As Jode Whittaker admits sadness over leaving Doctor Who, therapists explain why change is good for us

Jodie Whittaker, who is leaving Doctor Who, says she cried during her last days on set. (Picture: PA).Jodie Whittaker, who is leaving Doctor Who, says she cried during her last days on set. (Picture: PA).
Jodie Whittaker, who is leaving Doctor Who, says she cried during her last days on set. (Picture: PA).
Jodie Whittaker – the first female Doctor Who – has said she will be “filled with a lot of grief” when she hands over the role to the show’s next star.

The actor, who grew up in West Yorkshire, has played the Time Lord since 2017 and in July announced she will be leaving the BBC sci-fi drama following the upcoming series and three specials next year.

Speaking during a recent online Q&A, Whittaker, 39, shared her emotions over her departure. “It has been such a pleasure. But it is also letting go of it. It will be very… I feel like I will be filled with a lot of grief for it because I kind of… Even thinking about it, it makes me upset. But this show needs new energy.”

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Whittaker remembers crying during her final days on set, saying: “I just lost it. I was just crying my eyes out, absolutely gone. I always knew this is the best time I will ever have on a job.

I have felt like that from the start of it.”

While some jobs are harder to leave than others, if you’ve worked somewhere for a significant period of time, it’s totally normal to feel a sense of loss and even grief when it’s the right time to move on.

Dr Paul McLaren, consultant psychiatrist at the Priory, explains: “Grief is the price we pay for loving someone, or investing our feelings heavily in a job or a business. It’s part of the deal. If you gain from being heavily invested in something, then you grieve when that is taken away.”

“We can’t let a fear we’ll feel grief or miss parts (or all) of a job stop us from taking risks and taking on new challenges, though. Grief is just the natural process of psychological adjustment to the loss of a significant part of our lives.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“But while it might be sad to leave work, or colleagues, you love behind, making changes and continuing to grow, rather than staying stagnant, is important – most likely for your career and certainly for yourself.”

Dr Elena Touroni, consultant psychologist and co-founder of The Chelsea Psychology Clinic, said: “Change can sometimes leave us feeling overwhelmed or out of control.

“But it’s important to remember that this can happen even when that change is a positive one. It’s simply the body’s way of protecting us from the ‘unknown’. The key is to recognise this and move through it anyway.”

Priory psychotherapist Pamela Roberts agrees: “Uncertainty is a difficult thing for human beings to navigate. We often want absolute certainty.”

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

However, change can be very good for us, she says.:“Change can mean we rethink habits, routines, thought processes, actions, even our diets. It can mean personal growth and regeneration.”

This reappraisal can be hugely beneficial, she explains. “We can ditch what really wasn’t working – even if we thought it was – and replace it. We can move in new circles of people and

learn new skills and become more motivated.

“It’s natural to feel fearful that what you move onto might not be quite right either, but that may only make you more resilient.

“If what we have chosen doesn’t work out, we might be less fearful about more change – because we have already cut the ties,” Roberts says.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad