It's official: Jodie Whittaker is leaving Doctor Who, with showrunner Chris Chibnall also set to depart the series in 2022.


Whittaker's departure had been rumoured for several months, though Chibnall's future with the BBC sci-fi series was less certain – until now.

Both star and showrunner will bow out following a six-part series (set to air later in 2021), two specials (already planned for 2022), plus one final feature-length adventure for the Thirteenth Doctor which will also mark the BBC's centenary next year.

In a statement, Chibnall said: "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!

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“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!"

Whittaker, who was cast as the first female incarnation of the Doctor in 2017, said: "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."

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Piers Wenger, Director of BBC Drama, paid tribute to both Chibnall and Whittaker, saying the pair have "made Doctor Who history" with their time on the show "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."

Whittaker and Chibnall's first episode, The Woman Who Fell to Earth, aired in October 2018. For her first two series, the Thirteenth Doctor was accompanied by companions Yaz (Mandip Gill), Graham (Bradley Walsh) and Ryan (Tosin Cole). Walsh and Cole departed the series in 2021's New Year's Day special Revolution of the Daleks, with comedian and actor John Bishop set to join Whittaker and Gill for the upcoming series 13 as new companion Dan Lewis.

Chibnall's era on the show is also notable for having introduced a new incarnation of the Master (played by Sacha Dhawan) and the enigmatic Fugitive Doctor (Jo Martin), and for radically reinventing the Doctor's origins in 2020 episode The Timeless Children.

Whittaker was voted the show's second most popular Doctor of all time in a 2020 poll, coming second to David Tennant's Tenth Doctor. Doctor Who was also voted Best Science Fiction Show of 2020 by Radio readers, beating out competition from The Mandalorian, Lucifer and The Boys.

Read more: BBC confirms announcement of "the new generation of Doctor Who" is coming soon


Doctor Who will return to BBC One later in 2021 – visit our Sci-fi hub for more news and features or find something to watch with our TV Guide.