SHE was lured into one of the world's most iconic TV roles with a chat about Broadchurch.

Jodie Whittaker, now unveiled as an historic new Doctor Who, thought a conversation with Chris Chibnall, the new head writer of the show, was to talk about the ITV crime drama in which she made her name.

However that chat, in early 2017, was in fact the preamble to the 35-year-old Yorkshire actress being offered the role of the 13th Doctor - she will succeed incumbent Peter Capaldi at Christmas.

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Whittaker said being the first female Doctor was "completely overwhelming, as a feminist, as a woman, as an actor, as a human, as someone who wants to continually push themselves and challenge themselves, and not be boxed in by what you’re told you can and can’t be."

The actress said she wanted to "tell the fans not to be scared by my gender.

"Because this is a really exciting time, and Doctor Who represents everything that’s exciting about change.

"The fans have lived through so many changes, and this is only a new, different one, not a fearful one."

Ms Whittaker, depicted in a teaser video walking through a forest wearing hooded garb, said Mr Chibnall, who is taking over running the series from Steven Moffat, invited her for a "strange chat" in early 2017.

She said: "He tricked me into thinking we were talking about Broadchurch.

"And I started to quiz him about his new job in Wales [with Doctor Who], and asked him if I could be a baddie!

"And he quickly diverted the conversation to suggest I should consider auditioning to be the 13th."

She added: "It was the most incredible chat because I asked every question under the sun, and I said I’d take a few weeks to decide whether I was going to audition.

"He got a phone call within 24 hours."

Since then she admitted she had told "a lot of lies" to keep the role secret.

Mr Chibnall, the new head writer and executive producer said: " After months of lists, conversations, auditions, recalls, and a lot of secret-keeping, we’re excited to welcome Jodie Whittaker as the Thirteenth Doctor.

"I always knew I wanted the Thirteenth Doctor to be a woman and we're thrilled to have secured our number one choice.

"Her audition for The Doctor simply blew us all away.

"Jodie is an in-demand, funny, inspiring, super-smart force of nature and will bring loads of wit, strength and warmth to the role."

Capaldi said "she is a wonderful actress of great individuality and charm.

"She has above all the huge heart to play this most special part. She’s going to be a fantastic Doctor."

Ms Whittaker said that she has been asked to play "the ultimate character, to get to play pretend in the truest form: this is why I wanted to be an actor in the first place.

"To be able to play someone who is literally reinvented on screen, with all the freedoms that brings: what an unbelievable opportunity. And added to that, to be the first woman in that role."

She added that "there was no persuasion needed.

"If you need to be persuaded to do this part, you’re not right for this part, and the part isn’t right for you."

The actress said she did not know what her costume for the role will be.

Ms Whittaker, from west Yorkshire, graduated from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in 2005 with a gold medal in acting.

Her TV credits include Broadchurch, Black Mirror, Cranford, The Night Watch and 'Tess of the D'Urbervilles.

She has recently finished shooting the film Journeyman, written and directed by Paddy Considine, as well as the lead in the new BBC drama series Trust Me.