It looks like the end is nigh for another Doctor as Jodie Whittaker looks set to step into the TARDIS for her last time in two upcoming Doctor Who specials before handing over the reigns to her yet to be announced replacement. The rumors began earlier in the year that Whittaker, who plays the 13th incarnation of the Time Lord, was ready to step down, having served a similar three year stint in the role as predecessors Peter Capaldi, Matt Smith and David Tennant - although Tennant stayed on beyond his third season for a year's worth of specials which extended his tenure. Today as fans of the actress celebrated her birthday on Twitter, it seems that, as suspected, her remaining time as The Doctor is running short.
Jodie Whittaker took over the role back in 2018 in a storm of publicity for being the first female to take the lead in the show in its 55 year history. Fan opinion was mixed on the appointment and while some have since come around to her take on the character, there are just as many who still cannot quite get on board with either her version of the Doctor, or the writing, which has frequently been called tired, boring and focusing too much on long, social commentary monologues and not the time-travelling, alien-invasion action that has kept the series going so long.
The new season of Doctor Who, which will be the 13th of the new era, is currently filming, with an expected season premiere of late August. It is expected that filming on the two new specials will take place almost immediately after shooting wraps on season 13, but we won't be seeing those new episodes until at least summer next year. Holding back the new episodes will give the BBC, who produce the series, a chance to find their next replacement, who usually puts in an appearance in the final episode of a Doctor's run.
So the big question for fans, and no doubt producers, is who will be replacing Whittaker in the role. Would they revert back having a male actor take on the role again immediately after their first female, or would bringing in another female seem like an obvious equality push? There are a lot of discussions to be had, and with so many poised at their keyboards to take offense regardless of who takes on the role, I don't think anyone envies the job of the producers and casting team right now.
While these are the last times we will see Whittaker in the role permanently, it is only two years until the 60th anniversary of the show, a milestone that is likely to bring with it another multi-Doctor turnout similar to the 50th Anniversary in 2013, and will likely feature Whittaker's Doctor in some capacity alongside her fellow recent counterparts. It may be far too early for any kind of real information to be known about what the BBC has planned for the Time Lord's anniversary, but it will hopefully make up to those fans who have been disappointed with the show in the last few years.
Meanwhile, those who have stuck with Whittaker's portrayal of The Doctor came out in a show of love and support on the star's 37th birthday, posting a number of well wishes on Twitter. Here are a selection of some of them.