Jodie Whittaker’s portrayal of the 13th “Doctor Who” will come to an end in the first of three episodes starting tonight.
Whittaker, who completed filming her stint on the time-travel show in October 202, wraps up her on-screen iteration in three special episodes that roll out in the weeks to come, starting with tonight’s episode titled “Eve of the Daleks.”
“I’ve shot my version of regen, and it was singularly the most emotional day on set I think I’ve ever had,” Whittaker told Entertainment Weekly. “It’s a really bizarre feeling, because it’s the best time I’ve ever had on a job, and I made the decision to leave it, so it’s a really strange thing to do to yourself. It feels like you’re giving yourself stitches — like, ‘Why have you done it?’ But… it felt right.”
“It was a wonderfully-celebratory-slash-grief-ridden day that I could spend with the family that I’d made,” she added. “I suppose the best thing about it is that the episodes are still on. So until they’re off, I don’t have to really get my head around the fact that it’s not my part!”
Thirteen actors have played The Doctor since BBC One launched the series in 1963. Whittaker, the 13th in the lineup, is the first woman to take on the role. Traditionally, the Doctor “regenerates” and the part goes to a new actor. Despite much speculation by fans, the casting of the new Doctor has yet to be announced.
Along with Whittaker, showrunner Chris Chibnall will be leaving after the current season ends. He is to be replaced by Russell T. Davies. But the rotation to Davies as showrunner leaves the possibility for Whittaker to reprise her role one day, like past Doctors have.
“I’m very lucky he allowed me to have his number,” the British actress said of Davies. “For all the people to pass the baton to, I mean it’s an absolute honor and joy. It’s certainly in the safest and most exciting hands, and what a wonderful time for the show. Once you’re in [Doctor Who] you never want to leave. I suppose it gave me a bit of hope — like, ‘Oh, when you do leave, it doesn’t necessarily mean you leave forever.'”
When Whittaker’s exit was announced in July, she said:
“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. 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. 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. I know change can be scary and none of us know what’s out there. That’s why we keep looking. Travel Hopefully. The Universe will surprise you. Constantly.”