Jodie Whittaker Doctor Who, when will Doctor Who return?
(Image credit: Getty)

When will Doctor Who return and who will replace Jodie Whittaker as The Doctor?

Fans had the first sightings of a trailer for the upcoming season 13 of Doctor Who, during which the Doctor hacked into the BBC's Saturday night broadcast of Strictly Come Dancing 2021 (opens in new tab), asking “can you hear me?”.

The 2021 season of Doctor Who will be shorter than usual as it will be Jodie Whittaker's third and final outing as the Time Lord, as she is set to exit the sci-fi series in 2022, following a trio of specials.

So with millions wondering when it will be back on screens, we reveal all you need to know...

When will Doctor Who return?

The 13th season of Doctor Who is due to drop anytime soon - probably in autumn or winter towards the end of the year. Many fans believe October or November are likely to start dates for the series and it will run for just six episodes.

The upcoming season, which will adopt a one-story format, will see the return of Jodie Whittaker and companion Yaz (played by Mandip Gill), and will also introduce new character Dan, played by stand-up comedian John Bishop.

The BBC teased the trailer for Season 13 back in July this year in which it promised the series would be 'her biggest adventure yet'.

And in preparation for the show's return the BBC official Doctor Who Twitter account has been flooding with all things Doctor Who - from guessing the interior of the Tardis by season to the new Doctor Who games console.

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Who will replace Jodie Whittaker?

There has been lots of speculation over who will replace Jodie Whittaker as the Time Lord but Ncuti Gatwa - full name Mizero Ncuti Gatwa - and star of Sex Education. Ncuti, 29, will replace Jodie Whittaker (opens in new tab) as the new Time Lord in the upcoming series, the BBC has confirmed.

Olly Alexander, 31, lead singer of Years & Years and It's A Sin star, was previously 1-2 favourite to become the fourteenth Doctor Who, by bookmaker William Hill (opens in new tab).

But Jodie isn't the only one departing the show. It was recently announced that Russell T. Davies - who revived the series in 2005 after a fifteen-year hiatus - will be replacing Chris Chibnall as showrunner for the 60th anniversary and beyond.

Jodie Whittaker, Doctor Who

(Image credit: BBC)

And it is Davies’ return as Showrunner that has fuelled speculation that Harrogate-born Alexander is set to land the Time Lord role, having previously said he would have loved to cast the Years & Years frontman as The Doctor.

Is Olly Alexander going to be Doctor Who?

Olly Alexander, whose new album Night Call is out now, and his agent (Martha Kinn), have both flatly denied the rumours that he will be the next Doctor.

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Meanwhile, other names rumoured to be playing the Doctor role, before Ncuti Gatwa was confirmed, included Good Omens and Prodigal Son star Michael Sheen, who was recently voted as the fans’ choice for the high-profile vacancy, has odds of  5/2, narrowly pipping 8-1 Richard Ayoade to the accolade.

Another strong contender to the Tardis was Years and Years star T’Nia Miller (7-1), who has already played a Time Lord in the BBC series.

Miller played ‘The General’ in 2015's Hell Bent, and was another name in the frame due to her previous projects with the incoming showrunner - Russell.

I May Destroy You creator and star Michaela Coel was also 7-1, with roles in Star Wars and Black Mirror bolstering her already impressive credentials.

While Bridgerton pair Ben Miller and Rege-Jean Page were 12-1 and 16-1 respectively, while eleventh Doctor Matt Smith’s fancy as Rhys Irfans, of Harry Potter and The Amazing Spider-Man fame, at 8-1.

Kiwi comedian Rose Matafeo was another prospect at 8-1 following her successful BBC comedy series Starstruck.

What is the plot for Series 13 of Doctor Who?

Earlier this week the BBC teased a projection of a spaceship across George's Pier Head in Liverpool, England. The projection was visible until midnight and it gave fans some clues to the new series. The BBC seemingly confirmed that series 13 will begin in Liverpool and it's where we'll first meet Dan, who will become "embroiled in the Doctor's adventures".

It is not known who the spaceship belongs to but longtime Whovians may find its unusual shape very familiar. Something Sontaran, perhaps?

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Where can I watch Doctor Who 2021?

Doctor Who airs on BBC One in the UK, and is available to watch on catch up on the BBC iPlayer.

Meanwhile, HBO Max has the rights to stream the modern era of Doctor Who in the US. With an HBO Max subscription, which costs $14.99 a month, you can stream the 12 seasons aired since 2005.

Selina is a Senior Entertainment Writer with more than 14 years of experience in newspapers and magazines. She currently looks after all things Entertainment for, Woman&Home, and My Imperfect Life. Before joining Future Publishing, Selina graduated from the University of Sheffield in 2006 with a degree in Journalism. She is fully NCTJ and NCE qualified and has 100wpm shorthand. When she's not interviewing celebrities you can find her exploring new countryside walking routes, catching up with friends over good food, or making memories.