News, Culture & Society

BBC refuse to comment on Jodie Whittaker quitting Doctor Who claims

The BBC have refused to comment on speculation that Jodie Whittaker has quit her role as the 13th Time Lord on Doctor Who. 

It was reported on Sunday by The Mirror that Jodie had turned in her notice for the long-running sci-fi/adventure series after three years on the show 

A BBC spokesman told Digital Spy: ‘We won’t be commenting on any speculation around Jodie’s future on the show.’

Tight-lipped: The BBC have refused to comment on speculation that Jodie Whittaker has quit her role as the 13th Time Lord on Doctor Who (pictured 2018)

Tight-lipped: The BBC have refused to comment on speculation that Jodie Whittaker has quit her role as the 13th Time Lord on Doctor Who (pictured 2018)

Whittaker, 38, reportedly told BBC bosses that she won’t be returning to the popular series following the conclusion of the upcoming series 13.

That will mark a three-year run for the actress, which is about average for recent actors playing the time-traveling alien.

Matt Smith, David Tennant and Peter Capaldi also appeared on Doctor Who for three series each, while Christopher Eccleston only appeared on one series after the show was revived in 2005.

Moving on? The actress, 38, is said to have told bosses of the BBC sci-fi drama series that she won’t return after the forthcoming new series, and that they’ll need to start thinking about recasting the role of the Time Lord

Average: Whittaker will have had a three-series run at the end of her time, putting her in line with past Doctors David Tennant, Matt Smith and Peter Capaldi; still from Doctor Who

Average: Whittaker will have had a three-series run at the end of her time, putting her in line with past Doctors David Tennant, Matt Smith and Peter Capaldi; still from Doctor Who

Down to business: According to a source for The Mirror, the show is already at work on figuring out how Whittaker will be replaced by the Fourteenth Doctor; still from Doctor Who

Down to business: According to a source for The Mirror, the show is already at work on figuring out how Whittaker will be replaced by the Fourteenth Doctor; still from Doctor Who

According to a source for The Mirror, the show is already at work on figuring out how Whittaker will be replaced by the Fourteenth Doctor.

‘It’s all very hush-hush but it is known on set that Jodie is leaving and they are gearing up for a regeneration,’ a source said.

‘Her departure is top secret but at some point over the coming months the arrival of the 14th Doctor will need to be filmed. It’s very exciting.’

New work: The Black Mirror actress is reportedly interested in taking on new roles after being tied to the show the last few years; seen in January in New York City

New work: The Black Mirror actress is reportedly interested in taking on new roles after being tied to the show the last few years; seen in January in New York City

As with previous Doctors, at the end of Whittaker’s tenure her character will ‘regenerate’ into a new form, at which point the next actor will take over the role.

The Black Mirror actress is reportedly interested in taking on new roles after being tied to the show the last few years.

In January 2020, she told Entertainment Weekly: ‘I absolutely adore [the role]. At some point, these shoes are going to be handed on, but it’s not yet. I’m clinging on tight!’

Milestone: Whittaker made history in July 2017 when she was announced as the first-ever female doctor after Peter Capaldi ended his run; still from Doctor Who

Milestone: Whittaker made history in July 2017 when she was announced as the first-ever female doctor after Peter Capaldi ended his run; still from Doctor Who

Whittaker made history in July 2017 when she was announced as the first-ever female doctor after Peter Capaldi ended his run.

The role paired her up with showrunner Chris Chibnall, who had previously worked with her on the ITV crime series Broadchurch.    

He said after she was cast that he had always intended to introduce the first female Doctor, and that she was his first choice.

Of the fact that the Doctor would be female, Jodie said: ‘Doctor Who represents everything that’s exciting about change. The fans have lived through so many changes, and this is only a new, different one, not a fearful one.’

She made her first appearance in the 2017 Christmas special, Twice Upon A Time.

Her first full series ran from October-December 2018, with a New Year’s one-off at the start of 2019.

Jodie’s second season – the 12th of the revived era and 38th overall – aired January-March 2020.  

On Friday, a New Year’s 2021 special aired on BBC One, with the next full season set for later this year – presumably with a new Doctor taking over at the end of it.

The actor to play the role the longest was Tom Baker. He was the Fourth Doctor from 1974-1980, across seven seasons. 

Brand new: On Friday, a New Year's 2021 special aired on BBC One, with the next full season set for later this year - presumably with a new Doctor taking over at the end of it

Brand new: On Friday, a New Year’s 2021 special aired on BBC One, with the next full season set for later this year – presumably with a new Doctor taking over at the end of it

The actor to take on the role for the shortest length of time was Ninth Doctor Christopher Eccleston who appeared in just one season, in 2005.

Eccleston fronted the show as it was rebooted, following 16 years away from TV screens. Since then, David Tennant and Matt Smith have led the show.

Jodie’s first season as the Doctor averaged at almost 8 million viewers across the series, just shy of David Tennant’s final turn in the role.  

Her next season dropped to an average of 5.40 million. 

Last year, Jodie joined forces for the first time with ex-stars Tennant and Smith in a reunion for HBO Max, to reminisce together about their experiences on the iconic show.

Detailing the importance of being in a role that has been played by so many other actors, David admitted the show was ‘so precious’ to him.

‘There’s an expectation of what it will be like and what it actually is I suppose,’ he explained. ‘Growing up in Britain you’re very aware of Doctor Who as it has been ubiquitous in our lives even if it wasn’t on TV.

Outgoing: She took the role from the prior star of the show, Peter Capaldi, who played the iconic character from 2014-2017

Outgoing: She took the role from the prior star of the show, Peter Capaldi, who played the iconic character from 2014-2017

 ‘So when you realise it’s your turn you do kind of know what that means in terms of loss of anonymity, and the fact the first line of your obituary has almost certainly been written but I think that’s different to knowing what it feels like and carrying that around.

‘It’s a huge privilege and also feels very precious because people love it so much, and it means so much to people all through their lives, you just want to make sure you don’t break it. you want it to be special, precious and exciting for the next generation as it was for the old one.’

Matt then chimed in by saying: ‘I once had someone shout across the street, and I hadn’t shot a single frame, “don’t break Doctor Who!”‘  

Sharing a similar story, Jodie admitted: ‘When I was announced, and you haven’t shot anything have you, I got a girl come up to me in a cafe and I was so excited because I was like “it’s my demographic”, she was sixteen and said, “I really wanted it to be Ben Whishaw!”‘

Success: Jodie's first season as the Doctor averaged at almost 8 million viewers across the series, just shy of David Tennant's final turn in the role

Success: Jodie’s first season as the Doctor averaged at almost 8 million viewers across the series, just shy of David Tennant’s final turn in the role

Teasing her over the encounter, Matt claimed ‘everyone wanted Ben Whishaw’ while David joked that ‘he would have been really good.’

Going on to discuss what it’s been like in the role, Jodie went on: ‘Because I haven’t handed off so I’m still in that strange floating space where I own it, I’m not kicked out of the club yet. 

Going on to discuss what it’s been like in the role, Jodie went on: ‘Because I haven’t handed off so I’m still in that strange floating space where I own it, I’m not kicked out of the club yet.   

‘The thing I would say to the next person is the pressure of the history of the show is all made up in your own head, on set all the crew who have transitioned onto the show they are kind of excited and with you to bring something new because that is the beauty of this as a role. 

‘You’re not supposed to be recreating what someone did you’re supposed to take it. There is a pressure and an actor’s monologue for a long time, but when you’re in your doctor’s clothes and you’ve got your own friends in it feels in a weird way all that pressure disappears because it’s yours to play with.’

Talking about handing off the show, David said of his five-year tenure as the Tenth Doctor which ended in 2010: ‘You always know that’s coming because you know what you’re getting into. 

Groundbreaking: Jodie made history when she was announced as the Thirteenth (and first ever female) Doctor in July 2017

Groundbreaking: Jodie made history when she was announced as the Thirteenth (and first ever female) Doctor in July 2017

‘But it’s like what Jodie says, when you’re in it you’re like “yeah this is it, this is my TARDIS”, it is quite weird that it carries on without you.  

‘I was there on Matt’s first day and you’re kind of there and then Matt shows up and we say hello and have our photograph taken and then you walk off and they say right next, and the camera swings around to the next one. 

‘There this thought of “oh I think for a second I felt indispensable” but then that’s how that show works, and then you become part of the history of it.’

Matt then added: ‘I’ve got that picture David and I gave it to my granddad and you’re smiling at me as if like “you’ve got no idea” and I look like I’m peeing myself or something, I just look so nervous. 

‘The thing I miss, the one thing is the Christmas special, that’s just fantastic. It’s a great thing to pass on, it’s a great gift to go “good luck, don’t be too good!”‘

David went on: ‘It never goes away, it’s 15 years since I did it and I’m here today, it never goes away.’  

Is there a Doctor in the house? Last year, Jodie joined forces for the first time with ex-stars Tennant and Smith in a reunion for HBO Max, to reminisce together about their experiences on the iconic show

Is there a Doctor in the house? Last year, Jodie joined forces for the first time with ex-stars Tennant and Smith in a reunion for HBO Max, to reminisce together about their experiences on the iconic show

Gushing: Detailing the importance of being in a role that has been played by so many other actors, David admitted the show was 'so precious' to him

Gushing: Detailing the importance of being in a role that has been played by so many other actors, David admitted the show was ‘so precious’ to him

The trio also chatted about the memorabilia they have from the show, after eagle-eyed fans noticed David had a TARDIS in his garden during his show Staged.

Admitting it wasn’t a real one, David said it was made for his kids by their step-granddad who ‘got very into [the show] briefly and then they moved on like the fickle heart breakers that they are.’

Jodie said she had a few Funko Pops of the Thirteenth Doctor, while Matt admitted he had two Cybermen from the show.

Showing off the memorabilia to his fellow Time Lords, Matt claimed it was a parting gift which David joked he was ‘furious’ about given he didn’t get given anything. 

Whittaker’s departure comes after her costars Bradley Walsh and Tosin Cole ended their runs on Doctor Who with its New Year’s special. 

Doctor Who? All the actors who have played the Time Lord

The BBC’s hit Sci-fi show Doctor Who was first launched by the BBC in 1963. It chronicles the journey of a Time Lord called ‘The Doctor’.

He is first introduced after fleeing his home planet, Gallifrey.

The Doctor travels through time and space in his spaceship, called a TARDIS (Time And Relative Dimension In Space), which resembles a police box.

During his travels, The Doctor meets people and invites them to voyage with him. They are known as his companions. 

He also encounters several evil beings, such as Daleks and Cyberman, and is forced to defeat them sing minimal resources, such as his Sonic Screwdriver, as they try to destroy or take over other planets, including Earth.

As a Time Lord, The Doctor has the capacity to regenerate when he is wounded or dying. After regenerating, he takes on a new appearance and personality.

The concept of regenerating was added into the series after the First Doctor, William Hartnell, became ill and stepped down from his role. 

The first run of Doctor Who ended in 1989 before being revived in 2005 with Christopher Ecclestone as the Ninth Doctor. 

Below is the full list of the actors who have been cast as the Doctor from 1963 to 2017 – when Jodie Whittaker took over the coveted role.

Starting the legacy: The First Doctor William Hartnell (1963-1966)

Starting the legacy: The First Doctor William Hartnell (1963-1966)

Patrick Troughton (1966–1969)

Jon Pertwee (1970–1974)

Second and Third: Patrick Troughton (1966–1969) and Jon Pertwee (1970–1974)

Tom Baker (1974–1981)

Peter Davison (1981–1984)

Fourth and Fifth: Tom Baker (1974–1981) and Peter Davison (1981–1984)

Colin Baker (1984–1986)

Sylvester McCoy (1987–1989, 1996)

Sixth and Seventh: Colin Baker (1984–1986) and Sylvester McCoy (1987–1989, 1996)

Paul McGann (1996)

Christopher Eccleston (2005)

Eighth and Ninth: Paul McGann (1996) and Christopher Eccleston (2005)

David Tennant (2005-2010)

Matt Smith (2010-2013)

Tenth and Eleventh: David Tennant (2005-2010) and Matt Smith (2010-2013)

Twelfth: Peter Capaldi (2013 - 2017)

Twelfth: Peter Capaldi (2013 – 2017)

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk