Whittaker to leave Doctor Who in 2022

Jodie Whittaker will bow out of Doctor Who after a new six-episode series later this year.
Jodie Whittaker will bow out of Doctor Who after a new six-episode series later this year.

Jodie Whittaker, the first woman to take on the lead role in sci-fi series Doctor Who, will be leaving the television show next year, the BBC says.

The British actress has portrayed The Doctor - a shape-shifting alien Time Lord played by men since the show first appeared on UK television screens in 1963 - since 2017.

The 39-year-old, who described the role as "the best job I have ever had," will feature in a six-part Event Serial in the northern hemisphere autumn as well as in three specials planned for next year.

Showrunner Chris Chibnall will also leave the production in 2022.

"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," Whittaker said in a statement.

"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... 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 played the show's 13th Doctor, a casting which when first announced sparked online debates.

Last year, she was voted the show's second most popular Doctor in a poll for listings magazine Radio Times.

Actor David Tennant came first.

Who will take over the role from Whittaker has yet to be announced.

Australian Associated Press