Jodie Whittaker is Doctor Who's first female lead

The BBC says Jodie Whittaker is the next star of the long-running science fiction series Doctor Who — the first woman to take the title role.

Actress will replace Scottish actor Peter Capaldi as 13th Time Lord in long-running science fiction series

British actress Jodie Whittaker, who starred in the TV series Broadchurch, has been cast as the next lead of the long-running science fiction TV series Doctor Who. She's the first woman to take the title role. (Joel Ryan/The Associated Press)

The BBC says Jodie Whittaker is the next star of the long-running science fiction series Doctor Who — the first woman to take the title role.

Whittaker, who starred in detective drama Broadchurch, will replace Scottish actor Peter Capaldi.

Whittaker is the 13th incarnation of the doctor, a galaxy-hopping Time Lord who travels in the Tardis, a time machine shaped like an old-fashioned British police telephone booth.

The 54-year-old program has a firm place in Britain's cultural life, and the announcement was made during a live television broadcast Sunday after the Wimbledon men's tennis final.

Doctor Who was first broadcast in 1963. Its central character can travel across space or time and can regenerate into new bodies — allowing for endless recasting of the role.