It’s finally happened: A woman has been cast to play The Doctor in the long-running British sci-fi series Doctor Who.
Actress Jodie Whittaker becomes the 13th star to take on the iconic role, and will replace Peter Capaldi during this year’s Christmas special. Her casting was announced in a special broadcast following the Wimbledon Men’s Final, and was shared on Twitter soon after:
— Doctor Who Official (@bbcdoctorwho) July 16, 2017
The idea of a female Doctor has been debated by fans for many years, particularly since the show was brought back to screens in 2005. However, the prospect of a woman at the helm of the TARDIS became a likelier prospect after the show established that the gender of Time Lords, the alien race the Doctor belongs to, isn’t fixed.
The likes of Tilda Swinton, Ben Whishaw, and David Harewood had been tipped to take on the part, but Whittaker’s odds shortened dramatically with bookmakers in the UK in the hours before the July 16 announcement.
Whittaker is best known for her leading role in British crime drama Broadchurch, which was created by Doctor Who‘s incoming showrunner Chris Chibnall.
On joining Doctor Who, the 35-year-old actress 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. The fans have lived through so many changes, and this is only a new, different one, not a fearful one.”
Since Doctor Who‘s regeneration in 2005, the Time Lord has been played by Christopher Eccleston, David Tennant, Matt Smith, Peter Capaldi, and the late Sir John Hurt.