LONDON – Jodie Whittaker is the new Doctor Who, the BBC has announced.
She is the first woman to play the iconic time travelling character since the TV show launched on the BBC in 1963.
The actress is the 13th Doctor and will replace Peter Capaldi, who announced he was leaving the BBC sci-fi franchise in January.
The BBC unveiled Whittaker as the Doctor in a short on-screen teaser trailer soon after the Wimbledon men’s final between Roger Federer and Marin Cilic.
— BBC One (@BBCOne) July 16, 2017
The regeneration from Capaldi to Whittaker will take place during the Christmas special later this year. Her first series as the Time Lord will begin in 2018.
Whittaker, 35, is best known for starring in ITV drama “Broadchurch.” She has also appeared in “The Entire History of You” episode of Netflix drama “Black Mirror” and Sky’s “The Smoke.”
Speaking about being the first woman to play the Doctor, she told the BBC: “It feels completely overwhelming, as a feminist, as a woman, as an actor, as a human, as someone who wants to continually push themselves and challenge themselves, and not be boxed in by what you’re told you can and can’t be. It feels incredible.”
And it’s not just the star of “Doctor Who” regenerating. The show’s writer and executive producer Steven Moffat is bowing out after nearly a decade in December.
He will be replaced by Chris Chibnall, who has worked on “Torchwood” and is best known for creating “Broadchurch,” during which he worked closely with Whittaker.
Whittaker’s first job? Arrest audience declines
Chibnall and the new Doctor will be tasked with breathing fresh life into a franchise which has been shedding its audience over recent series.
The most recent series was watched by an average of 5.5 million viewers – the show’s lowest rating since it was rebooted by the BBC in 2006. This does not include online viewing figures on BBC iPlayer, however.
In a statement released by the BBC, Chibnall said: “I always knew I wanted the thirteenth Doctor to be a woman and we’re thrilled to have secured our number one choice. Her audition for the Doctor simply blew us all away.
“Jodie is an in-demand, funny, inspiring, super-smart force of nature and will bring loads of wit, strength and warmth to the role. The thirteenth Doctor is on her way.”