Current Doctor Who star Jodie Whittaker has given her first interview since rumours began that she was leaving the series behind, with various reports suggesting the 39-year-old actor (as of last week – happy birthday Jodie!) is due to hand in her sonic screwdriver at the end of the next series or shortly afterwards.
Unsurprisingly for the secretive world of Who, Whittaker didn’t directly touch on the rumours during the Q&A alongside co-star Mandip Gill but the pair did drop a few interesting hints about how adept they’ve become at keeping secrets generally, especially when it came to big recastings or series exits.
“I don’t find it that difficult to keep a secret,” Gill told Doctor Who Magazine in a virtual interview filmed on the set of series 13.
“I don’t either. You get used to it,” agreed Whittaker. “I hate spoilers.”
“Quite often, we really don’t know what’s going to happen [in future episodes] because we aren’t told. It’s a really good system! Sometimes, when I find out what’s going to happen, I’m like, ‘I’m so glad you didn’t tell me that!’
“When Tosin [Cole] and Brad [Walsh] left, the one thing I kept getting asked was, ‘Are you staying on?’” Gill added. “I didn’t know what to say, so I just kept saying, ‘Who knows?’”
Clearly, as a pair, they’ve become pretty adept at sidestepping such awkward questions – and apparently it’s a lesson Whittaker learned early on, forced to keep her initial casting as the Thirteenth Doctor under wraps even from those close to her.
“The hardest secret to keep was my own!” she said. “That was a really long time in my life – the gap between auditioning to play the Doctor, being given it, and it being announced.
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Jodie Whittaker and Mandip Gill answer your questions!— Doctor Who Magazine (@DWMtweets) June 22, 2021
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“I didn’t want it to leak; I didn’t have any desire for it to come out before the reveal, because I knew my life was going to change and I was in no rush for that to happen until I was prepared for it.
“But professionally, I was the only person in my team that knew I’d been cast. I’d be sent auditions and I’d go, [faux diva voice] ‘I’m really sorry, I don’t really want to put myself up for that.’ I very nearly said ‘I’ve been cast!’ I nearly said that a hundred times. But I didn’t. It was hard, but it was worth it. And it was practice for keeping all the series’ other secrets.”
In other words, when it comes to Doctor Who secrets, Whittaker is a steel trap – so don’t expect her to let slip any details about her eventual departure, even if the rumours of her exit are completely true.
If we do want to know for sure, it looks like we’ll just have to wait for series 13…