Doctor Who Cuttings Archive

The Doctor's Out!

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2022-10-22 TV & Satellite Week.jpg


Jodie Whittaker makes her final appearance as the Time Lord in a special episode featuring some familiar faces

After four years at the helm of the TARDIS, Jodie Whittaker steps down from Doctor Who in this week's feature-length special The Power of the Doctor.

Airing as part of the BBC's centenary celebrations, the episode features the return of some of the Doctor's most fearsome foes including the Daleks, the Cybermen and the Master (Sacha Dhawan) as well as the much-anticipated reappearance of former companions Tegan (Janet Fielding) and Ace (Sophie Aldred).

'I would say the Whovians are in for an absolute treat, says Whittaker. 'We celebrate the old, the present and the new. It's a wonderful homage to the legacy that Doctor Who has had, and it encapsulates all the things that the fans love about Doctor Who - whether it be old monsters, returning characters or new elements. Everything that unites Whovians is in this episode!'


As well as being the Thirteenth Doctor's swansong, The Power of the Doctor also marks the end of the road for current companions Yasmin Khan (Mandip Gill) and Dan Lewis (John Bishop) - and with the Doctor and Yaz having admitted to their romantic feelings for each other in the previous episode, Legend of the Sea Devils, it's sure to be an emotional parting.

'Jodie and I had real emotions flowing: reveals Gill, 34. 'It will be something I remember for the rest of my days, as we all knew it was the end of a beautiful chapter.'

While the episode features multiple encounters with the Doctor's enemies, it's her final battle with the Master that's set to have galaxy-shattering consequences, and Whittaker was delighted to have Dhawan back on set for the conclusion to their characters' journeys.

'A lot of my favourite scenes throughout my tenure have been with Sacha, so being told he would be part of my final episode was an absolute joy, says Whittaker. 'I don't feel it would have served my Doctor to not have the moment of resolution and heartbreak with him.

'What I love about Sacha's Master, and what I think is important, is that he's so broken and actually it's not just two-dimensional evil. It's got so many layers, and there's such a vulnerability to him that it makes things so much more complicated for the Doctor:


For Whittaker, who received acclaim for her performances in Broadchurch, Trust Me and an episode of Black Mirror prior to inheriting the role of the Doctor from Peter Capaldi in 2017, her time in the TARDIS has helped her embrace the lighter side of life both on- and off-camera.

'I'm not a method actor, I don't stay in character between scenes, but I spent a lot of time before I played the Doctor doing quite emotionally traumatised roles,' she says.

'A lot of the time, filming was amazing and fun to do, but you were always on the brink of upset. With Doctor Who, there was heartbreak, there was fear and there was loss, but I always felt like the overriding thing the Doctor brought was curiosity and excitement. Obviously fear, rage and all those things, but the thing that encapsulated my Doctor the most was that bouncing into things.

'That really fed into my evening, and my weekend, and my year I feel like it's knocked 15 years off me because I've been so energised. I'll miss the energy of the Doctor!'

While Whittaker, 40, is sad about leaving a role of a lifetime behind, she's looking forward to watching the next series as a fan again.

'I'm really excited to not know any spoilers!' she enthuses. 'I cannot wait to see it in real time and go: "You are kidding me!" - and I don't have the stress of keeping the secrets!'


Whittaker's departure inevitably means a regeneration, and we'll soon get our first glimpse of Sex Education star Ncuti Gatwa as the Doctor. Gatwa is expected to make his debut in the 14th series, likely in 2024, under returning showrunner Russell T Davies, following three special episodes next year that see the return of former stars David Tennant and Catherine Tate as the Doctor and companion Donna Noble.

'This role and this show means so much to so many around the world, including myself,' says Gatwa, 30. 'Each one of my incredibly talented predecessors has handled that unique responsibility and privilege with the utmost care. I will endeavour my utmost to do the same. Unlike the Doctor, I may only have one heart, but I am giving it all to this show.'


The Power of the Doctor marks the return of two much-loved companions — Tegan (Janet Fielding) and Ace (Sophie Aldred), who made their last on-screen appearances in 1984 and 1989 respectively. While neither had anticipated making a comeback, both required little persuading.

'I got a call from my agent, and when I put the phone down, I burst into tears — the call I didn't realise I'd been waiting for all these years,' says Aldred.

Although it's been over 30 years since either of them last set foot in the TARDIS, they were keen to show that their alter egos still had what it takes to save the world.

'I didn't anticipate that it would be anything other than a tiny cameo,' says Fielding. 'And it wasn't!

'Tegan and Ace know something is happening, and that it's likely to be alien — and they are investigating.'


The Doctor with Tegan (left) and Ace

Mandip Gill as Yaz

Ncuti Gatwa is the next Time Lord

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