Jodie Whittaker and showrunner Chris Chibnall may be leaving Doctor Who in 2019. The classic BBC show went through quite a lot of changes this year, as Whittaker was cast as the first female Doctor, and Chibnall stepped in as executive producer for season 11. Chibnall had previously written for older seasons of the show, starting with the episode titled “42” in season 3. Whittaker on the other hand, first started working on the show for season 11 in the episode “Twice Upon a Time”.
While the eleventh season has gotten small criticisms, such as not including a Christmas Special and having the Doctor call her co-travelers “friends” rather than companions, the new season has been doing fantastic with fans and critics. Whittaker’s first appearance as the Doctor set the record for being the most-watched modern debut of a Doctor, and has also been getting record-breaking reviews. Despite some people being concerned about the Doctor being a woman, the show has so far proven critics wrong and gone on to be a success. That being said, the success with Whittaker and Chibnall may not last long.
According to Comic Book, a report from the British sci-fi magazine Starburst is indicating that Chibnall will leave Doctor Who, since he doesn’t like how the show is being run behind-the-scenes. The report also claims that if Chibnall departs from the series, Whittaker will go with him due to their prior working relationship on the program Broadchurch. The fansite Outpost Skaro is also reporting that Chibnall will only be working on a handful of episodes in season 12 if BBC is able to find another showrunner. While these reports aren’t impossible to believe, they should be taken as rumors since Chibnall, Whittaker, and BBC have yet to comment.
Season 11 initially got criticism before it even aired, but many people are now enjoying the direction the show is heading. Season 11 has already started to fix tired formula problems, and introduced more storylines with historical figures, such as the Rosa Parks episode. The show hasn’t completely forgotten what the show did before either, by referencing Matt Smith and David Tennant episodes while slowly starting to change the Doctor’s backstory.
If Chibnall, and more importantly Whittaker, are actually going to be leaving the show in 2019, it will significantly change what happens in the next season of the show. Not only could the writing change be noticed by fans, but the story will have to ultimately lead to the Doctor regenerating at the end of season 12. While finding a new showrunner will be a challenge enough for BBC, casting a whole new Doctor will present it’s own problems, since the decision could once again divide fans. That being said, fans should still take this news with a grain of salt, since it could turn out to be just a rumor.
Doctor Who season 11 continues with “The Witchfinders” November 25 on BBC.