Since 1963, Doctor Who has always been played by a man. And former TARDIS traveller Billie Piper reckons it's about time a woman had a crack at the role.

Following 12th Doctor Peter Capaldi’s announcement that he will be leaving the show at the end of the year, Piper has said it would "feel like a snub" if the role didn't go to a woman. 

Piper, who played the Time Lord’s companion Rose Tyler from 2005 to 2013, told the BBC: "I've always supported the original format but I don't know where they can go from here.

"I think it would be great [to have a female Doctor] given the spirit of the world at the moment. I think it would be timely.” 

But the mother of two said taking on the role herself could be too much responsibility.

"I don't know," she said. "It's a lot of work. It would be a lot of time in Cardiff [where Doctor Who is filmed]."

Capaldi will return for a third and final season this April, with his last episode airing at Christmas.

His farewell series also marks the departure of lead writer and executive producer Steven Moffat, who has paved the way for a female Doctor by introducing Michelle Gomez as Missy, a gender-swapped incarnation of the Doctor's Time Lord foe The Master.

Several former Doctor Who actors have previously expressed their support for a female Doctor. Matt Smith thinks a female Doctor “could be close”, while Catherine Tate has predicted it will happen and Jenna Coleman has said: “There’s absolutely no reason why not.”

Favourites for the next actor play the Time Lord are James Bond star Ben Whishaw and former IT Crowd actor Richard Ayoade but Olivia Colman, who has been working with incoming Doctor Who boss Chris Chibnall on his show Broadchurch, is also a popular choice with fans.

Peter Capaldi's last series as the Doctor will debut on Saturday 15th April