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Doctor Who 2022 specials: Release date speculation, cast, plot and latest news

Jodie Whittaker’s final two episodes are coming, and here’s what we can expect.

Doctor Who
Published: Monday, 10th January 2022 at 5:59 pm

It's the end, but the moment has been prepared for.

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Jodie Whittaker’s Doctor Who journey is coming to an end, with two final specials in 2022 set to wrap up her time-travelling adventures (along with series showrunner Chris Chibnall, who departs with her).

First up, there’s Spring special Legend of the Sea Devils, which sees the return of classic series monsters (you guessed it) The Sea Devils, followed by the autumnal centenary special which will include Whittaker’s regeneration.

“I can’t give anything away, but I can tell you that it’s going to be an absolutely spectacular episode with a lot of visual effects,” VFX maestro Emily Lawrence told Doctor Who magazine of Whittaker’s final episode.

But what do we know about these last two episodes, when they’re airing on TV and who’s lined up as the next Doctor? Check out regularly updated news and releases below:

When is Doctor Who: Legend of the Sea Devils on TV?

Doctor Who

Ji-Hun (Arthur Lee) in Legend of the Sea Devils

While there is no official airdate for Legend of the Sea Devils just yet, the BBC has confirmed that the episode will come to TV in Spring 2022.

We’d take an educated guess that they’re aiming to show the episode over the Easter weekend (either on Easter Sunday or the bank holiday Monday), which means we can probably expect to see the Doctor’s high seas adventure on either Sunday 17th April or Monday 18th April.

When is Jodie Whittaker’s final Doctor Who episode and regeneration?

Jodie Whittaker’s last adventure as the Doctor also serves as a special centenary special for the BBC, celebrating 100 years of the broadcaster’s existence.

The centenary itself takes place on Tuesday 18th October, so it seems likely the Doctor Who special will air around that date – probably the same week, if not the day itself.

Doctor Who: Legend of the Sea Devils cast

Doctor Who

Ying Ki (Marlowe Chan-Reeves) in Legend of the Sea Devils

Jodie Whittaker is back as the Thirteenth Doctor and Mandip Gill will return as companion Yasmin Khan in both specials, with John Bishop also returning for Legend of the Sea Devils at least (but possibly not playing a major role in the centenary episode).

Legend of the Sea Devils will include guest stars Crystal Yu, Arthur Lee and Marlowe Chan-Reeves as Madame Ching, Ji-Hun and Ying Ki.

Of course, the episode also features those dreaded Sea Devils themselves too.

Doctor Who: Legend of the Sea Devils plot

Doctor Who

Madam Ching (Crystal Yu) in Legend of the Sea Devils

The story of Legend of the Sea Devils delves into the real-life history of “Pirate Queen” Madame Ching, while also reviving the classic series monsters the Sea Devils for the first time since 1984. A synopsis released by the BBC reads:

This episode finds the Doctor (Jodie Whittaker), Yaz (Mandip Gill) and Dan (John Bishop) in 19th century China, where a small coastal village is under threat – from both the fearsome pirate queen Madame Ching (Crystal Yu) and a monstrous alien force which she unwittingly unleashes.

Doctor Who

A Sea Devil in Legend of the Sea Devils

Will the Doctor, Yaz and Dan emerge from this swashbuckling battle with the Sea Devils to save the planet?

We also expect the episode to pick up from THAT reveal from Yaz during Eve of the Daleks, which our very own Molly Moss had some thoughts about.

Finally, the episode will surely lay the groundwork for the centenary special and we would not be surprised if a cliffhanger leads into the special.

Doctor Who Centenary special cast

Sacha Dhawan as The Master - Doctor Who _ Season 12, Episode 10 - Photo Credit: James Pardon/BBC Studios/BBC America

Sacha Dhawan is expected to return as The Master in Doctor Who's centenary special

Of course, Jodie Whittaker will return as The Thirteenth Doctor opposite Mandip Gill as Yasmin Khan.

No guest cast has been confirmed for the centenary special – however, it’s been rumoured that Bradley Walsh may make a cameo as Graham O’Brien alongside John Bishop’s Dan Lewis after both actors were spotted near the filming of the show in 2021.

Sacha Dhawan is also expected to return as the villain The Master for Jodie Whittaker’s final episode as the main antagonist, as was hinted by the series 13 finale.

Finally, of course, whoever succeeds Whittaker in the role of the Doctor will also likely appear in the closing scene of the episode.

Doctor Who centenary special plot

Jodie Whittaker as The Doctor, Sacha Dhawan as The Master - Doctor Who _ Season 12, Episode 10

Jodie Whittaker as The Doctor and Sacha Dhawan as The Master during the season 12 finale

Specific plot details for the centenary special have yet to be released by the BBC – however, it’s expected that this episode will wrap up The Division/Timeless Child storyline that’s run throughout Jodie Whittaker’s time in the series, while also bringing back Sacha Dhawan’s master for one final clash.

A rather vague plot synopsis was released in November 2021, but it doesn’t give much away:

Having faced many perilous journeys battling some of the most feared monsters throughout space and time, it’s the final instalment for the Thirteenth Doctor.

This epic blockbuster special will see the Doctor fight evil across the galaxy one last time but just who will she come up against in her final battle before the Doctor regenerates once more…

Who will be the next Doctor in Doctor Who?

It’s currently unknown who will succeed Jodie Whittaker as the Time Lord, with bookies’ and fans’ favourites for the role including Lydia West, Fisayo Akinade, Olly Alexander, T’Nia Miller and Omari Douglas.

Presumably, the new Doctor will be revealed when Jodie Whittaker regenerates in October 2022, in which case we’re likely to know their identity some months before. For comparison, Jodie Whittaker’s first appearance was on Christmas Day 2017, five months after she was announced in the role.

Lydia West

It's A Sin star Lydia West has been suggested as a potential candidate to replace Whittaker

Peter Capaldi’s unveiling was a similar distance before his first appearance (just under five months), while other Doctors have had even longer a run-up – Matt Smith was revealed as the Eleventh Doctor a year before he appeared onscreen.

With all that in mind (and this is just an educated guess), it seems likely that the new Doctor is likely to be announced around April/May 2022 – possibly sometime after Legend of the Sea Devils, or slightly before.

Assuming, of course, that the next Doctor is unveiled in the centenary special. Some rumours have it that the episode will end on a cliffhanger as Whittaker regenerates, with upcoming showrunner Russell T Davies preferring to keep the next Doctor under wraps a little longer. Anything is possible…

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Doctor Who returns to BBC One this Spring for Legend of the Sea Devils. For more, check out our dedicated Sci-Fi page or our full TV Guide.

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