Before she became the first female star of Doctor Who, Jodie Whittaker was best known for appearing as the mother of murdered Danny Latimer in hit ITV drama Broadchurch.

Already a recognisable face to millions of TV fans, the Yorkshire-born actress, 39, became a household name after being cast as the beloved time traveller in the long-running sci-fi series.

Born in June 1982 in the village of Skelmanthorpe near Huddersfield, Whittaker dreamed of becoming an actress as a teenager.

Jodie Whittaker interview
Jodie Whittaker is the first woman to play the Doctor (Sophie Mutevelian/BBC)

After leaving school at 16, she completed a Btec in performing arts before attending Guildhall School of Music and Drama alongside Hayley Atwell and Michelle Dockery, who also went on to acting success.

Whittaker also met her husband, American actor Christian Contreras, at Guildhall. They married in 2008 and had their first child in 2015.

A keen footballer and squash player as a youngster, Whittaker is an avid cricket fan and her father was formerly president of Huddersfield Cricket League.

BAFTA Awards 2010 – After Show Party – London
Whittaker and husband Christian Contreras (Ian West/PA)

She left drama school in 2005 for a part in Storm at Shakespeare’s Globe theatre, and subsequently won her first film role in Venus, alongside Peter O’Toole in 2006.

Big screen roles that followed included the St Trinian’s remake, with close friend Gemma Arterton, comedy horror film Attack The Block, and Good, alongside Lord Of The Rings star Viggo Mortensen.

On TV, Whittaker had a leading role in an episode of the first series of Charlie Brooker’s Black Mirror in 2011 and in supernatural period drama Marchlands before landing the role of Beth Latimer in Broadchurch.

She also took on the lead in BBC medical drama Trust Me as a nurse pretending to be a doctor, and had a major role in Paddy Considine’s boxing film Journeyman.