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For the first time, a woman will play BBC time traveler Doctor Who

LONDON -- British actress Jodie Whittaker was named by the BBC on Sunday as the new Doctor Who, the first time a woman has played the role in the internationally popular television series' 54-year history.

Whittaker, 35, will be Doctor Who's 13th Time Lord, the BBC said in a press release and a trailer for a new series of the popular show.

Whittaker is best known for her role in ITV crime drama "Broadchurch." She succeeds Peter Capaldi, who makes his final appearance when he regenerates into the new female incarnation in a Christmas special, the broadcaster said.

"I'm beyond excited to begin this epic journey ... with every Whovian on this planet," the BBC quoted Whittaker as saying.

"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.

"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.

"To be able to play someone who is literally reinvented on screen, with all the freedoms that brings - what an unbelievable opportunity.

"And added to that, to be the first woman in that role."

She will be the 13th Doctor Who, a science fiction time traveler who regularly regenerates, allowing the leading actor to be replaced.

Capaldi, famous for his role as foul-mouthed spin doctor Malcolm Tucker in the political satire "The Thick of It," has played the role since 2013.

The BBC made the announcement in a trailer for the show that ran immediately after the Wimbledon men's singles tennis final, which was won by Roger Federer.

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