The BBC announced back in July that Jodie Whittaker would be flying the TARDIS as the next incarnation of Doctor Who’s titular character. And as has become tradition in recent years, the long-running series’ annual Christmas special saw Whittaker make her first appearance in the role, taking over from Peter Capaldi, who has played the twelfth incarnation of the character since 2014.
While the series won’t return until sometime late next year, the BBC has released the final scene of the episode online. There’s not too much in the way of spoilers for the rest of Capaldi’s last episode here — Whittaker’s casting has been known for months — but if you’re really concerned about having anything spoiled for you, it’s probably best to watch the special first.
A new era on board the TARDIS
The scene sees Capaldi’s iteration of The Doctor make one final dramatic speech (as the character is known to do), before bursting into the fiery flames of regeneration and changing into Whittaker’s new Thirteenth Doctor, marking the first time in the show’s 50-year run that a female actor has taken on the role. Unfortunately, the newly reborn Doctor only has just enough time to mutter a quick “Oh, brilliant” before the entire TARDIS explodes, leaving her plummeting through the air towards the ground and viewers left waiting with a “to be continued” title card.
Along Capaldi’s departure, last night’s episode also marked the end of long-time showrunner Steven Moffat’s tenure on the series — he’ll be replaced by Chris Chibnall (the creator of Broadchurch) when Doctor Who returns for what will be its 11th series sometime in late 2018.