'Doctor Who' has its first-ever female lead

Jodie Whittaker is taking control of the Tardis when the BBC sci-fi series continues.

Gael Cooper
CNET editor Gael Fashingbauer Cooper, a journalist and pop-culture junkie, is co-author of "Whatever Happened to Pudding Pops? The Lost Toys, Tastes and Trends of the '70s and '80s," as well as "The Totally Sweet '90s." She's been a journalist since 1989, working at Mpls.St.Paul Magazine, Twin Cities Sidewalk, the Minneapolis Star Tribune, and NBC News Digital. She's Gen X in birthdate, word and deed. If Marathon candy bars ever come back, she'll be first in line.
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Gael Cooper
2 min read

Jodie Whittaker will be the new Doctor.


There's a new Doctor in town.

British actress Jodie Whittaker was named as the Thirteenth Doctor for the popular and long-running BBC sci-fi series "Doctor Who."

The BBC made the casting announcement on Sunday after Roger Federer handily defeated Marin Čilić to win the Wimbledon Men's Final.

Whittaker, 35, will replace Scottish actor Peter Capaldi, who has played the role since 2013. The transition from one lead actor to the next, known inside the show as a regeneration, is a hallmark of the series.

Whittaker recently starred as mourning mother Beth Lattimer in the acclaimed British crime drama "Broadchurch." And "Broadchurch" is chock full of Whovian connections -- it was created by new "Doctor Who" showrunner Chris Chibnall and also starred tenth doctor David Tennant.

Whittaker also starred in the "Black Mirror" episode "The Entire History of You," in which most people have implanted "grains" that allow them to play back past events and memories.

Whittaker's naming was no surprise to many. British betting company Ladbrokes had her as a 5/4 favorite on Saturday.

Some thought a bit of dialogue in the recent "Doctor Who" season finale all but said the new Doctor would be female. In the scene, The Master asks, "Will the future be all girl?" to which the Doctor replies, "We can only hope."

The actress is thrilled about the news, Whittaker told Doctor Who magazine.

"I'm beyond excited to begin this epic journey -- with Chris Chibnall and with every Whovian on this planet," she said. "It means remembering everyone I used to be, while stepping forward to embrace everything the Doctor stands for: hope. I can't wait."

And she's well aware she's taking the character into new territory. "I want to tell the fans not to be scared by my gender," Whittaker said. "Because this is a really exciting time, and Doctor Who represents everything that's exciting about change. This is only a new, different one, not a fearful one."

Whittaker will take over the role in the series' annual Christmas episode in December. The episode will not only be Capaldi's farewell, but showrunner Steven Moffat's last. Moffat, who was the co-creator of the BBC's acclaimed "Sherlock," will be moving on to a new series of "Dracula" specials.

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