DR Who fans took to social media with a mixture of enthusiasm and dismay as Jodie Whittaker made her debut as the first female Time Lord in the final seconds of the Christmas special.

Read more: Alison Rowat reviews Dr Who Christmas special

Scots star Peter Capaldi bowed out from the role he has held for four years after an episode which saw him transported to the frontlines of the First World War.

One viewer on Twitter described the handover from Capaldi to Whittaker as a "wonderful and tearful episode", while another said it was a "glorious, glorious send off for the magnificent Peter".

There was also praise for Whittaker in her opening scenes, with one Dr Who fan tweeting: "Something tells me she’ll be even more badass than her male predecessors", while another - anticipating the backlash over the controversial decision to regenerate the Doctor as a female - said she was "utterly confident" in the new lead, adding: "Not happy with new series haters before they've even witnessed her and the storylines in action."

The announcement earlier this year that Whittaker would take over from Capaldi sparked outrage among some diehard fans who insisted it did not make sense for Dr Who to be played by a woman.

Many of those sentiments were repeated again last night, as one viewer took to Twitter complaining that a female Dr Who was like Jaws being played by "a dolphin, Wonder Woman as a man, batman as a flying fox and Barney the dinosaur as a kangaroo".

Others were quick with tongue-in-cheek barbs about "women drivers", with the Christmas special ending as the Tardis spiralled out of control and crashed.

One Twitter fan wrote: "The first thing the BBC have the first female Dr Who doing is crashing the Tardis. Can’t make it up", while another added: "Brilliant! First woman in charge of The Tardis and she's lost it".

Another - referencing her role in BBC drama Trust Me, where she played a nurse posing as a consultant, added: "That's the second doctor's identity she's stole this year."