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Jodie Whittaker broke new ground for women in science fiction in July 2017 when the British actress was announced as the 13th Doctor in long-running cult favorite "Doctor Who" (BBC 1963-), making her the first woman to take on the iconic role. Not bad for a girl who told the Washington Post early in her career that there was no appreciation of the arts in her family and that she had left school at 16 to work odd jobs around London before finding her true calling. The hazel-eyed, blonde-haired actress grew up in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, England. She then moved to London and trained in acting at the prestigious Guildhall School of Music and Drama. Her onscreen acting career started in 2006 in an episode of "The Afternoon Play" (BBC, 2003-), followed by a role in the drama series "Doctors" (BBC, 2000-) before appearing in several productions in Shakespeare's Old Globe Theater in London. Whittaker's big break came in the form of the film "Venus" (2006), directed by Roger Mitchell of "Notting Hill" (1999) fame and written for the screen by Hanif Kureishi. Whittaker played Jesse, a young woman who meets and befriends an old man (Peter O'Toole), changing both of their lives forever. It took four auditions before she landed the role. A two-episode stint on "Dalziel and Pascoe" (BBC, 1996-), a TV show based on the books by Reginald Hill, followed Whittaker's breakout role in "Venus," as did a role in "This Life + 10" (BBc, 2007) and and co-starring roles alongside Viggo Mortensen in "Good" (2008), a movie about the rise of the Nazi Party in Germany and in the popular school comedy "St. Trinian's" (2007), which she reprised in the sequel "St. Trinian's 2: The Legend of Fritton's Gold" (2009). During this period, Whittaker also maintained a steady presence on British television, appearing in the miniseries "Tess of the D'Urbervilles" (BBC 2008) and "Wired" (BBC 2008), as well as the made for TV films "The Shooting of Thomas Hundall" (BBC 2008) and "Consuming Passion" (BBC 2008). After co-starring in the South African-made romantic comedy "White Wedding" (2009), crime comedy "Perrier's Bounty" (2009), and family drama "The Kid" (2010), Whittaker scored her breakout role starring in Joe Cornish's science fiction comedy "Attack the Block" (2011). After co-starring in the Anne Hathaway romance "One Day" (2011) and the thriller "A Thousand Kisses Deep" (2011), Whittaker co-starred in the TV miniseries "Marchlands" (ITV 2011) and an adaptation of Sarah Waters' novel "The Night Watch" (BBC2 2011). Whittaker co-starred in "Good Vibrations" (2013), a drama based in the Belfast punk rock scene of the '70s, and the thriller "Ashes" (2012) before co-starring on acclaimed British crime drama "Broadchurch" (BBC 2013-17) as the disconsolate mother of a dead child. She moved to American TV for the first time on the espionage drama "The Assets" (ABC 2013-14), which scored the dubious honor of gaining the smallest premiere audience ever for a series on one of the major broadcast networks. She rebounded with British firefighter drama "The Smoke" (Sky1 2014), but that series was also canceled after a single season. After starring in and executive producing the comedy "Adult Life Skills" (2016), Jodie Whittaker was announced as the 13th Doctor, replacing Peter Capaldi, on "Doctor Who" on July 16, 2017. With her one-line debut in the 2017 Christmas special, Whittaker became the first woman to star on the long-running cult favorite.
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