A YouGov survey has found that the sexuality of the next actor to play the lead in Doctor Who matters to 15% of people, but it rates as less important than being British, male, or white.

Matt Smith, the 11th actor to play the Doctor, recently announced that he would be stepping down from the role after this year’s Christmas special, leaving the question of who would play the 12th, and possibly final, version of the character.

Speculation was fuelled by a Sunday Times article last week which quoted “informed sources at the BBC” as saying the next Doctor may be played by a woman.

YouGov then asked the public which traits it was “important” for the actor to have, ranging from whether they should be male to whether they should be attractive.

The results found that 15% of the public wanted a heterosexual actor to play the Doctor. This compares to, among other things, 54% who say it’s “important” for the actor to be British, 52% who say they should be male, 23% who say they should be white, and 11% who say they should be tall.

The previous 11 actors to play the Doctor have all been white, British men, and fan favourite David Tennant is above average height.

Placing importance on heterosexuality was most common among UKIP voters, 36% of whom polled in favour of choosing a straight actor.

Lib Dem supporters cared the least about the actor’s sexuality at 9%, followed by Labour at 13% and Conservatives at 20%.

Last month UKIP leader Nigel Farage said he would not expel party members who thought homosexuality was “disgusting”, explaining: “If you are suggesting that we should become so politically correct that we should kick out anyone who holds a slightly old-fashioned view, frankly that would be the death of debate in politics in Britain.”

Gay actor Russell Tovey revealed last month that he had auditioned for the role before it was given to Matt Smith, but said he was “relieved” not to have got it. He said: “I don’t know what I would have done with all the attention.”

Tovey added: “Every character I play is straight, which is unique, my agent says, because it’s not really been done before that someone who is completely out is able to play straight roles.”