An average audience of 6.9 million viewers tuned in for Flesh and Stone according to overnight figures, with Doctor Who securing 34.5% of the available audience, reports GallifreyNewsBase.
Split across 6.53 million watching on BBC One, (the most watched programme of the evening on the network), and 0.34 million watching on BBC HD, final figures are likely to be higher once delayed viewing from iPlayer and Sky+ are factored in.
Reviews of the episode – the conclusion of the storyline begun in The Time of Angels and a development of the series arc – have been overwhelmingly positive.
SFX awarded the Steven Moffat script – his fourth so far – with 4 stars out of 5, although given some of the points in their review this seems a slightly high score. Time to start marking our of 10, perhaps? Still, they’re not wrong about this:
There are, however, plenty of touches of the Moffat genius. Amyâ€™s countdown is a brilliant tension-heightening gimmick, and the scenes with the cleric having no memory of his vanishing comrades is very spooky (almost like something from Sapphire And Steel). The Doctorâ€™s final dialogue with the doomed Bishop (â€œI wish Iâ€™d known you better.â€ â€œI think, sir, youâ€™ve known me at my best.â€) must rate as one of the best-written and most affecting self-sacrifices scenes in the showâ€™s history.
If you’re looking for a national mainstream press review, once again your only hope is The Guardian. however Dan Martin declared that Flesh and Stone is:
which leads us to wonder if he’s quite alright. I mean, it was good, possibly even a classic, but better than Genesis…?
Den of Geek’s review of Flesh and Stone makes a particular point of the developed powers of the Weeping Angels no longer content with feeding off the time energy created by sending you back in time (as in Blink) – now they’re really aggressive, desperate to feed on the energy from the Byzantium and the crack.
How about suddenly taking a cleric in a headlock, for instance? A brilliant moment, terrifically executed.
Then thereâ€™s the angel in Amyâ€™s eye. The simple weaving in of a countdown into Amyâ€™s dialogue was great for starters (be honest: how far into it did get before you realised she was counting down?), but as it became clear the angel was inside her, it was played out to terrific effect.
MaryAnn Johanson is focussed firmly on the Doctor and his various possible/potential relationships with the women in the episode – and she rightly underlines that the situation with River Song is less of a situation and more of a “what are you doing to us, Moffat?!”
Okay: the Doctor and River. In the space of three short episodes featuring River Song (and the awesome Alex Kingston), weâ€™ve gone from â€œThe Doctorâ€™s what?â€ to â€œNo, she canâ€™t really be the Doctorâ€™s wife — thatâ€™s too obvious. Something else extrainsidious and strange must be going on here.â€ And it almost doesnâ€™t matter what that something extrainsidious is, or even if River does in fact turn out to â€œmerelyâ€ be a lover of the Doctorâ€™s (which would be extraordinary enough, for where this show came from), because itâ€™s the hashing over the possibilities she represents thatâ€™s the real fun.
Finally, ShadowLocked blogger Leo Porter has made the rather astonishing claim that Matt Smith is the best Doctor since Tom Baker. Based on 5 episodes, we really don’t see how this decision can be determined so soon, however the rash declaration soon loses steam:
I believe that David Tennant would have been the subject of this article if he had been The Doctor in the reign of Steven Moffat instead of Russell T. Davies, and that in this sense – for all that the role profited him and the new verson of the show garnered viewers – he was short-changed.