Jodie Whittaker doesn't want 'Doctor Who' fans to be "scared" about her taking over the lead role in the show.

Jodie Whittaker as Doctor Who

Jodie Whittaker as Doctor Who

The 35-year-old actress admitted it is "overwhelming" to be the first woman to play the time traveller but she thinks the changes to the show that come with her casting are "really exciting".

She said: "It feels completely overwhelming; as an actor, as a woman, as a feminist, as a human, as someone who wants to continually challenge themselves and not be boxed in by what you're told you can and can't be.

"I want 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."

But despite feeling overwhelmed by the show, Jodie didn't feel daunted when she auditioned for the part.

She told the Sunday Times newspaper: "I went to the audition excited, but I always walk into the room with an attitude of 'I sound like this, I look like this, but, believe me, I can do it'."

The actress never watched the show when she was growing up, but became "much more aware" when it was rebooted in 2005 with Christopher Eccleston in the TARDIS, and when it comes to her favourite incantation of the Time Lord, she'd choose her 'Broadchurch' co-star David Tennant.

She said: "It's wonderful and I absolutely love it. As a family we didn't watch it except at other people's houses. But I was much more aware of it when it came back with Christopher Eccleston, David Tennant and Matt Smith."

Asked her favourite Doctor, she added: "David [Tennant], of course, because I know him. I think he was amazing. But there is no right or wrong, there are no rules."

Jodie's casting in the show was shrouded in secrecy, so when it came to discussing the part with her agent and family, she referred to the part as "the Clooney" because she and her husband Christian Contreras - the father of her two-year-old child - were big fans of actor George Clooney.

She explained: "To me and my husband, George is an iconic guy. And we thought, what's a really famous iconic name? It was just fitting."