Yorkshire-born actress Jodie Whittaker to step down as Doctor Who

Jodie Whittaker has played the iconic role since 2017. Credit: PA

Yorkshire-born actress Jodie Whittaker to step down as Doctor Who at the end of next year following a feature-length special episode.

She will star in a new series of the programme later this year before exiting the show in a trio of specials next year.

The first special will air on New Year's Day 2022, the second will be later in the spring and the third, when the Doctor will regenerate, will air in autumn 2022 and will form part of the BBC's centenary celebrations

Before she became the first female star of Doctor Who, Jodie Whittaker was best known for appearing as the mother of murdered Danny Latimer in the hit ITV drama Broadchurch.

Born in June 1982 in the village of Skelmanthorpe near Huddersfield, Whittaker dreamed of becoming an actress as a teenager.

Whittaker described the job as the best she has ever had.

She added: "In 2017 I opened my glorious gift box of size 13 shoes I could not have guessed the brilliant adventures, worlds and wonders I was to see in them.

"My heart is so full of love for this show, for the team who make it, for the fans who watch it and for what it has brought to my life.

"And I cannot thank Chris enough for entrusting me with his incredible stories.

"We knew that we wanted to ride this wave side by side, and pass on the baton together. So here we are, weeks away from wrapping on the best job I have ever had.

"I don't think I'll ever be able to express what this role has given me. I will carry the Doctor and the lessons I've learnt forever."