First female Doctor Who unveiled as Broadchurch star Jodie Whittaker

Broadchurch star Jodie Whittaker was unveiled in an advert following the men's Wimbledon final. Credit: Colin Hutton/BBC/PA Wire

The first female Doctor Who has been unveiled as Broadchurch star Jodie Whittaker.

The 35-year-old had been bookmaker's favourite to be the 13th Time Lord ahead of the announcement.

The Yorkshire-born actress is best known for her role as Beth Latimer, the mother of murdered schoolboy Danny Latimer, in hit ITV show Broadchurch.

Whittaker was unveiled in an advert for the BBC show following the men's singles Wimbledon final.

Whittaker described her appointment to the much-loved role as "completely overwhelming".

She continued: "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.

"It feels incredible."

She also reassured fans to "not be scared by my gender".

"Because this is a really exciting time, and Doctor Who represents everything that's exciting about change," she said, adding: "The fans have lived through so many changes, and this is only a new, different one, not a fearful one."

Jodie Whittaker and co-stars Olivia Colman and Simone McAullay after winning the Drama Series Award for Broadchurch, at the 2014 BAFTA Television Awards. Credit: PA

Current Time Lord Peter Capaldi will bow out in the 2017 Christmas special, at the same time as the programme's lead writer and executive producer Steven Moffat.

Moffat will be replaced by Broadchurch creator Chris Chibnall, who said he was "excited" to welcome Whittaker as the 13th Time Lord.

He added: "After months of lists, conversations, auditions, recalls, and a lot of secret-keeping, we're excited to welcome Jodie Whittaker as the 13th Doctor.

"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 appointment comes after Capaldi and ex-Doctor Who stars Billie Piper and Karen Gillan called for the next Time Lord to be a woman.

Reacting to the news, Capaldi 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."