After months of speculation, the world’s best kept pop culture secret is finally out. “Broadchurch” star Jodie Whitaker will become the first woman to play the title role on cult sci-fi series “Doctor Who.”
The BBC announced Sunday that Whitaker will be taking over the iconic role from Peter Capaldi and will become the 13th Doctor on “Doctor Who.”
The announcement was made after Wimbledon men’s singles tennis final.
The 35-year-old actress first rose to prominence playing opposite Peter O’Toole in the 2005 drama “Venus.” Her other credits include the BBC miniseries “The Night Watch,” the indie “Attack on the Block” and the spy miniseries “The Assets.”
Since the show — which first aired in 1963 — came back in 2005, the BBC has made an event out of the Doctor reveal. When Capaldi was announced as number 12, taking over the role from Matt Smith, the network pre-empted it with a two-hour event, with the reveal coming in the final minutes.
Capaldi announced he was stepping down from the role in January, saying that it was “time to move on.”
“I feel sad,” Capaldi told the BBC’s Jo Whiley. “I love ‘Doctor Who” … but I’ve always been somebody that did a lot of different things. I’ve never done one job for three years.”
Re-casting the Doctor so often has been made easy by the concept of regeneration into a new incarnation, an idea introduced in 1966 following the departure of original lead William Hartnell due to illness.
The move also comes as showrunner Steven Moffat, who has been at the helm since 2010, decided to step down. Both Capaldi and Moffat finished out the show’s tenth season and will be around for the Christmas special, which has been the tradition since the Tenth Doctor (David Tennant) turned into Eleven (Matt Smith).
Whittaker will be taking up the post at the same time as new showrunner Chris Chibnall, who served as a writer on the BBC sci-fi series and created the network’s “Broadchurch.”
“Doctor Who” airs on BBC American in the U.S.