First Posted: Jun 06, 2013 09:18 AM EDT

(Photo : BBC)

Matt Smith shocked fans earlier this week when he announced that he would be giving up his sonic screwdriver in just two episodes, making way for the Doctor's 12th regeneration. There's been a lot of talk recently about who could replace Smith as the next Doctor, and with only two regenerations left, many fans hope that this time it could be a woman.

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This would be a fairly radical change for the series, but some hope it could be a big way to break the sexist stereotypes that seem to be seeping into the series. According to The Sun, even Steven Moffat himself seems to support the idea that it could happen.

He stated, "It is a part of Time Lord lore that it can happen. Who knows, the more often it is talked about the more likely it is to happen some day."

The Sunday Times even go as far as to say that "informed sources at the BBC" are reporting that it's a possibility the channel is considering. But who could play the role? Fans and analysts have weighed in on the question, and have come up with some very intriguing choices.

Miranda Hart, best known for her TV work including her self titled series "Miranda," is currently the frontrunner according to a survey run by Escentual.

Billie Piper, who played the Doctor's companion and love interest Rose Tyler (and is set to make her triumphant return during the 50th anniversary episode), has also been brought up as a possibility. Considering her prominence in the series, Piper would require some creative writing to get her into the role, but the Bad Wolf story arc certainly provides a good precedent.

A group of fans have also been pushing for British broadcaster Sue Perkins to be considered for the part. Perkins is best known for her TV series "The Supersizers," and as part of the comedy duo Mel and Sue.

Olivia Colman has also been on many fans' radars, having starred in numerous TV programs including "Peepshow," films such as "Hot Fuzz" and "The Iron Lady," and even a role on "Doctor Who" as Mother in "The Eleventh Hour."

Jennifer Saunders, star on "Absolutely Famous" and a seasoned voice actress, was nominated by Phil Plait of Slate as another worthy contender. Slate's designer Andrew Morgan likewise put forth Natasha O'Keeffe saying, "She could pull off the look/attitude and can deadpan like no one's business."

O'Keeffe currently has a recurring role on "Misfits."

Meanwhile, the Guardian believes Olivia Williams has what it takes to become the Doctor, stating that she "could bring things to the Doctor we've never seen before - she has a vulnerability combined with seriousness, she'd play the role with absolutely no bouncing around whatsoever, surely a welcome contrast to what's gone before."

Williams has had roles in "The Sixth Sense," "An Education," and "Rushmore."

Lastly, since the males leads of the Harry Potter franchise have been getting so much attention, why not put Emma Watson up for the part as well? She certainly has the acting chops and fan base to earn the role.

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