The Hungry Earth was watched by 4.5 million viewers according to overnight figures.
GallifreyNewsBase reports that 4.25 million tuned in to BBC1 with an additional 0.30 million watching on BBC HD. The audience share remained a consistent 32.2 %.
The fantastic weather across the UK saw the series fall to the lowest overnight total since its return in 2005. Only 13 million people were watching TV when Doctor Who started implying that many were still out getting sunburnt and burning the BBQ.
The program inherited 1.8 million from Junior Apprentice and peaked at 4.8 million.
“Enemy of Doctor Who” Graham Norton enjoyed the biggest success of the night with Over the Rainbow scoring 6.2 million for its results show and 5.8 million for the early Dorothy-a-thon.
With the World Cup about to decimate TV schedules this could just be the start of yo-yo Doctor Who ratings. Before the series returned rumours were abound of a split in Whoâ€™s transmission in order to accommodate both the World Cup and the general lull in ratings as the weather improves.
The final viewing figures will be released some time next week but the overnight score is the lowest since The Satan Pit way back in June 2006 which faced off against England’s first match in the 2006 tournament.
Critical response has been mostly positive; with most praise being lavished on the return of second tier monsters the Silurians.
The Guardian praised the moral quandary of the Silurians defence, quoting Steven Moffat’s comment in Doctor Who Magazine:
â€œAnd yet the way the showrunner tells it, it was the idea of the homo reptilia â€“ the Earth’s original inhabitants woken from slumber and seeking to claim it back â€“ rather than their legacy that compelled him to bump them up the checklist. “That’s a movie franchise idea,” he told Doctor Who Magazine. “Just having that idea could make you rich for the rest of your life. And so (creator) Malcolm Hulke gave it to Doctor Who. Quite right.”
The Telegraph, again utilised Gavin Fuller, the youngest ever Mastermind champion with Doctor Who as his specialist subject, praised writer Chris Chibnallâ€™s (who returns to the programme after 2007’s disappointing 42) various nods to Classic Who.
â€œIndeed, in many aspects it was like a homage to the (Pertwee) era, from the Tardis failing to land in the correct location to more explicit elements â€“ as well as the obvious Silurians references and the Doctorâ€™s ongoing determination, despite the setbacks so far in his life, to achieve some peace between the two races.â€
SFX, however, rewarded the episode just 3 stars, another low rating following last weeks 3.5 stars for Kasterborous praised Amyâ€˜s Choice; reviewer Ian Berriman writes:
â€œI suspect this episode might work better for casual viewers. For clued-up fans who know whatâ€™s coming, thereâ€™s a rather long wait for the Silurians to turn up. Having a countdown to their arrival creates extra frustration, rather than tension. It feels like a very under-populated tale, too: thereâ€™s a major drilling project run by two people, a village inhabited by one family, and (for the most part) just one Silurian.â€
Den of Geek echoed The Telegraph’s comments and is cautiously optimistic of big things to come in part two.
â€œIt combines to form a tidy, effective part one, one that didnâ€™t overplay its hand, and inevitably saved its big moments for the episode to come. But it was entertaining nonetheless, channelling quite a lot of the feel of old Who, and doing it successfully enough.â€
There was a lot to love about yesterdays episode (particularly Rory and Amy waving at their future selves) so if you fancy pouring over more Silurian goodies head over to the BBC website.