The news is out. The current incumbent of the role of The Doctor (or Doctor Who, as some people call the character), Jodie Whittaker, is leaving the show in 2022, after five years in the role; having first been announced back in 2017. Not only will we be getting a new Doctor, there will also be a new show-runner, with Chris Chibnall also stepping down at the same time.
The announcement was only made yesterday but already forums are abuzz with that age-old question when it comes to Doctor Who: Who are they going to cast as the next Doctor? People are also speculating on who the new show-runner will be (Peter McTighe, Kate Herron and Nina Metivier being some of the names suggested as Chibnall's successor).
This is always a funny time when it comes to being a fan of Doctor Who. On the one hand, you feel sad that the actor will be leaving the show and thus their incarnation of the Doctor will be no more. On the other hand, you feel excited about what's coming next. I don't mind telling you that while I was sad that Matt Smith was leaving, I screamed with delight when Capaldi was revealed as his successor.
My thoughts about the Chibnall/Whittaker era are that while I think Jodie is a great actress, and I was delighted when they announced the first female to play the role of the Doctor, I found myself less excited about the show, certainly during Jodie's first season in the role. It wasn't to do with the performances or the visuals, more the behind the scenes machinations. As a friend said to me recently, we've been rather spoiled with first Russell T. Davies and then Steven Moffat in charge.
That's not to say there's not been some cracking episodes and performances during this current era. The Woman Who Fell To Earth was a great introduction to Thirteen and the new TARDIS team. It had a fantastically-grotesque villain, and was also quite moving near the end of the episode. And what a cliffhanger! There was also Rosa, Kerblam, and It Takes You Away.
Season 2 seemed to up its game considerably, with the enjoyable, action-packed Spyfall two-parter. It was the first time since Thirteen's debut where I'd rewatched soon after the second part had been broadcast. Fugitive of the Judoon was ballsy and brilliant (another one I rewatched; this time immediately after broadcast), adding another layer to the mythology and mystery of the Doctor. The Haunting of Villa Diodati was superb with the strange goings-on. And yes, I'll even say I enjoyed The Timeless Children, quite a controversial episode amongst some Doctor Who fans. Maybe it's because I've not watched a whole lot of the Classic era yet, I enjoyed the episode a lot.
In fact, thinking over the post-2005 era of Doctor Who, I'd perhaps rate Series 12 a little higher than Series 2 (I'm afraid I was never a fan of Ten and Rose) for sheer enjoyment. A controversial opinion, I know!
When they finally reveal who is going to be the Fourteenth Doctor, and new show-runner, is anyone's guess. I can't wait! But in the meantime, let's look forward to the upcoming (though sadly shortened) Series 13 and 2022 specials, and appreciate Thirteen while we still have her.