It's official: the controls of the Tardis have been handed over to a woman, with British actress Jodie Whittaker set to become the first ever female Doctor Who. About time, too: not only is it great to see the BBC recognise that, yes, women aren't just sidekicks and 'assistants', the 35-year-old is also genius casting on the Beeb's part.
With a string of film and TV roles to her name, a mixture of mainstream and indie project, Jodie's talent speaks for itself - and yet, unlike more obvious choices, she'll still bring an element of intrigue to the role. Clearly versatile, she doesn't have a demonstrable 'shtick,' hopefully making for a fresh take on a character that's become closely associated with nerdish men talking very, very fast.
Before she regenerates into the 13th Time Lord, here's where you might have spotted Jodie in the past...
Tess of the D'Urbervilles
The sweeping BBC adaptation of Thomas Hardy's doomed romance remains one of our favourite period dramas of recent years. While Gemma Arterton and Eddie Redmayne earned our lifetime devotion as a charming Tess and Angel, Jodie caught our attention as Tess's childhood friend and confidante, Izzy (who is also, naturally, enamoured with Angel). Plus, this trip to Hardy's Wessex gave her a chance to hone a West Country accent that would come to good use in Broadchurch...
As Beth Latimer, the mother of murdered schoolboy Danny, Jodie was the beating heart of one of the most successful and most talked-about TV dramas in recent years. While it was former Time Lord David Tennant's grouchy repartee with Olivia Coleman's DC Miller that got the most air time (Coleman was even, ironically, rumoured to be in the running for Dr Who), Jodie's understated performance anchored the show's three season run, especially in that 'difficult' second series.
Back in 2011, Charlie Brooker's Black Mirror still felt definitively dystopian (fast forward five years and so, and the unnervingly prescient commentary on technology and politics feels almost more real than reality TV). The final episode of the show's first season, The Entire History Of You, focused on an alternate reality where 'grains' placed in the retina allow humans to replay memories before their eyes. Jodie starred as Ffion, a young woman whose husband suspects she may be cheating.
Attack the Block
Now best known for launching the career of Star Wars' John Boyega into orbit, London-set sci-fi Attack the Block also stars Jodie as Samantha, a trainee nurse who's mugged by Moses (Boyega)'s gang of miscreants. Before things get too kitchen sink, a meteor hits the 'Block,' bringing with it some unwelcome extra-terrestrial arrivals which Samantha and Moses must see off. Ever the nicest chap in film, Boyega has since tweeted his congratulations to his former co-star.
For a film that is - face it - an entirely guilty pleasure, St Trinian's certainly managed to attract a role call of talented British actresses, from a future Bond girl (Gemma Arterton) to indie darling Juno Temple to ahem, Paloma Faith (plus, an entirely unnecessary Mischa Barton cameo...) Jodie joins the girl gang as Beverley, the school's receptionist.
Adult Life Skills
Throughout her career, Jodie's juggled a mix of prime-time TV roles with a handful of indie films like Adult Life Skills, the British comedy based on a BAFTA-winning short that premiered at last year's Tribeca Film Festival. In it, Jodie plays Anna, approaching 30 and still living in a shed at the bottom of her parents' garden...
Props to Jodie for distracting us from Anne Hathaway's notoriously painful Yorkshire vowels in the screen adaptation of David Nicholls' will-they-won't-they novel. As Tilly, a university pal of Anne's stuffy Emma, she steals the show with a teeth-gritting wedding karaoke session dedicated to her on-screen husband, featuring the immortal Robbie Williams lyric swap, 'I'm loving Colin instead.'