Rumour: Series 12 in 2019, Chibnall & Whittaker Leaving After?

It’s Doctor Who rumour overload this weekend. Long-running sci-fi magazine Starburst kicked things off reporting a couple of interesting updates on Jodie Whittaker’s second series, which was last understood to be in pre-production.

First, Starburst Magazine claims that a BBC source has told them that Series 12 will indeed air in 2019, and not be delayed until 2020 as per the original Mirror rumour.

They state:

The BBC was happy to go on the record about the programme’s short-term future. There had been a lot of chatter about Jodie Whittaker’s second run in Series 12 being planned for a broadcast in the spring of 2020, rather than in the autumn of 2019 as everyone had originally assumed. This is not true.

We were told that Series 12 went into production this week, and that it will definitely be broadcast next year, as part of the autumn 2019 TV schedule.

Second, is the potential short-lived futures of both Jodie Whittaker and Chris Chibnall in their respective roles as Doctor and showrunner.

They continue:

… new showrunner Chris Chibnall hasn’t been happy behind the scenes, and is set to quit after Series 12.

We can only speculate as to his possible reasons – if indeed the story is true – but Chibnall told us quite firmly in January 2013 that he didn’t want the showrunner job, and it’s possible after the success of Broadchurch that the BBC pursued him for it against his better wishes. Or simply that he changed his mind.

Either way, if there is any truth to this rumour then it’s also been said that Jodie Whittaker would not want to continue on as the Doctor without Chibnall at the helm, and would leave at the same time as he did.

Further, fansite Outpost Skaro then alleged that there will only be five or six episodes in 2019, followed by a Christmas special. An apparent result of a BBC demand for at least a series a year, with Chibnall compromising to make a shorter run. Chibnall will apparently leave after Series 12 though as he believes a “full series-a-year is unsustainable”.

Backing up Starburst Magazine, they claim Jodie Whittaker will likely leave with Chibnall as “a series-a-year will be too much for the young mum so is likely to hand over the keys to the TARDIS, as is tradition, next Christmas.”

They add that Bradley Walsh and Tosin Cole are “unlikely to continue on as regular” companions. While Mandip Gill’s status is unknown.

Finally, “if new showrunners can’t be found by early 2019 Chibnall may have to produce a full 10 episodes for s12 which will be split between 2019 and 2020 until the new team get traction on their own take.”

As usual with rumours of this nature, take with a pinch of salt until we hear a BBC announcement on official channels.