As she gears up for her final outings as the first female Doctor, the actor reflects on how her life has changed, being the subject of fan fiction – and what happens when a Weeping Angel comes to life

Jodie Whittaker made history in 2017 when she took over from Peter Capaldi and became the 13th Doctor in Doctor Who, making her the first woman to ever play the time-travelling alien with two hearts. She grew up near Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, and is, she says, “really emotional”, a trait she turned to good use in a series of harrowing parts, most famously in Broadchurch, where she played a grieving mother alongside David Tennant (himself the 10th Doctor). When the Broadchurch creator Chris Chibnall took over as Doctor Who showrunner, he said that casting Whittaker was “a no-brainer”. Their first series came out in 2018, and this year Chibnall revealed that the two of them had a “three series and out” pact. In July, they announced they would be leaving the show after three specials, which will air in 2022, when Russell T Davies will return as showrunner and a new Doctor will take over from Whittaker. Her final full series of Doctor Who, subtitled Flux, ends on 5 December.

In summer, you said that you thought you’d be “filled with grief” at the end of your run. It has been a few weeks since you filmed your last scene as the Doctor – how are you feeling?
I’ve literally just got off the phone with Mandip [Gill, who plays the Doctor’s companion, Yasmin Khan]. It’s been four years of my life. My grief of saying goodbye to the job is one thing. But it won’t feel like the end until it’s the end. It’s the everydayness of these people and this atmosphere and this group … I find myself monologuing at various people on WhatsApp, checking that they miss me! Mandip’s had to take the blue ticks off because I’m “exhausting”.

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