Broadchurch star Jodie Whittaker is to be the first ever woman to play Doctor Who, it has been announced.

The identity of the 13th Time Lord was revealed on BBC One and on social media around the world after the Men's Wimbledon Final today.

She will be the 13th Time Lord and take over from Peter Capaldi, who leaves the global hit show at Christmas after holding the role since 2013.

New head writer and executive producer Chris Chibnall, who takes over from Steven Moffat on the next series, made the decision to cast the first ever woman in the iconic role.

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He said: "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 35-year-old, who was born in Skelmanthorpe, West Yorkshire, trained at the Guidhall School of Music and Drama and made her professional debut in the play The Storm at the Shakespeare's Globe theatre 12 years ago.

She said: "I'm beyond excited to begin this epic journey - with Chris and with every Whovian on this planet. It's more than an honour 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."

Jodie Whittaker's most recent appearance on our screens was in the English drama Broadchurch.
Jodie Whittaker's most recent appearance on our screens was in the English drama Broadchurch.

After Capaldi announced plans to step down from the alien role in January, some fans and critics were calling for Moffat to change the Doctor's gender.

Moffat, who also co-wrote the BAFTA award-winning Sherlock series with Mark Gatiss, had previously come under fire for choosing another man to play the role after Capaldi was cast.

Speaking to BBC Radio 4, he said: "I didn't not cast a woman... I cast a man. I didn't [cast a woman] because I wanted to cast Matt Smith and I wanted to cast Peter Capaldi.

"I didn't think it was a terrible idea [to cast a woman], I just thought, 'I want to cast those people' - that was it."

However, the news of Whittaker's appointment to the role has been met with mixed reviews from viewers.

While many people are praising the BBC and the show's writers for choosing a female actress, others are saying it's "political correctness gone mad".

Peter Capaldi quit as the 12th doctor after three years in the role.
Peter Capaldi quit as the 12th doctor after three years in the role.

Current Doctor, Capaldi, also praised the actress for her work.

He said: "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."

Charlotte Moore, Director of BBC Content said: "Making history is what Doctor Who is all about and Chris Chibnall's bold new take on the next Time Lord is exactly that.

"The nation is going to fall in love with Jodie Whittaker - and have lots of fun too!"

Piers Wenger, Controller BBC Drama added: "Jodie is not just a talented actor but she has a bold and brilliant vision for her Doctor.

"She aced it in her audition both technically and with the powerful female life force she brings to the role.

"She is destined to be an utterly iconic Doctor."