Huddersfield actress Jodie Whittaker will become Dr Who on Christmas Day ... but a former Dr Who admits he would have preferred Dawn French in the role.

The hour-long episode when viewers will see Jodie for the first time is called Twice Upon A Time and will be screened on BBC1 at 5.30pm on Christmas Day.

Tom Baker admits that if he had been in charge of casting he may have passed the sonic screwdriver down to Dawn French.

He told GQ magazine: “I would have thought Dawn French would have been a good Doctor Who because she’s got such a wry sense of humour and also has a way with her that faintly suggests she’s got secrets.”

Dawn French

But he did say he was “thrilled” that Jodie had been given it, adding: “Maybe they’ll invite me back as her assistant in one scene or another. It would be very nice, wouldn’t it? In a sequence where she found me somewhere in some old people’s home, where actually perhaps there were several old Doctors.”

In the Christmas Day episode Peter Capaldi’s 12th Doctor teams up with his earlier self the First Doctor (David Bradley) as the pair both try to avoid regenerating. In the course of their meeting they discover that mysterious glass creatures have started freezing time, pursuing Mark Gatiss’ First World War Captain throughout history.

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David, who has taken over the part of the first Doctor from late actor William Hartnell, has previously worked with Jodie on Broadchurch and said he was “delighted” when he heard she had been cast as the first female Doctor.

He said: “I have to say, as we saw in Broadchurch, she’s got this emotional reserve that is kind of like, there’s no limit to it, she just tells it like it is.

The Captain played by Mark Gatiss, the current Doctor Who played by Peter Capaldi and the first Doctor played by David Bradley. The 12th Doctor and the First Doctor (played by Bradley) come face to face in the BBC show's Christmas special, which is Capaldi's last stint in the Tardis before he hands over the role to Jodie Whittaker

“She’s capable of great emotion and passion and, at the same time, anybody who has hung out with her for a while, which I did, knows that she’s also got a wicked sense of humour and she’s just got that kind of playfulness.

“I think she’s got all the skills that are needed.”

He added: “Because I think the Doctor basically, he’s got this child-like quality, curiosity about the universe and everything in it, and that sense of fun, and playfulness. And he gets it wrong sometimes, he’s not perfect, sometimes he gets them into deep water and nearly kills himself and everybody else with him, so he’s not the lone ranger, he’s not perfect, which makes him very vulnerable, and to me that makes him human.

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“I think Jodie will be fantastic.”

There will be a special screening of the Christmas Dr Who episode at the Odeon in Bradford on December 22. It means 600 lucky people picked from thousands who applied through a ballot to BBC website Shows and Tours will get the chance in two sittings to see the episode with 75% of seats were reserved for applicants with a Bradford postcode.