Doctor Who loyalists have leapt to the defence of the first female Time Lord Jodie Whittaker after a number of fans aired their grievances over the move.
While the majority of committed viewers delighted in the announcement on social media, others hit out at the decision.
Fan website Doctor Who Online, which boasts more than 35,000 daily visitors and is edited by Sebastian Brook, said they were “genuinely appalled at some of the comments” made in reference to Whittaker being cast.
They added: “Whether you agree or disagree with the BBC’s decision, there is no place for hate speech.”
Whether you agree or disagree with the BBC's decision, there is no place for hate speech. Genuinely appalled at some of the comments!
— Doctor Who Online (@DrWhoOnline) July 16, 2017
A fan of the show for more than 25 years, Will Howells, who often contributes to the Doctor Who magazine and has attended conventions, said “what the character does is more important than what their gender is”.
He said: “I think it’s really cool. It will divide fandom. I think, you know, there were a lot of people who didn’t want it, didn’t want a female Doctor. But I think the most important thing is you have a really good actor playing the Doctor.”
— Doctor Who Official (@bbcdoctorwho) July 16, 2017
The show has such a “flexible format” that the gender of the Doctor should not be an issue, Howells added.
The 38-year-old digital manager from London said it is “very silly to get angry about a TV show”, adding that the show will be entertaining no matter who is playing the lead, provided they are good at acting.
“I think it actually gives the show lots of new potential, lots of different dynamics we haven’t seen before,” he said, adding that it will also provide a good role model for female viewers.
Most fans celebrated as Peter Capaldi’s successor was named, including the daughter of Twitter user Jenny Trout who delighted at the character being portrayed by a woman.
— 🏳️🌈Jenny Trout (@Jenny_Trout) July 16, 2017
Other users joked that if the Doctor could be resurrected and time travel why was it impossible for character to become a woman?
Q. A time-traveling phone booth?Male Doctor Who fans: Damn right.Q. A female Doctor?Male DW fans: That's implausible and breaks canon!
— Steve Silberman (@stevesilberman) July 16, 2017
It's funny that some people are saying its unrealistic to have a woman play Doctor Who… unlike the time travelling police box spacecraft.
— Michael Clarke (@Mr_Mike_Clarke) July 16, 2017
what doctor who will be: the exact samewhat angry people think it will be: come along companion, we must travel to the LIPSTICK DIMENSION
— savannah brown (@savannxhb) July 16, 2017
— Rylan Clark-Neal (@Rylan) July 16, 2017
Whittaker had told fans to “not be scared” by her gender, adding: “The fans have lived through so many changes, and this is only a new, different one, not a fearful one.”