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Jodie Whittaker leaving Doctor Who along with showrunner Chris Chibnall

Jodie Whittaker as Doctor Who
(Image credit: BBC)

Jodie Whittaker and showrunner Chris Chibnall are leaving Doctor Who. 

Their departure will follow a six-part Event Serial this year, and three Specials in 2022. The third Special will be feature length – and the Thirteenth Doctor's final adventure. Executive producer Matt Strevens will also leave the show after the last Special. 

"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," Whittaker said. "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."

Chibnall commented: "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!"

Piers Wenger, Director of BBC Drama, added: "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."

While fan reception to Chibnall and Whittaker's run on the iconic sci-fi series has been mixed, their time in the TARDIS has still proven popular, netting two BAFTA Must See Moment nominations – and the 2020 series winning RadioTimes.com's Best Science Fiction Show award, beating the likes of The Mandalorian and The Boys.

Whittaker became the first female Doctor when she debuted in the 2017 Doctor Who Christmas special, and joined the series following Peter Capaldi's take on the character. There's no word yet on who Whittaker's successor could be, and with her tenure not wrapping until 2022, we might be waiting a while longer yet for another update.

Doctor Who returns for season 13 later this year, with the first Special landing New Year's Day 2022, the next in spring 2022, and the final Special, which will see the Thirteenth Doctor regenerate, in fall 2022.

Until then, check out our guide to the best sci-fi movies of all time.  

Molly Edwards

I'm a freelance Entertainment Writer here at GamesRadar+, covering all things film and TV for our Total Film and SFX sections. I previously worked on the Disney magazines team at Immediate Media, and also wrote on the CBeebies, MEGA!, and Star Wars Galaxy titles after getting my BA in English.