Doctor Who’s 13th Doctor has been announced, and after months of speculation, the future of the BBC’s long-running science fiction show is indeed female. The 13th person to take on the role full-time will be Jodie Whittaker, the BBC reports. She will make her first appearance during the show’s Christmas special this year, which will also mark the departure of the twelfth doctor, Peter Capaldi, who’s been Doctor Who–ing it up since 2013.
Whittaker played the unfaithful wife in the great Black Mirror episode “The Entire History of You,” and grieving mother Beth Latimer on Broadchurch. (The new Doctor Who showrunner is Broadchurch creator Chris Chibnall, so this should be a natural fit.) Whittaker also appeared in Joe Cornish’s alien invasion comedy Attack the Block along with future Star Wars star John Boyega, meaning the 2011 film is just one Star Trek casting announcement away from uniting all of science fiction’s warring tribes.
Doctor Who has been more or less a constant on British television since its first episode aired in 1963, the day after Kennedy was assassinated. The Doctor is a member of a race known as Time Lords who are able to periodically regenerate their appearance, a convenient bit of lore that allows the BBC to recast the part while maintaining continuity with the show’s previous incarnations. This also allows guest stars to briefly inhabit the role—although Whittaker will be the 13th actor to take the lead role in the TV series, the list of actors who’ve ever appeared as the Doctor is long and surprising, spanning from John Hurt to Peter Cushing. But although Whittaker is not the first woman to officially play the Doctor—that honor goes to Joanna Lumley, who appeared in the 1999 spoof “The Curse of Fatal Death”—it’s the first time a female Doctor will take the series lead. Perhaps now we will finally be able to solve that baffling word puzzle in which a boy and his father are in a car accident, the father is killed, and Doctor Who refuses to operate on the boy because he is Doctor Who’s son.