THE first female Doctor Who assured fans there is more to fear from Daleks than her gender as she was unveiled as the new star of the sci-fi show yesterday.

Jodie Whittaker will make television history as the first woman to take on the mantel of the ancient Gallifreyan time traveller.

The appointment of the Broadchurch star follows intense speculation about who would follow 12th Doctor Peter Capaldi, with the actor himself stating he wanted a woman to take the helm of the Tardis.

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At the close of the Wimbledon men’s singles final yesterday, the BBC granted his wish, revealing Capaldi’s successor in a trailer which saw hooded Whittaker walk through woodland towards the Tardis, where a key appeared in her hand and her face was finally shown to fans.

The show’s global popularity ensured the issue instantly became the top worldwide trending topic on Twitter, with some users complaining about the gender switch.

One posted: “Ladies, how would you like it if your female childhood hero became a male?”

However, others dismissed the concern, with one stating: “Hideous sexist backlash. A 900 year old alien with 2 hearts in a phone box is identifiable but A WOMAN?”

Whittaker was quick to address the issue, stating: “I want to tell the fans not to be scared by my gender.

“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.”

Fans had called on a number of actors to be cast as the Doctor’s 13th incarnation, including Scots comic Susan Calman, Vicki McClure of Line of Duty and Richard Ayoade of The IT Crowd.

Whittaker, 35, will make her debut on the long-running series when Capaldi regenerates into the character’s new form following the 2017 Christmas special.

Change will also take place behind the camera, when the Paisley-born showrunner Steven Moffat exits the project to make way for new head writer and executive producer Chris Chibnall, who worked with Whittaker on Broadchurch.

On landing the role, Whittaker said: “I’m beyond excited to begin this epic journey – with Chris and with every Whovian on this planet.

“It’s more than an honour to play the Doctor. It means remembering everyone I used to be, while stepping forward to embrace everything the Doctor stands for – hope. I can’t wait.

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

“It feels incredible,” she added.