Former Emmerdale actress Jenna-Louise Coleman has landed the role of the Time Lord's new companion in Doctor Who, the BBC has confirmed.
Producer Steven Moffat announced the actress will replace Karen Gillan's character Amy Pond when she leaves the show in the next series.
Coleman, 25, has also appeared in Waterloo Road and Julian Fellowes' four part mini-series Titanic.
The star said: "I am beyond excited. I can't wait to get cracking."
Coleman, who will make her first appearance in the Christmas special, added that she is a "huge fan" of the show.
The actress, who is from Blackpool, revealed she auditioned alongside Matt Smith, who plays the 11th Doctor.
"It was fun and I felt like we were in it together."
Smith is set to return as the Time Lord in the new series of Doctor Who, which starts later this year.
"It always seems impossible when you start casting these parts, but when we saw Matt and Jenna together, we knew we had our girl. She's funny and clever and exactly mad enough to step on board the Tardis," Moffat said.
"It's not often the Doctor meets someone who can talk even faster than he does, but it's about to happen. Jenna is going to lead him his merriest dance yet. And that's all you're getting for now.
"Who she's playing, how the Doctor meets her, and even where he finds her, are all part of one of the biggest mysteries the Time Lord ever encounters. Even by the Doctor's standards, this isn't your usual boy meets girl."
The BBC said the Doctor will meet Coleman's character in a "dramatic turn of events as the show builds towards its enormous, climactic 50th anniversary year".
Filming for the seventh series of the sci-fi drama started last month in Wales.
The new series will contain 14 episodes, featuring "new monsters and some familiar foes", split across two years.
In December, Gillian announced she would be leaving the popular programme, saying it had been a mutual decision between herself and producers.
"We both opened up about where we were at with it and then came to the conclusion that this was the best time to go," she said.
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