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Jodie Whittaker is to step down from the lead role in Doctor Who, the BBC has confirmed.

Jodie Whittaker, the first woman to play the The Doctor, along with showrunner Chris Chibnall, are leaving the show in Autumn of 2022. Whittaker will star in a six-part series later this year, and three specials next year, before she exits. The series will be a first since the show’s return to television in 2005, in that the six episodes will tell one story.

In a statement, Whittaker paid tribute to Chibnall and the Doctor Who team, adding: “I will carry the Doctor and the lessons I’ve learnt forever. In 2017 I opened my glorious gift box of size 13 shoes,” Whittaker said. “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.”

Chris Chibnall and Jodie Whittaker
image captionShowrunner Chris Chibnall is also exiting in 2022, alongside Whittaker

There has been no word on who will take over from either Chibnall or Whittaker when the time comes.

Chibnall, who appointed the actress to replace Peter Capaldi in the role, has been in charge of the BBC One series since 2017. It was he who cast Whittaker as the first female Doctor, but it was also Chibnall who brought in Tosin Cole as Ryan, Mandip Gill (Yaz) and Bradley Walsh (Graham).

For her final series, Whittaker will once again be joined by Mandip Gill as Yaz, and comedian John Bishop, who will play a new character named Dan.

Chibnall is currently writing and producing the next series of Doctor Who, which will air later this year. It will be followed by three specials, the first of which will be broadcast on New Year’s Day 2022, with another later in spring 2022.

In 2020, Whittaker was voted second most popular Doctor of all-time in a poll of 50,000 fans for the Radio Times, losing out to David Tennant.

John Bishop
Comedian John Bishop will also appear in the forthcoming series

‘Three seasons and out’

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.”

He added: “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!”

-30-

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