Actress Tilda Swinton is the frontrunner to become Doctor Who's next Time Lord, according to the latest bookmakers' odds.

The Oscar-winning British star would take over the role from departing actor Peter Capaldi, who recently announced he is stepping down from the series this year after entering the Tardis in 2013.

Ladbrokes has said Swinton, 56, has been the focus of a "huge gamble" from punters, with her odds now at 7/2 after initially having entered the market at 10/1.

Other names in the running include Death In Paradise's Kris Marshall at 4/1, Broadchurch's Olivia Colman at 5/1 and Maxine Peake, best known for Dinnerladies and Shameless, at 8/1.

The number of bets being placed on female stars highlights the calling for the first female Doctor when the character regenerates once again.

Ladbrokes spokeswoman Jessica Bridge said: "Whovian punters are becoming increasingly convinced the next Doctor will be female, and fingers are currently pointing towards Swinton."

Michelle Gomez, who plays Missy in the show, Captain America star Hayley Atwell and Sherlock actress Amanda Abbington are among those fans have said they would like to see in the role.

The BBC sci-fi series's outgoing executive producer Steven Moffat previously suggested that the Doctor could, at some point, be a woman.

He said: ''I think the next time might be a female Doctor. I don't see why not.''

Capaldi's final performance as the Doctor will be in the Christmas 2017 special episode.