Sixth Doctor Colin Baker believes Doctor Who will gain "many more" fans with Jodie Whittaker as the first female Doctor – even if certain outraged viewers have vowed to "never watch the programme again".
Writing in the Guardian, Baker – who has long supported the idea of a female Doctor – says he has been saddened and shocked by the backlash from some "fans".
"Let’s hope the disgruntled can be convinced in the end," he writes. "But if we do lose some fans we will gain many more when it’s not just little boys in the playground (or bigger boys in the acting profession) saying: 'I want to be the Doctor one day.'"
The former Doctor Who star, who played the Time Lord from 1984-1986, points out that the Doctor is always changing – after all, when he was the star of the show he wore a long multi-coloured patchwork jacket and had light curly hair.
"I have never been able to think of any logical reason why an alien being capable of regenerating in extremis would necessarily retain all or indeed any of the characteristics of his (or her) pre-renewal self," he says.
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"They have been young and old, they have been Scottish, northern and received pronunciation, they have been grumpy, feckless, patrician, barmy, innocent, brash and potty – but never female.
"I have always found that problematical, not in the world we live in, but in the world the characters live in, particularly the Doctor’s world."