I’m a member on Gallifreybase - arguably the biggest online Doctor Who forum - and yes, I can confirm that all hell has erupted over there since the casting announcement.
When Moffat first gave us a female Doctor in his SIDS charity spoof, The Curse of Fatal Death (played no less than by Joanna Lumley!), I accepted it in the context it was presented - a bit of fun. But when he then gained control of the show, and promptly started inserting references to sex-swapping Time Lords, I knew it was only a matter of time… culminating (for him) with the Missy Master. I am sure Moffat must be pissed that he didn’t get to oversee the transition himself.
I can’t say I know a lot about the man, but from what I do know, I can’t imagine Sydney Newman would have approved of the idea of his cranky old mad professor turning into a woman… But then again, he did give Verity Lambert, a young inexperienced woman the first producer role at the BBC… And somehow I could picture her thinking this was a great idea. Hartnell himself, well, I think his grave’s probably been pretty noisy over the past day…
For the record, no, I’m not thrilled, but as I’ve done with all of the new era Doctors - I’ll give them an episode to convince me… If she loses my son/s, then she’ll lose a lifeline (because it was only my eldest’s interest that kept me watching any of Smith).
Chibnell will really need to pull a rabbit out of his hat here, because it’s going to take some really good writing, and good acting, to capture the MASSIVE audiences that I expect will tune in for Ep 1 of 2018… The great risk is that a large chunk of the already decreasing audience will turn off, and not enough new people will find it in time.