There’s always a mixture of sadness and anticipation when a Doctor departs, and this time that feeling is heightened. Not only are lead actor Jodie Whittaker and showrunner Chris Chibnall leaving Doctor Who, but Chibnall is being replaced by former showrunner Russell T Davies, and the show itself will be produced by Bad Wolf Productions starting in season 14. Before that, we still have two specials with Whittaker to enjoy, including a finale that will coincide with the BBC’s centenary.
Executive producer Matt Strevens is also on his way out. Writing in the latest edition of Doctor Who Magazine, Strevens says that initially, Whittaker’s Doctor wasn’t going to get as many specials. “When they approached Chris, saying ‘We’d love you to do one more – we know the production schedule’s really tight, but what do you think about doing a special for the centenary of the BBC?’, it was a no-brainer,” Strevens said. “The fact the BBC asked us for it to be part of their centenary celebrations – I think that just underlines the iconic nature of the show.”
The first of the two remaining specials, “Legend of the Sea Devils,” will air this spring.
Jodie Whittaker’s Doctor Who regeneration will be “massive”
We know very little about the final special, but most expect that it will put a bow on the era and tie together threads and themes introduced over the past few years; Sacha Dhawan’s Master and Jo Martin’s Fugitive Doctor are both likely to return. Mandip Gill (Yaz) will star alongside Whittaker in the episode, making her one of the few companions to last for a Doctor’s entire run.
“The final story is a massive, feature-length epic – it was huge to shoot – with lots of surprises for fans of all ages,” Strevens said. “Jodie gets a really good send-off. I think it will push everybody’s buttons.”
Stevens’ comments indicate that the episode is likely to be longer than the usual 55-60 minutes. “The Day of the Doctor,” which celebrated the show’s 50th anniversary in 2013, was 77 minutes.
“Jodie’s also very excited about who the next incumbent of the TARDIS is,” Strevens said. “There’s that great thing, I think, of being able to hand the baton on. That’s lovely for each actor who plays the part – you’re a custodian and, like all of us who make the show, you want to make sure you’ve left it in a good enough place to continue… It meant a lot to Jodie to know that she would regenerate – it’s lovely to pass that on.”
While production on Doctor Who‘s fourteenth season is already underway, there’s still yet no word on who will play the next Doctor, although the decision has very likely already been made. Names linked with the role include David Tennant, Lydia West, Omari Douglas, Olly Alexander and Michael Sheen.
Doctor Who will return to screens shortly for “Legend of the Sea Devils,” with an exact date yet to be announced. Doctor Who Magazine 575 is in stores now.