Jodie Whittaker has confirmed that she will extend her run as the Doctor through Doctor Who Season 12.
While Whittaker’s return was expected, she wouldn’t be the first Doctor Who star to depart after a single season. Now she’s told The Hollywood Reporter that she’ll be back for more adventures in 2019.
"I really can’t wait to step back in and get to work again," Whittaker said. "It’s such an incredible role. It's been an extraordinary journey so far and I'm not quite ready to hand it over yet."
Whittaker is the first woman to play the Doctor in Doctor Who’s 55-year history. Her debut earlier this year coincided with a big rating spike for the BBC science fiction series.
While we now know Whittaker is returning for Season 12, there are still rumors circulating that both she and showrunner Chris Chibnall will exit in 2019 following the new season. A previous report suggested that Chibnall has not been happy with the way the show has been run behind-the-scenes and was looking to depart next year. The rumor also suggested Whittaker would exit with him.
Chibnall’s planned departure may be causing some creative improvisation around how Doctor Who Season 12 will be structured. The BBC currently demands that a full series of 10 episodes be released every year. Chibnall reportedly believes that schedule is untenable.
The Doctor Who fansite Outpost Skaro reported that Chibnall and the BBC have come to a compromise that would have Chibnall oversee five or six episodes plus a Christmas Special in 2019. But if the BBC is unable to find a new showrunner in time, the responsibility to oversee the remaining four or five episodes would fall back onto Chibnall in 2020, resulting in a split season.
The Outpost Skaro report suggests that the full series every year schedule isn’t working for Whittaker either. Whittaker had her first child in 2015 and the report suggests that her desire to spend more time with her young child could lead Whittaker towards ending her run early, most likely during the 2019 Christmas special.
The BBC has not commented on these rumors. If the decision for Chibnall and Whittaker to leave is made, the news will likely break officially before their final season premieres.1comments
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Doctor Who airs Sundays at 8 p.m. ET on BBC America.