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'Doctor Who' Announces the History-Making 13th Doctor Will Be a Woman

by Elizabeth Stanton 12:31 PM PDT, July 16, 2017
Photo: Getty Images

Doctor Who is making history, and not just of the time travel variety!

In an announcement today from The BBC and BBC America, it was revealed that actress Jodie Whittaker will be playing the 13th Doctor in the upcoming season. This is the first time in the series' over 50-year history that a woman will be playing the title role.

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American audiences may recognize Whittaker from her work on Broadchurch with the show's 10th Doctor, David Tennant, and an episode of Black Mirror.

"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," she says of her exciting new role. "It feels incredible."

Whittaker will take over the role after the series' traditional Christmas special and final farewell to 12th Doctor Peter Capaldi, who gave his blessing saying, “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.”

This season is also getting a new head writer and executive producer, Chris Chibnall, who also worked with Tennant and Whittaker on Broadchurch. He said of the casting, “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.”

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For many fans, this announcement is a welcome and long overdue change to the standard casting of a white male in the lead role. For a few others though, it remains a controversial choice.

No word as of the announcement on who the new companion will be for the 13th Doctor. But Whittaker is ready to take on the iconic role.

“I’m beyond excited to begin this epic journey -- with Chris and with every Whovian on this planet," she says. "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."

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