Jodie Whittaker has made history after being announced as the first female Doctor Who.
The 35-year-old was confirmed as Peter Capadli’s replacement, to become the 13th Doctor, following the conclusion of the men’s final at Wimbledon after much build-up.
The BBC released a teasing trailer on Friday with the number 13 placed at landmarks around the UK and the world, leading to much speculation on social media with a variety of left-field suggestions such as Ed Miliband, Jeremy Corbyn and Danny Dyer.
The actress, who is perhaps most well-known for role as Beth Latimer on the BAFTA winning Broadchurch, emerged as the frontrunner over the weekend when odds on her being announced as the first female Doctor were slashed, keeping her ahead of Pheobe Waller-Bridge and Kris Marshall.
Having trained at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, the new Doctor appeared in films Venus, St Trinian’s and Attack the Block as well appearances in television shows Dalziel and Pascoe, Black Mirror and The Assets.
She said: “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.”
She also reassured fans to “not be scared by my gender”.
“Because this is a really exciting time, and Doctor Who represents everything that’s exciting about change,” she said, adding: “The fans have lived through so many changes, and this is only a new, different one, not a fearful one.”
Whittaker revealed she had told “a lot of lies” in order to keep the announcement secret and had used the codename Clooney when discussing the role with her husband and agent.
It will see the actress team up with Broadchurch creator Chris Chibnall on the hit sci-fi series as he takes over from Steven Moffat as executive producer.
Explaining how she won the part, she said: “We had a strange chat earlier this year where he tricked me into thinking we were talking about Broadchurch.
“And I started to quiz him about his new job in Wales, and asked him if I could be a baddie. And he quickly diverted the conversation to suggest I should consider auditioning to be the 13th Clooney.
“It was the most incredible chat because I asked every question under the sun, and I said I’d take a few weeks to decide whether I was going to audition.
“He got a phone call within 24 hours. He would’ve got a phone call sooner, but my husband was away and there was a time difference.”
She added the freedom the role enjoys was why she wanted to become an actress in the first place.
Asked if she had been given any advice from previous actors who had played the role, Whittaker said: “Well they can’t because they haven’t known until now, but I’m certainly expecting a couple of calls - I’ve got a couple of mates in there.
“I’m mates with a companion (Arthur Darvill), I’m mates with a trio of Doctors.
“I know Matt Smith, Chris Eccleston and obviously David Tennant. Oh! And let’s throw in David Bradley! Four Doctors! So I’m hoping I get some calls of advice.”
Chibnall said: “After months of lists, conversations, auditions, recalls, and a lot of secret-keeping, we’re excited to welcome Jodie Whittaker as the 13th Doctor.
“I always knew I wanted the 13th 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 13th Doctor is on her way.”
The announcement was made in a short clip on BBC One following Roger Federer’s win over Marin Cilic in the Wimbledon men’s final.
The video, also posted on Twitter by the official Doctor Who account, showed a cloaked Whittaker approaching the Tardis in a leafy forest.