Jodie Whittaker has been named the 13th Time Lord of the hit BBC television show Doctor Who – making her the first woman to get the part.

There was wide speculation that the role would be given to a woman after Peter Capaldi announced he was retiring from the show in January.

Whittaker, who previously starred in the hit ITV series Broadchurch, will take on from Capaldi following the 2017 Christmas Special.

Her confirmation as the successor to Capaldi was revealed in a special Doctor Who trailer that was broadcast on BBC One following the end of the Wimbledon men's singles final.

In an interview with Doctor Who Magazine, Whittaker said: "I'm beyond excited to begin this epic journey – with Chris Chibnall and with every Whovian on this planet.

"It means remembering everyone I used to be, while stepping forward to embrace everything the Doctor stands for – hope. I can't wait."

She added it has been a nerve-racking experience to know she will be the 13th Time Lord amid all the speculation about the announcement.

Whittaker also sought to relieve sceptical Doctor Who fans who may have questioned her ability to succeed in the role as a woman.

"As a feminist, as a woman, as an actor, as a human, 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. This is only a new, different one, not a fearful one.

"I'm most excited about becoming part of a family I didn't even know existed. I was born in 1982 and Doctor Who has been around longer than me and it's a family I couldn't ever have dreamed I'd be a part of."