Just 15% of Doctor Who fans are against the idea of having a female Doctor after Jodie Whittaker ushered in a "new dawn" for the BBC1 sci-fi show.

Despite a vocal minority bemoaning the casting decision, the reaction has been generally positive amongst fans according to a poll conducted by RadioTimes.com.

Out of over 12,000 people who voted, only 1,978 people called the decision to cast a female Doctor "terrible". By contrast, over 40 per cent of those polled by contrast called the decision "fantastic", with another 43 per cent saying they would wait to see her first episode before jumping to conclusions.

Twelfth Doctor Peter Capaldi, who will depart the show at the end of this year's upcoming Christmas special, praised Whittaker's casting, saying, "She’s going to be a fantastic Doctor.”

Whittaker herself was keen to allay fans' fears about having a female Doctor for the first time in Doctor Who history: “I want to tell the fans not to be scared by my gender,” she said. "Because 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.”

Former show stars too have joined Doctor Who fans in celebrating the casting decision, with former companions Billie Piper, Karen Gillan and Freema Agyeman all lending their support to Whittaker.

Former Doctor Colin Baker meanwhile said on Twitter that "the BBC really did do the right thing and let the Doctor be in touch with her feminine side", adding, "Change my dears and not a moment too soon - she IS the Doctor whether you like it or not!"

Mirroring the results of RadioTimes.com's poll, the reaction among fans online has been overwhelmingly positive, with Brandwatch noting that 80 per cent of posts about the news to social media categorised as positive compared to 20 per cent negative.

The big Doctor Who reveal has been viewed more than one million times on YouTube since going live after the Wimbledon men's singles final on Sunday 16 July.