Steady the Ship, BBC

The BBC news pages are reporting that overnight figures for The Big Bang are half the audience that viewed The End of Time, Part 2 on New Year’s Day.

Doctor Who is produced by the BBCOf course, the Tenth Doctor’s swansong was event television with a slightly cynical edge to its David Tennant-heavy ubiqitous promotion – but then again, everybody knew what time Doctor Who was on that week.

These figures don’t make great reading – but that isn’t the problem. Whether they (based on an overnight temporary indicator and a full, classified final figure) can be compared or not is not the issue.

The issue is that the BBC have been migrating Doctor Who around the schedules like a tactical piece on a map, much like the model Ironsides in Victory of the Daleks.

Matt Smith, Karen Gillan, Steven Moffat and the other writers and production team members have been sold short by a BBC scheduling department that seems hell-bent on throwing Doctor Who around in order to make way for other, less interesting television.

You can almost smell the disrepect.

A seemingly endless selection of pro-celebrity-amateur talent contests and and dancing shows designed to promote charities of Lord Lloyd-Webber’s latest money spinner continues to be the BBC’s Saturday night focus; I’d love to see the repeat/iPlayer/DVD sales figures for these, and I’ll wager they’re not a patch on those of Doctor Who.

The average figure of 5.1 million people recorded for Saturday’s viewing will be adjusted by delayed viewing figures including iPlayer – however as Virgin Media have yet to add the episode, this might be lower than expected. Of course, they won’t quite find another 3 million viewers to bring the episode into line with The Eleventh Hour.

Only stability within the schedules and returning Doctor Who to 7pm can do this.

Christian Cawley


A long-term Doctor Who fan, Christian grew up watching the show and has early memories of the Graham Williams era. His favourite stories are Inferno, The Seeds of Doom and Human Nature (although The Empty Child, Blink and Utopia all come close). When he’s not bossing around the news team, Christian is a freelance writer specialising in mobile technology and domestic computing, and enjoys classic rock, cooking and spending time in the countryside with his wife and young children. You can find him on Twitter, Facebook and Google+.

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