First woman Dr Who a hit with Aussie fans
First woman Dr Who a hit with Aussie fans

Australia's legion of Doctor Who fans couldn't be happier that a woman is taking over the TARDIS for the first time in the sci-fi television show's 50-year history.

British actress Jodie Whittaker, 35, was unveiled by the BBC overnight as the Thirteenth Doctor who will replace Peter Capaldi when he ends his stint as the world's favourite time lord after three series this Christmas.

While there was some initial negative reaction on social media as word spread around the globe about the first ever female Doctor, Australian fans overwhelmingly welcomed the gender switch.

President of the Doctor Who Club of Australia Lauren Davis said the BBC's groundbreaking decision was one of the most significant moments in the program's history.

"It's important the show tries to do different things and goes in a bold and different direction and you couldn't get bolder than this," she told AAP on Monday.

"I think the main thing is people just need to give it a chance.

"Even if you aren't totally on board with the idea of a female Doctor just watch an episode or two and you might surprise yourself."

Whittaker, best known for her recent role as the mother of a murdered boy in the BBC crime drama Broadchurch, had been among six women and eight men tipped as possible choices to replace Capaldi.

And Capaldi appears happy about handing over TARDIS keys and sonic screwdriver to the 35-year-old actress, saying she has "the huge heart to play this most special part".

Whittaker, whose Broadchurch co-star was the Tenth Doctor David Tennant, described her new role as overwhelming and tried to reassure fans sceptical about a woman taking on the role.

"Because this is a really exciting time, and Doctor Who represents everything that's exciting about change," she said.

"The fans have lived through so many changes, and this is only a new, different one, not a fearful one."

Australian fans of the show took to social media to give their blessing.

"Welcome to the TARDIS, Doctor. I hope you enjoy your stay, which I also hope is a long one," Stephen Coppins wrote on the Doctor Who Club of Australia's Facebook page.

However fellow member Judith McGuinness suggested the BBC hadn't gone far enough.

"In casting a 'classy Anglo Blonde female' the BBC is not moving forward quickly enough, maybe too reluctant to compromise the inclusive diversity that has been their agenda?," she wrote.

Avid Doctor Who fan and co-presenter of the ABC's Whovians program, Adam Richard, says the choice of Whittaker proves "anything can go in Doctor Who".

Whittaker, like her predecessors, was also likely to endure a lot of pressure from fans, he said.

"It is going to be challenging for her as a human being," he said.

"But as an actor she is going to be amazing, it is going to be brilliant."

AAP

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