Well, the numbers are in and it’s clear that BBC America’s Doctor Who premiere was a huge hit!
When the new Doctor was revealed to be Jodie Whittaker, the world reacted immediately and enthusiastically. This was an historic moment for a show that’s older than much of its audience. Never before had a woman been cast in the role. (Unless you count the Comic Relief Special “Doctor Who: The Curse of Fatal Death”. In the parody Joanna Lumley briefly embodied our favorite Gallifreyan. You can watch that HERE and it’s well worth the time.)
But I digress …
While there were some naysayers (aren’t there always?), the vast majority of Whovians praised this move as being long overdue. Jodie Whittaker is an amazing actor and did a, to use her word, brilliant job in the premiere. That’s not just my opinion, either, we’ve got numbers to back that up.
This past Sunday, the Doctor Who premiere had a ratings growth of 48% over last season’s premiere based on Nielsen live+same day ratings. Even though it was shown at the odd time of 1:45pm ET it still managed to draw 1.4 million viewers for the live broadcast. When you add in the encore broadcast at 8pm ET that number skyrockets to 2.6 million. That’s the highest ratings for a BBC America Doctor Who premiere since the series reboot.
By the way, over in the UK BBC One counted a total of 8.2 million viewers! That’s the best numbers for a Doctor Who broadcast in the UK in something like five years.
So what does all that mean? It means the world was more than ready for a female Doctor. It means the writing, acting, cinematography, musical score, and all the sundry bits that went into this new season clicked with viewers. And knowing premieres/pilots are usually still finding their footing it also means there’s nowhere to go but up for Doctor Who.
Here’s the full press release from BBC America so you can get all the juicy details.
BBC AMERICA’S ‘DOCTOR WHO’ REGENERATES WITH 48% GROWTH OVER PREVIOUS SEASON PREMIERE
55-Year-Old Series Fastest Growing Drama On TV This Year
New York –Tuesday, October 9, 2018 – BBC AMERICA’S new season of Doctor Who, featuring Jodie Whittaker as the Thirteenth and first female Doctor, drew 1.4 million viewers and 658,000 Adults 25-54 in its 1:45pm global premiere. Doctor Who now ranks as the fastest growing drama on TV this year with a +48% increase over the previous season premiere in Nielsen live/same day ratings. The season opener ranked as the #1 program in its timeslot across all of cable in the target demos and was the #1 most searched program and #1 most talked about program on social media with 93% positive sentiment. The new season is now Certified Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes.
Whittaker’s premiere more than doubled Peter Capaldi’s final episode, while exceeding the debuts of David Tennant and Matt Smith.
Including the primetime special and same-day encores, the new season premiere episode has already grossed over 2.6 million Total Viewers and 1.2 million Adults 25-54 – the highest sampling for a Doctor Who season premiere since the series reboot over a decade ago.
Doctor Who premiered as part of a Global Simulcast at 1:45pm ET/10:45am PT on Sunday, October 7th and screened at Madison Square Garden as part of New York Comic Con.
“At the unlikely time of 1:45pm, fans and new viewers came together at New York Comic Con and around the country for a global simulcast, and embraced this fresh era of Doctor Who. To see such growth for a 55-year-old franchise is rather unusual and entirely brilliant,” said BBC AMERICA President and GM Sarah Barnett. “Jodie Whittaker plays The Doctor with great gusto, power, humor and charisma. She, along with Chris Chibnall and Matt Strevens, have ushered in a new Who that is inclusive and thrilling.”
With a new Doctor (Jodie Whittaker) and new friends Ryan (Tosin Cole), Yasmin (Mandip Gill) and Graham (Bradley Walsh), this first season from new showrunner Chris Chibnall and executive producer Matt Strevens welcomes back fans and invites those who are new to Who. The new season is packed full of action, humor, emotion, and adventures through space and time. Doctor Who is a BBC AMERICA co-production with BBC Studios.
The next episode of Doctor Who airs Sunday, October 14th at 8/7c. Still reeling from their first encounter, can the Doctor and her new friends stay alive long enough in a hostile alien environment to solve the mystery of Desolation? And just who are Angstrom and Epzo? The episode will guest star Shaun Dooley, Susan Lynch, and Art Malik.
The series premieres Sundays at 8/7c on BBC AMERICA.
Episode 1 is available now on VOD, BBC AMERICA app and bbcamerica.com.
Source: Nielsen, Live+SD, 10/7/18. Doctor Who S11 Simulcast = 1:45p ET / 10:45a PT. Fastest-Growing Drama = 2018-TD season premiere vs prior season premiere, P2+. Cable Timeslot Rank = Sun 1:45p-3:15p (strict), A25-54 & A18-49. Previous Doctor Comparison vs first/last regular season episode, P2+. Doctor Who S11 Premiere Day Gross = simulcast + 5 same-day encores. Social = ListenFirst Conversation Score, Search Index, and US Twitter Sentiment.
For all of our Doctor Who coverage on Three If By Space, CLICK HERE and enjoy!
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Doctor Who airs on BBC America Sundays at 8pm ET/PT