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She will be the first female lead for the sci-fi show on the U.K. public broadcaster. Current lead Peter Capaldi will leave his role after this year’s Christmas special.
Whittaker, 34, is from Yorkshire, England, and has appeared on such shows as Broadchurch and in the comedy film Adult Life Skills, which she also executive produced and which received several British Independent Film Awards nominations.
Whittaker recently finished shooting Journeyman, written and directed by Paddy Considine, as well as playing the lead on the new BBC drama series Trust Me.
Her other film credits include Venus (which earned her nominations for best newcomer at the British Independent Film Awards), Attack the Block, One Day, Black Sea, Good Vibrations, St. Trinian’s and Get Santa. Her theater credits include the title role in Antigone at the Royal National Theatre, along with roles in Bash, Awake and Sing and Enemies.
The BBC on Friday announced that it would unveil the new Doctor after the men’s Wimbledon final, taking fans by surprise. Among the various names thrown out by bookies as contenders for the Doctor Who lead role have been the likes of Fleabag creator and star Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Death in Paradise actor Kris Marshall and even Tilda Swinton.
Capaldi first stepped into the Tardis in 2013 and is set to leave at the same time as showrunner Steven Moffat exits the show.
Earlier this year, Pearl Mackie was tapped to play the first openly gay companion on the space-hopping series, which is one of the most popular shows for BBC Worldwide.
New writer and executive producer Chris Chibnall, who takes over from Moffat, made the decision to cast the first woman in the iconic role.
“I’m beyond excited to begin this epic journey — with Chris and with every Whovian on this planet,” said Whittaker. “It’s more than an honor to play the Doctor. It means remembering everyone I used to be, while stepping forward to embrace everything the Doctor stands for: hope. I can’t wait.”
Said Chibnall, who worked with Whittaker on Broadchurch: “After months of lists, conversations, auditions, recalls, and a lot of secret-keeping, we’re excited to welcome Jodie Whittaker as the Thirteenth Doctor. 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.”
Said Capaldi: “Anyone who has seen Jodie Whittaker’s work will know that she is a wonderful actress of great individuality and charm. She has above all the huge heart to play this most special part. She’s going to be a fantastic Doctor.”
Charlotte Moore, director of BBC Content, said about the casting news: “Making history is what Doctor Who is all about and Chris Chibnall’s bold new take on the next Time Lord is exactly that. The nation is going to fall in love with Jodie Whittaker — and have lots of fun too!”
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