I could see this thread coming. Surprised it took over a day though! :-)
I was surprised at Piper's casting, mainly because she'd been rumoured in connection to the part, and in the whole history of "Doctor Who" nobody who's been rumoured for anything in connection to the series has ever gotten it. (See Freddie-B's Izzard comment - his name was thrown into the ring by the famously mad-as-cheese Tom Baker back after the announcement in September. Terrible idea, but the papers still ran with it.)
She wouldn't have been my first choice, mainly because like many in the UK the memory of her pop career still haunts me... But by all accounts she's turned into quite a decent actress. I missed both her recent BBC performances in "The Miller's Tale" and "Bella and the Boys", and I'm not going to see the sodding "Calcium Kid", so I can't judge for myself.
But what I can judge is the abilities of those behind the new series, which have never been at fault before. If, after calling her in to three separate autitions before making the decision and seeing scores of actresses, Russell, Phil, Mal and Julie reckon she's the best, then that's more than good enough for me.
Well, actually, I don't entirely trust Mal Young, but the other three I do.
January creeps ever closer...