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BBC unveils first female ‘Doctor Who’

British actress Jodie Whittaker
LONDON: British actress Jodie Whittaker was unveiled Sunday as the first woman to play “Doctor Who,” telling fans of the cult BBC science fiction series they should “not be scared by my gender.”
The 35-year-old, who starred in the British award-winning drama “Broadchurch,” will take over from Scottish actor Peter Capaldi later this year as the 13th incarnation of the Time Lord.
Fans were treated to a brief glimpse of Whittaker, walking toward the Tardis in a forest, in a clip shown after the Wimbledon tennis final on BBC television.
Following the announcement, Whittaker said “it feels incredible” to take on the role.
“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 said.
The adventures of the doctor — a time traveling, humanoid alien who traverses the universe — have maintained a loyal following since they were first aired in 1963.
Whittaker anticipated some controversy over the choice of a woman as the new doctor despite such a move being well trailed, but said viewers did not need to worry.
“I want to tell the fans not to be scared by my gender,” she said.
“Because this is a really exciting time, and Doctor Who represents everything that’s exciting about change. The fans have lived through so many changes, and this is only a new, different one, not a fearful one,” she added.
Capaldi, who has held the role since 2013, will leave the show during the Christmas special by “regenerating” into the new doctor.
Fans took to Twitter to air their views on the choice of the new doctor, with some accusing the producers of ruining the show.