Doctor Who: Jodie Whittaker won't return for a new series until 2020

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A still from Doctor WhoImage source, BBC/BBC Studios

The next series of Doctor Who won't start until 2020, it's been confirmed.

Series 11 ended on Sunday night, but after the festive special on New Year's Day, Jodie Whittaker won't be seen in the Tardis again next year.

Showrunner Chris Chibnall said work on the new series had already begun.

He said the team had been "blown away by the response from audiences" to the new Doctor. The first episode of the series, the first to feature a female Doctor, drew a record audience.

Image source, BBC/BBC Studios
Image caption,
The Doctor has been joined by three new companions for the current series

It saw the highest launch viewing figures for the sci-fi stalwart in a decade, with 10.9 million people tuning in.

The series has been considered a ratings success, with viewing figures above those of the last two series when Peter Capaldi starred in the title role.

On Sunday evening, the Doctor was seen answering distress calls from a battle-scarred planet.

'More scares, more monsters'

Talking about the next series Chibnall, head writer of the show, said: "We're off again! Well we never actually stopped.

"As Jodie Whittaker's Doctor and friends have been winning the hearts of families across the nation this autumn, we've been busy with a whole new set of action-packed adventures for the 13th Doctor."

Image source, BBC/BBC Studios
Image caption,
Whittaker is to return for a New Year's Day special

He said they couldn't wait to bring "more scares, more monsters and more Bradley Walsh, Mandip Gill and Tosin Cole" - referring to the Doctor's companions.

Lizo Mzimba, the BBC's entertainment correspondent, said while there was "a recognition that fans might want a series every single year, Doctor Who has almost uniquely complex filming requirements and a lengthy post-production period".

He added that the New Year's Day episode could have been planned so that 2019 "won't be a totally Doctor Who-free year".

The episode on 1 January marks a change in Christmas tradition, as it will be the first time Doctor Who hasn't been shown on Christmas Day since the drama's return in 2005.