Jodie Whittaker, the first woman to take on the lead role in sci-fi series Doctor Who, will be leaving the television show next year, the BBC says.
The British actress has portrayed The Doctor – a shape-shifting alien Time Lord played by men since the show first appeared on UK television screens in 1963 – since 2017.
The 39-year-old, who described the role as “the best job I have ever had,” will feature in a six-part Event Serial in the northern hemisphere autumn as well as in three specials planned for next year.
Showrunner Chris Chibnall will also leave the production in 2022.
“In 2017 I opened my glorious gift box of size 13 shoes. I could not have guessed the brilliant adventures, worlds and wonders I was to see in them,” Whittaker said in a statement.
“My heart is so full of love for this show, for the team who make it, for the fans who watch it and for what it has brought to my life… I don’t think I’ll ever be able to express what this role has given me. I will carry the Doctor and the lessons I’ve learnt forever.”
Whittaker played the show’s 13th Doctor, a casting which when first announced sparked online debates.
Last year, she was voted the show’s second most popular Doctor in a poll for listings magazine Radio Times.
Actor David Tennant came first.
Who will take over the role from Whittaker has yet to be announced.