The latest news about the Thirteenth Doctor’s regeneration in the BBC Centenary Doctor Who special has come straight from the Doctor herself. In an interview in Empire magazine this month, Jodie Whittaker spoke about filming her final scenes, and it sounds like fans are in for an emotional farewell.
“I love the dialogue Chris wrote for my regeneration. It captures my Doctor beautifully. It’s simple, epic and beautiful,” Whittaker is quoted as saying, before revealing her final sequence is delivered in one long take. “When I could see the crew was happy with that last shot, that’s when my bottom lip started going,” she recalls. “I was like, ‘Well, they can’t say they need another take now because I’ve f***ing lost it!’”
So what will Jodie Whittaker’s final words as The Doctor be?
Ninth Doctor: Christopher Eccleston
“Rose, before I go I just want to tell you: you were fantastic. Absolutely fantastic. And do you know what? So was I.”
The ninth Doctor was all about reassuring Rose (and the show’s new audience) about what was about to happen. He explained that he wouldn’t be able to see her again – “not with this daft old face” – because he was going to ‘change’ as a way of cheating death. As regenerations go, he kept it positive.
Tenth Doctor: David Tennant
“I don’t want to go.”
There is a much greater sense of finality to David Tennant’s regeneration. An Ood arrives to escort him into the TARDIS for the last time, telling the tenth Doctor: “This song is ending, but the story never ends.” And then he’s all alone, the TARDIS his only companion, and perhaps that’s why his last words are so heartbreakingly honest: he has no one left to be brave for.
Eleventh Doctor: Matt Smith
“I will not forget one line of this, not one day; I swear, I will always remember when The Doctor was me.”
The ‘blink and you’ll miss it’ regeneration, where Matt Smith’s Doctor seems finally to accept that it’s an inescapable part of who he is, and rather than say goodbye to Clara he simply explains that change is inevitable. “We’re all different people, all through our lives,” he says, “and that’s okay, that’s good, you’ve got to keep moving, so long as you remember all the people that you used to be.” This time he’s joined not just by Clara but by visions of his last companion, Amelia Pond. A far more positive, less lonely end.
Twelfth Doctor: Peter Capaldi
“Laugh hard, run fast, be kind. Doctor, I let you go.”
Technically, like the tenth Doctor, the TARDIS is Peter Capaldi’s Doctor’s only companion at his regeneration too, but he doesn’t let that stop him. Instead, he chooses to speak his last words as instructions to his future self, passing on several nuggets of wisdom like “Never be cruel, never be cowardly… and never, ever eat pears!” Words to live by.
Thirteenth Doctor: Jodie Whittaker
With everything we know so far about Jodie Whittaker’s final episode, we’re certainly able to guess a few things. We know it’s also the final episode for both Dan (John Bishop) and Yaz (Mandip Gill), so they could both be present, but with Doctor and Yaz recently admitting reciprocal feelings for each other, it might suggest a more personal farewell for just the two of them. The trailer certainly shows what looks like the Doctor beginning to regenerate while screaming ‘Yaz!’ so we can be fairly sure she’ll be there.
The Timeless Child plot arc has seen this Doctor learn a lot about her identity, so this could be at the forefront of her mind as she prepares to adopt a new one altogether. The episode is called The Power of the Doctor, so maybe Thirteen will elaborate on that in her final words too.
No matter what her final words are, one thing is for certain: it’s going to be emotional.
Doctor Who’s BBC Centenary special will air in October 2022.