BRIDPORT writer Chris Chibnall will leave Doctor Who next year.

The BBC has confirmed that Mr Chibnall will step away from his position as showrunner of the long-running sci-fi drama next year. 

Mr Chibnall joined the programme in 2017 after initially finding success when he penned West Bay-based crime series, Broadchurch.

Jodie Whittaker, who was cast by Mr Chibnall as the titular Doctor, will also be stepping down at the same time.

The 39-year-old actress is the first female incarnation of the Doctor and will star in a new series of the programme later this year before exiting the show in a trio of specials next year.

Mr Chibnall said: "Jodie and I made a 'three series and out' pact with each other at the start of this once-in-a-lifetime blast.

"So now our shift is done, we're handing back the Tardis keys.

"Jodie's magnificent, iconic Doctor has exceeded all our high expectations. She's been the gold standard leading actor, shouldering the responsibility of being the first female Doctor with style, strength, warmth, generosity and humour."

Mr Chibnall rose to prominence in 2013 after writing Broadchurch, which starred former Doctor David Tennant alongside Olivia Coleman as detectives trying solve cases in the fictional town of Broadchurch, Dorset.

Mr Chibnall then took up the Doctor Who mantle in 2017, working on the title as showrunner for three series.

Piers Wenger, director of BBC drama, said: "Over the last four years Chris and Jodie have made Doctor Who history and their time on the show is indelibly marked on our memories.

"From Rosa Parks to Ascension Of The Cybermen, Chris and Jodie have given Doctor Who some of its most life-affirming and tear-jerking moments to date, and we are beyond excited to see what they have in store for us in the new series this autumn.

"Jodie's final adventure to mark the BBC's centenary in 2022 is set to be a Doctor Who special to remember.

"I'd like to thank them both for their incredible work on the show."

The next series of Doctor Who, which will be the thirteenth series since the 2005 revival and Mr Chibnall's last, will air later this year followed by three specials: the first on New Year's Day 2022, the second in the spring and the third in autumn.