BBC confirms announcement of “the new generation of Doctor Who” is coming soon

Doctor Who’s star and lead writer are off – but their replacements will be coming "in due course".

Jodie Whittaker in Doctor Who series 13 (BBC)

It’s official – Jodie Whittaker is leaving Doctor Who alongside series showrunner Chris Chibnall, with the pair set to depart the TARDIS next year after a six-part series in 2021 and a trio of specials in 2022.

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And the BBC has confirmed that the pair will be replaced in the coming months, assuaging any fan fears that the series could be “rested” or cancelled after Whittaker and Chibnall’s departure.

“We will announce plans for the new generation of Doctor Who in due course – watch this space!” the BBC said.

“[Though] with over a year of adventures to come, the Thirteenth Doctor still has plenty in store for fans.”

“I can’t imagine working with a more inspiring Doctor – so I’m not going to!” Chibnall added.

“I wish our successors – whoever the BBC and BBC Studios choose – as much fun as we’ve had. They’re in for a treat!”

Rumours of Whittaker’s departure had been rumbling for some months before the official announcement was made, with the likes of Michaela Coel, Jo Martin and Olly Alexander mooted as potential successors for the 39-year-old actor.

Doctor Who BBC
Chris Chibnall and producer Matt Strevens on the set of Doctor Who (BBC)

However, it was less clear at the time whether Chibnall would follow Whittaker off the show – and indeed, who could be in the frame to replace him if he did leave. Previously, regular Who contributors like Mark Gatiss or Toby Whithouse had been considered by many as potential showrunner material, but since Chibnall took over in 2017 neither has penned an episode, with both writer/actors moving on to other projects.

Within the current stable of Who writers, only a handful (including Vinay Patel and Pete McTighe) have written more than one episode, and it’s unclear whether the BBC would look within the current writing staff or elsewhere to find someone to take on the often demanding showrunner job.

In other words, the speculation isn’t just for who could replace Jodie Whittaker any more. Who is the new Chris Chibnall? Taking all bets…

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Doctor Who returns to BBC One this autumn. Want more? Check out our dedicated Sci-Fi page or our full TV Guide.