

  • David Hodgson

    July 30th, 2021 - 10:06am

    All you Jodie hatters get a life, if they had better writers it would have made her Doctor stronger, and you would be singing a different tune. I must admit when she was announced as the Doctor i had my doubts about her, but she changed my mind about her.

  • Steve

    July 30th, 2021 - 9:42am

    I’d hoped they would have a successful season of two under their belts before they left.
    Jodie really tried and put in her best shift.

    Thank you.

  • Jasper

    July 30th, 2021 - 9:29am

    Jodie’s tenure is similar to Colin Baker’s where both eras were a mixed reception. Hopefully, Jodie may return to Big Finish and they could make improvements to her Doctor just like Baker. It worked wonders for the 6th Doctor.

  • DalekAgent

    July 30th, 2021 - 8:50am

    So now begin the rumours as who will be the next doctor also whoever the next showrunner will be they will have a big job to do when they take over as they will immediately have to start planning the 60th anniversary special as well as series 14

  • The Moffat Paradox

    July 30th, 2021 - 2:09am

    Thought the Sacha Dhawan Master was a downgrade as well not because I have a problem with him as an actor (he was good as Waris Hussein in “An Adventure in Space and Time” and as Davos in Marvel’s “Iron Fist”) but Chibnall had him play the character as just an anarchic Joker like zany madman without any sense that there might be more of an actual game plan beyond universal killing and destruction for killing and destructions sake that even the Simm Master had. And all the way back to Roger Delgado.

  • The Master

    July 30th, 2021 - 1:05am

    Does anyone agree they are cheating viewers with episodes? They lied ! They should go back to 14 episodes as we used to have ! 6 episodes is far too short! Bbc you are failing us !

  • Dalek Eye Stalk

    July 29th, 2021 - 10:40pm

    I wonder what controversy awaits Chibnalls final episodes. He’s bound to add something more to the lore before he goes. Likely giving the next showrunner a headache to try and pick up the pieces.

  • Pats86

    July 29th, 2021 - 10:00pm

    Something to cheer at last, I read somewhere that Jodie was voted the second best Doctor ever LOL, failing ratings poor writing and the worst Doctor ever say otherwise.

  • Anonymous

    July 29th, 2021 - 9:25pm

    This is sad news, Jodie Whittaker’s Doctor brought me back to the series. I have enjoyed all the adventures of the 13th Doctor, lots of good stories and more light hearted after the dark tone of the 12th Doctor. Jodie is a very good actress and I hope she does well with the rest of her career. Thank You Jodie! For bringing a little joy to the world of Who in these dark times. Your Doctor will always be my favourite

  • Doctor Stu

    July 29th, 2021 - 9:16pm

    I don’t see how these are special episodes, he said series 13 would be 8 episodes long. So the specials are what? Just the bbc chopping the last 2 episodes off the end and showing them at random times during the year to lead up to a grand finale regeneration. It seems a bit like cheating. I think we’d all rather an 8 episode run, and three specials. And let’s face it one of those specials will probably be a New Years episode which we’re used to. So that’s 7 episodes of who in 2021 and the first day of 2022. And then two specials for the whole of 2022? Bit poor

  • pupbenny

    July 29th, 2021 - 9:10pm

    I’m SO pleased! 😀

  • Doctor Stu

    July 29th, 2021 - 9:07pm

    People going on about a 5 year plan did he actually say that? I thought it was more the fact that the BBC had commissioned at least another 5 seasons or is that wrong?

  • Chris Howarth

    July 29th, 2021 - 9:04pm

    Great, if not entirely unexpected, news!

  • Oodsigma

    July 29th, 2021 - 8:44pm

    This site has died, and that’s because of Chibnall. I’m the glory days, news like this would attract hundreds of comment

  • TheWHOlegacy

    July 29th, 2021 - 7:48pm

    Well looking at broadchurch Chris takes 18 months to do a season anyway and wrapped up it up in 3 seasons, so the fact people thought 5 years means 5 seasons doesn’t really matter. If Chris saw it as 5 years of production then that is what he meant. We definitely can’t say either way if he was fired or not unless you somehow know someone in the know. We don’t know how the timeless child arc will wrap up. If he wraps it up well then that’s great. The only thing we are doing is assuming. Until otherwise is said we should take the team at their word and not speculate based on no evidence.

  • RPG74

    July 29th, 2021 - 7:35pm

    Most people would consider a five year plan to mean five seasons TheWhoLegacy. It’s unlikely Chibnall would drop the timeless child bomb at the end of his second series, and expect it to be tied up neatly with a bow in only another seven or eight episodes. Yes, the pandemic would affect things, but not to that extent. I think we can safely say he was shown the door. I shan’t gloat, but I’m relieved at the prospect of new blood.
    In any case-onwards and upwards!

  • TheWHOlegacy

    July 29th, 2021 - 6:22pm

    Chris did have 5 years 2018,2019,2020,2021,2022. That’s 5 years. It wasn’t ever said to be a 5 season plan it was always rumoured as a 5 year plan.

  • RPG74

    July 29th, 2021 - 5:54pm

    He was talking about a five year plan a couple of years back, so either he changed his mind or he wasn’t offered a new contract. In any case this is good news, as it means we’ll have a new broom in time for the 60th!
    Must admit, I feel a little sorry for Jodie. She’ll be widely regarded as the worst Doctor ever, through no fault of her own.

  • Anonymous

    July 29th, 2021 - 5:32pm

    This will please all the negative people until the casting announcement, or the writers are announced or until the first episode of the new doctor is broadcast and then it will be the usual complaining. Love Jodie, sorry to see her go. In terms of chibnall I believe 2022 fulfills his contract so he’s not leaving early.

  • the ergon

    July 29th, 2021 - 5:18pm

    Not necessarily HIS own yet. My money is still on Lydia West. The first black actress. And a cracking young actress at that.

  • 1

    July 29th, 2021 - 5:14pm

    Sorry to the Jodie, lovers but this is brilliant news hopefully the show will go back to “normal”.

  • JJwho

    July 29th, 2021 - 5:04pm

    I check Twitter a lot for new Who news. Nothing much. I was checking this site today for the new B&M sets and found out this news via the tweets section. So happy!

    Not a fan of this era at all and glad they are leaving, Chibnall especially. Jodie has been a good brand ambassador for the show though and seems lovely. The only worry and concern is who’s gonna be next. And can they undo the Timeless Child plot?

    The article also says Series 13 is 6 episodes followed by 3 specials, not the 8 we thought we were getting, so that’s only 9 episodes left, spread out to over a year away. I’d hoped Yaz would be leaving at the end of Series 13 as I don’t want her character to be in every 13 episode, she needs some time away. I’d have preferred special guest stars like in Tennant’s specials, but with Bishop and Gill still filming that looks unlikely.

  • The Original Time Lord

    July 29th, 2021 - 4:59pm

    The best DW news in five years. The worst lead actor in the role, the worst showrunner, the worst production team all led to the most unpopular version of the show ever.
    Good riddance to both. Time to forget them and move on. Let’s hope the BBC brings THE Doctor back with a fantastic, talented actor who can make the role is own supported by a team that understand the show and get the UK public back watching as well as heal the fandom.

  • The Moffat Paradox

    July 29th, 2021 - 4:59pm


  • The Prydonian

    July 29th, 2021 - 4:42pm

    Good. Couldn’t be happier. Worst Doctor ever. Hopefully it was all a dream

  • Whovian

    July 29th, 2021 - 4:34pm

    Chibnall can go, 100%. But not Jodie…. Hopefully she reconsiders, the 13th Doctor needs a better writer

  • TimelordTim

    July 29th, 2021 - 3:52pm

    Three seasons, and a few specials, seems to be the norm for the lead actor so not surprised. But a shame, I enjoy Jodie’s Doctor and have found her, and this era as a whole, better than Capaldi and his stint.

    A 6-part series will be very interesting and then 3 specials to enjoy the build-up to the regeneration. Going to be interesting to see the Timeless Child story run its course. I know a lot of people don’t, but I really like the concept so I hope it pays off well. Sort of plays on the “Morbius Doctors” and the Cartmel plan to have more mystery and importance behind the 7th Doctor I think. A way of folding such ideas into the shows televised canon.

    Would’ve been nice to have Jodie for the 60th at least, but not to be. An interesting time for the new person to take the reigns in an anniversary year. They may decide to not play on it that much this time.

  • Jamie Fletcher

    July 29th, 2021 - 3:24pm

    Well bye-bye Jodie, it’s not your fault you got substandard plots, awful scripts and heavy handed politics that blame lies with someone else! You did your best with what you were given.