Say hello to the new Doctor Who.
Jodie Whittaker was revealed Sunday as the title character of the popular series, which airs on BBC America. She becomes the 13th Doctor and the first woman to take on the role.
The actress, best known for roles in Broadchurch and Attack the Block, replaces Peter Capaldi, who announced in January that he would be leaving the series that follows a time-traveling alien who can change his appearance.
What does Whittaker have to say about being the next Doctor Who? In a statement released Sunday, she said, "It’s very nerve-racking, as it’s been so secret!" She added, "I've told a whole lot of lies!"
New head writer and executive producer Chris Chibnall, who takes over from Steven Moffat, selected the first woman to portray Doctor Who.
"I always knew I wanted the 13th Doctor to be a woman and we're thrilled to have secured our No. 1 choice," Chibnall said, assuring fans that "The 13th Doctor is on her way.”
“I’m beyond excited to begin this epic journey — with Chris and with every Whovian on this planet," Whittaker said.
The impact of the casting does not escape the series' new star.
"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," said the actress, adding, "It feels incredible."
Whittaker urged fans with any apprehension "not to be scared by my gender, (because) Doctor Who represents everything that’s exciting about change. The fans have lived through so many changes, and this is only a new, different one, not a fearful one."
When Capaldi took on the iconic role, he was the 12th doctor on the long-running British science-fiction series, following Matt Smith and David Tennant.
Peter Capaldi as 'The Doctor' in the Season 10 premiere
Peter Capaldi as 'The Doctor' in the Season 10 premiere of 'Doctor Who.' (Photo: Simon Ridgway, BBC AMERICA, Simon Ridgway, BBC AMERICA)
In an April interview with USA TODAY, Capaldi said that the doctor could "absolutely" be a woman and/or a person of color. "Why not?" he said. "I think that would be a very likely thing to have happen. A very good thing, too."
On Sunday, Capaldi said, “Anyone who has seen Jodie Whittaker’s work will know that she is a wonderful actress of great individuality and charm (who's) going to be a fantastic Doctor.”
Contributing: Carly Mallenbaum and Kelly Lawler
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