Jodie Whittaker leaving 'Doctor Who' after three seasons

LONDON: Actor Jodie Whittaker, the first woman to play the Time Lord in BBC’s “Doctor Who”, will exit the sci-fi series in 2022.

Whittaker, who has been playing the 13th doctor since 2017, will leave after her third season.

The actor will appear in a six-part event serial as well as three specials before departing the series, BBC said in a statement on Friday.

Besides Whittaker, showrunner Chris Chibnall is also leaving the long-running series.

“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,” said Whittaker.

“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,” she added.

The 39-year-old actor said Chibnall and she made the decision to leave the show together.

“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,” Whittaker added.

Chibnall concurred with the actor and said that they had 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,” he added.

The 13th series of “Doctor Who” will air towards the end of 2021.

The three specials will follow in 2022 starting on January 1 with a spring and fall special also in the works.