Oh, brilliant! Jodie Whittaker has confirmed that she will return to play the Doctor for the 12th season of Doctor Who, putting to rest rumors that she and new showrunner Chris Chibnall might be departing the series early.
Whittaker, the first woman to play the Doctor in the show's decades-long history, told The Hollywood Reporter: "I really can’t wait to step back in and get to work again. It’s such an incredible role. It's been an extraordinary journey so far and I'm not quite ready to hand it over yet."
Now, rumors that Chibnall and Whittaker may leave sometime later next year could still prove true. But for now, fans of the duo can rest easy knowing that they’ll be back to work on a new season.
The critical response to Doctor Who's 11th season and Whittaker's portrayal of the quasi-immortal time-traveling alien has been overwhelmingly positive, with most critics being won over by Whittaker's charm and energy. The episodes “Rosa,” “Demons of the Punjab,” and “It Takes You Away” in particular brought in very good notices from reviewers (“It Takes You Away” currently has a 100% "freshness" rating on Rotten Tomatoes).
And although ratings for Whittaker’s debut season of Doctor Who have declined since its premiere episode, they’ve remained strong. Season 11’s premiere episode, “The Woman Who Fell to Earth,” drew in 10.54 million consolidated viewers over the course of the week it debuted, beating out the ratings for “The Eleventh Hour” (Matt Smith’s first full adventure as the 11th Doctor, with 10.08 million viewers), “The Christmas Invasion” (David Tennant’s first full episode as the 10th Doctor, with 9.84 million), and “Deep Breath” (Peter Capaldi’s debut adventure as the 12th Doctor, with 9.17 million).
Season 11's eighth episode, "The Witchfinders," drew in more than 7 million consolidated viewers.
A report from Vulture reveals that, per Nielsen, the current season is averaging 1.6 million viewers on BBC America over the course of its first eight episodes, up 20% from the previous season (when Capaldi was in the role).
Doctor Who airs its season finale, "The Battle of Ranskoor Av Kolos," on Sunday on BBC America, then returns for a New Year's Day special. Production on Season 12 is scheduled to begin early next year.