Jodie Auckland Whittaker (born 3 June 1982) is an English actress. She first came to prominence for her 2006 feature film debut Venus, for which she received British Independent Film Award and Satellite Award nominations. She was later praised for her roles in the cult science fiction film Attack the Block (2011), the Black Mirror episode “The Entire History of You” (2011), and as grieving mother Beth Latimer in Chris Chibnall’s TV series Broadchurch (2013–2017).
On 16 July 2017, BBC announced that Whittaker would become the thirteenth (and the first female) incarnation of The Doctor in the British TV series Doctor Who, taking over the role in the 2017 Christmas special episode “The Doctors”. Her arrival in the series will coincide with Chibnall’s, who will become Doctor Who‘s new executive producer and head writer.
Whittaker was born in Skelmanthorpe. She attended Shelley College, West Yorkshire, before training at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, graduating in 2005 with the gold medal for acting.
Whittaker made her professional debut in The Storm at Shakespeare’s Globe in 2005. She has since worked in film, television, radio and theatre. In 2007, she stood in at short notice for an unwell Carey Mulligan in the Royal Court’s production of The Seagull, and appeared in a fundraising play at the Almeida Theatre.
In Whittaker’s first major role, she co-starred as Jessie / Venus in the film Venus. Her radio credits include a 2008 adaptation of Blinded by the Sun by Stephen Poliakoff and Lydia Bennett in Unseen Austen, an original drama by Judith French. In 2009, she worked on the film Ollie Kepler’s Expanding Purple World, the BBC2 drama Royal Wedding, and the short film Wish 143, which was nominated for the Academy Award for Live Action Short Film at the 83rd Academy Awards.
In 2010, Whittaker appeared in the film The Kid and co-starred in BBC’s Accused. She appeared in the 2009 Irish comedy crime film Perrier’s Bounty. In 2011, she appeared as Viv in the BBC adaptation of Sarah Waters’s novel The Night Watch and the cult film Attack the Block. In 2012, she starred in the musical comedy-drama Good Vibrations.
From March to April 2013, Whittaker starred in the ITV detective drama Broadchurch; she subsequently reprised the role for two additional series, until the show’s conclusion in 2017. In January 2014, she starred in the reality-based spy drama miniseries The Assets on ABC.
On 16 July 2017, Whittaker was announced as the thirteenth incarnation of The Doctor in the science fiction television series Doctor Who; she will be the first woman in the history of the franchise to play the title role.
Whittaker has been married to American actor Christian Contreras since 2008. Their first child was born in April 2015.
Her nephew Harry Whittaker had Down syndrome and played Leo Goskirk, a character with the same condition, in Emmerdale before his death at the age of three in 2014.