Doctor Who's head writer and executive producer, Steven Moffat, has said that sooner or later a female actor will be cast as the Doctor in the BBC's long-running science-fiction drama.
Moffat made the comments during a question-and-answer at this weekend's MediaGuardian Edinburgh International Television Festival.
Referring to last year's Neil Gaiman-penned episode, The Doctor's Wife, which starred Matt Smith as the Eleventh Doctor and Suranne Jones as his "wife", the TARDIS, Moffat said, "It is a part of Time Lord lore, it can happen. I don't know, who knows? The more often it's talked about, the more likely it's going to happen."
Moffat then asked the audience how they felt about the prospect of a female Doctor, but the reaction was mixed.
One attendee said he could "take it for a couple of episodes", which Moffat pointed out wouldn't be very nice on the actor involved.
To date, eleven male actors have played the Doctor in the TV show, but a female taking over the lead has been mooted ever since Tom Baker stepped down in 1981, and wished his then-unannounced successor the best, "whoever he or she is".
In 2003, the BBC drew up a long list of potential actors to play the part of the Doctor, which included several women.
Doctor Who returns to television screens in the UK, US and elsewhere in September. The 2012 series premiere, Asylum of The Daleks, will be shown on BBC 1 on Saturday, 1 September, in the UK; and on BBC America on Saturday, 8 September in the US; with other countries to follow.