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Published on June 30th, 2010 | by Meredith Burdett

24

Wrong Figures, Wrong Answer

The Daily Mail online has reported claims that this year’s series of Doctor Who has lost roughly 1.2 million viewers and only managed an average of 6 million. The article also mentions that David Tennant’s last series in 2008 managed to average 7.2.

Doctor Who - The Eleventh HourBafflingly, the article comments that the 2010 series opener only managed to attract 8 million viewers; however, it was actually over ten. This seems to point out that the writer hasn’t done the correct research and shouldn’t be piping up in the first place!

Thankfully, the BBC has noted that many viewers recorded the episodes to watch later or caught up with them by using BBC iPlayer. The writer of the piece in question, Paul Revoir, fails to point out efficiently that during the 2008 run of Doctor Who, BBC iPlayer was used far less to gather ratings evidence as it was launched in the same year and used by far less people.

The article also goes on to question if Matt Smith is a better Doctor than David Tennant, comments about the “sexing up” of the new series and also about fans displeasure of the new theme tune.

If you haven’t got anything good or practical (or accurate)  to say, keep it down!

The Telegraph website also published an article about the decline in ratings but was far fairer about the reasons why this may have been happening.

Read more in the Daily Mail and the Telegraph articles.

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About the Author

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What happens when an eight year old kid watches the 1993 repeat run of Planet of the Daleks? He pretty much ends up here writing about the show that grabbed hold of him and never let go!




24 Responses to Wrong Figures, Wrong Answer

  1. avatar kirk31 says:

    Its so Typical the Daily mail would pick up on this.

    (They love nothing more than spreading negative and ill informed news upon the British public)

    When the facts in question (as BBC noted) are different.

    As a dr who fan…

    1/ This season was a superb start/ Change
    2/ matt smith picked up the batton and ran with it
    3/ The timeshift/ and weather caused a viewing dip

    however the appreciation index was incredibly strong.

    ……However if you work for a rag like the Daily mail, positives and facts go out the window.

    Its sad.

    When at this moment dr who is very very good!!!!

  2. avatar krumstets says:

    Of course the Daily Mail like most tabloids is especially fond of negative spin on any issue.
    Dr Who’s viewing figures are probably slightly down overall,but this is due to other factors like hot weather and world cup football.
    However,they have got a point about the new theme music arrangement, it is rubbish.

  3. avatar Lazarus77 says:

    I must confess to being tremendously confused by this constant negative press. After seasons that gave us such “excellent” writing in the shape of Fear Her, Daleks in Manhattan/Evolution of the Daleks and the “let’s all wish upon a Doctor” resolution (Last of The Time Lords) I am shocked at how vocal people have been about the changes to the show. We’ve been treated to some very complex and thought provoking writing and yet people seem to be locked onto short skirts as if they’ve never seen one before. My only explanation is that the ones who decry this new series must a) be generally new to Who, having only started watching with the relaunch (and therefore incorrectly believe that the RTD era is an exemplar of revitalized classic Who) and b) are having difficulty with plots that are more complicated than simply returning to the Daleks as the supreme cockroach of the universe.

    I shared many people’s trepidation with the reveal of Matt Smith as the replacement but it seems that, unlike many, I was willing to put aside my initial reactions and allow the show to regain my affection. And my open mind was rewarded with exemplary plotting, a show that required more active thought than passive and a story that managed to incorporate a romantic sub plot in a perfectly believable fashion.

    There are lots of reasons why the series may not have pulled in the same numbers but if the appreciation index is to be believed, those people who stayed faithful to their Blue Box enjoyed the show more than before.

    This series has been a triumph and a joy not only to watch but to watch over and over, picking up in more detail and subtle crafting. To those that were disappointed, I say only this. I’m disappointed as well–disappointed that this excellent series was evidently too clever for you to follow.


  4. This is part of journalism. Surprised people are, well, surprised. Building the throne creates news, knocking it down perpetuates it. All things have a natural popularity cycle. Even good things eventually lose their sparkle – and that’s not a testament to production decline, simply as people we get accustomed to what surrounds us (thankfully in the case of surgeons as an example). The media reflects this, waiting for a good time to knock down what they built up when the audiences are at a point where the product has lost its sparkle of being something new.

    Look at NME, watch them make the news building the new big thing, then a year or so later, when people have got bored of the hype and waned from the novelty, come and knock em down.

    Though for me, this series of Doctor Who has been weak, and I don’t carry my natural excitement for Christmas despite Smith’s excellent work (my issue is with Moffat, I just don’t think he created a consistent or challenging series). But that’s not reflective on what’s going on here. This is just media tactics looking to exploit the show’s loss of novelty value into sales.

  5. avatar bobbygaga says:

    The negativity seems to me to come from three angles:
    1) RTD apologists.
    2) David Tennant droolers.
    and most importantly
    3) Right-wing hacks looking for weak spots in order to attack the BBC.

    Laredo Lowtide, do you seriously believe that Doctor Who 2005-2009 was consistent and challenging? Please.

  6. avatar Leosw4 says:

    Well they just gotta have a go at someone, and it aint going to be Lady Ga Ga…yet.

    Not the biggest series 5 fan, but Matt Smith was/is ace!

    Why I am even allowing the Daily Mail to wind me up!!!!!

  7. avatar Paul Cavanagh says:

    Tsk. Yet more RTD bashing. The enemy here is the Daily Mail and its unrelenting crusade to denegrate anything remotely positive about the United Kingdom.

    Laredo – you spoil a perfectly good post by intimating that anybody who doesn’t agree with you is lacking in intelligence. I enjoyed series fnarg, but I do have reservations. Doesn’t make me stupid.

  8. avatar Paul Cavanagh says:

    Ooops, apologies Laredo, my last comment should correctly have been adressed to Lazarus.

  9. avatar Paul says:

    The fact is, RTD dumbed the show down so much that when Moffat came along and put some intelligence back into it, the morons left.

    Now, where their was sickly sweet sentiment, there is real emotion, where there was horrible overacting by David Tennant, there is now Matt Smith giving a heartfelt performance, where there were once pop singers and impressionists masquerading as actors, we’ve now got the genuine article in Karen Gillan, and finally, where we once had a mishmash of dreadful plotting and clichéd characterisation, we’ve now got, for the most part, beautifully executed story telling.

    Unfortunately, the morons don’t like it, and if the morons don’t like it, then they won’t watch.

  10. avatar Paul Cavanagh says:

    Blimey, that’s a bit harsh! To say that RTD’s Doctor Who was ‘dumbed down’ is one thing, but calling people who enjoy Russell’s scripts ‘morons’ is somewhat extreme, no?

    I’d defend Russell, but I think his record speaks for itself.

    And it all started as a discussion of silly newspapers reporting ratings. Who opened that can? There’s worms everywhere now!

  11. avatar Lazarus77 says:

    My apologies to all. It really wasn’t my intention to intimate that those who didn’t enjoy the series as much as I did were stupid or lacking in intelligence. Tastes are very personal and Doctor Who being what is is evokes very visceral reactions in people. Still, that’s no excuse for thinly veiled insults.

    I will admit that I have had my issues with the RTD era but overall I did enjoy his vision of what Doctor Who could be even if I didn’t appreciate the (in my mind) forced and contrived love story between Ten and Rose.

    Paul Cavanaugh, you’re entirely correct and thank you for calling me out. We needn’t compare show runner’s vision out of a silly need to prove one superior to the other. They both have been splendid so far, have had their own failings but regardless, I have been happy to have Who back on the TV screens.

    Doctor Who is such a nebulous thing that it really isn’t fair to say that those who don’t like it are wrong. Compare the tone of the Perwee era to the Davison era. Different approaches to the show and yet both intriguing for their unique takes on Who.

    Our ire is more appropriately directed at certain “news” media outlets who have taken it upon themselves to tear down something wonderful. Shame on them and not the fans who perhaps want something different from the Doctor Who they are now faced with.

  12. avatar Paul says:

    Lazarus 77, how dare you accuse me of launching “thinly vailed insults”! They were not “thinly vailed” at all.

    “I will admit that I have had my issues with the RTD era but overall I did enjoy his vision of what Doctor Who could be”

    What do you mean “What Doctor Who could be?” That suggests that prior to RTD, the programme was some kind of shambles, and it was only RTD who had the vision to make it great. Whereas, the truth of the matter is that a once great family show was taken by RTD and raped to death.

  13. avatar Paul says:

    “Paul Cavanagh wrote:

    Blimey, that’s a bit harsh! To say that RTD’s Doctor Who was ‘dumbed down’ is one thing, but calling people who enjoy Russell’s scripts ‘morons’ is somewhat extreme, no?”

    No. Why would you dumb a show down unless you were trying to appeal to an audience of morons? “Oh this audience is clever, so let’s write some scripts that would insult the intelligence of an amoeba.” Doesn’t make sense, does it? More likely he thought, “Let’s try and increase the audience figures by appealing to the lowest common denominator.”

  14. avatar Lazarus77 says:

    I really don’t want to get into a flame war, Paul. Let’s be spirited, intense and enthusiastic about our comments while remembering that we’re all of us Doctor Who fans. Let;s stay civil. That’s what Cavanagh was suggesting and I fully agree. With that in mind, I’ll try to reply to what you’re saying:

    When I was talking about thinly veiled insults, I was speaking about what I wrote. I can’t speak for anyone else, obviously.

    What I was saying about RTD showing what Doctor Who could be was my attempt to refer to the wide and wild possibilities of what a series of Doctor Who can be. I think Doctor Who is in the very enviable position of being a show of possibility, able to bend and shift into new shapes that, while different from what is has been in the past, still holds the essence of what the Doctor is. My statement wasn’t to say the show was a shambles before. I didn’t think it was and was saddened when it was removed from the air in ’96.

    I don’t think RTD dumbed down the show purposefully–or at all. I think he was making, to his mind, the best family show possible. Moffat seems to, in my opinion, represent more of what I want from family viewing in that his characters relate to children and younger viewers in a way that I do myself.

    Was one better than the other? No. They are simply a representation of two different kinds of parenting, in a way.

  15. avatar Paul says:

    “When I was talking about thinly veiled insults, I was speaking about what I wrote. I can’t speak for anyone else, obviously.”

    But I think you were completely correct in stating that if some people didn’t enjoy this season it may have been because it was too clever for them. It was often too clever for me. I remember watching “Vincent and the Doctor” and thinking, what a boring load of old rubbish,” and then a few days later I watched it again, and suddenly relalised that I was missing a massive subtext, and the story was transformed for me. I bet there are a lot of people who just watch Doctor Who because it has “exciting” effects, and lots of running around and shouting, and if a story hasn’t got that, an actually requires them to think, then they turn off. That’s obvious, isn’t it?

    “What I was saying about RTD showing what Doctor Who could be was my attempt to refer to the wide and wild possibilities of what a series of Doctor Who can be.”

    But RTD didn’t demonstrate that, we know that already. In fact what RTD did was to reduce Doctor Who down into a format, and repeat it to death.

    >My statement wasn’t to say the show was a shambles before. I didn’t think it was and was saddened when it was removed from the air in ‘96.I don’t think RTD dumbed down the show purposefully–or at all. Moffat seems to, in my opinion, represent more of what I want from family viewing in that his characters relate to children and younger viewers in a way that I do myself.Was one better than the other?They are simply a representation of two different kinds of parenting, in a way.<

    Only in as far as one parent wants to educate their kids, while the other is happy to feed them junk food.

  16. avatar Paul says:

    My post appears to have got screwed up, ignore the above and read this one.:)

    “When I was talking about thinly veiled insults, I was speaking about what I wrote. I can’t speak for anyone else, obviously.”

    But I think you were completely correct in stating that if some people didn’t enjoy this season it may have been because it was too clever for them. It was often too clever for me. I remember watching “Vincent and the Doctor” and thinking, what a boring load of old rubbish,” and then a few days later I watched it again, and suddenly relalised that I was missing a massive subtext, and the story was transformed for me. I bet there are a lot of people who just watch Doctor Who because it has “exciting” effects, and lots of running around and shouting, and if a story hasn’t got that, an actually requires them to think, then they turn off. That’s obvious, isn’t it?

    “What I was saying about RTD showing what Doctor Who could be was my attempt to refer to the wide and wild possibilities of what a series of Doctor Who can be.”

    But RTD didn’t demonstrate that, we know that already. In fact what RTD did was to reduce Doctor Who down into a format, and repeat it to death.

    “My statement wasn’t to say the show was a shambles before. I didn’t think it was and was saddened when it was removed from the air in ‘96.”

    It wasn’t removed from the air in ’96, it was removed from the air in 1989. As for the American movie, that really was a shambles.

    “I don’t think RTD dumbed down the show purposefully–or at all.”

    I don’t agree. I think he was dumbing it down purposefully, as there is a distinct drop off in the brain department after “The Christmas Invasion.” The show was dumbed down in the hope of getting more viewers, because the audience demographic breakdown had told them that season one had been watched mostly by people on low incomes, and the unemployed (or basicially, people who can’t afford to go out on a Saturday night). As it turned out, season 2 was a couple of points down on the average audience commanded by season 1, which to me suggests that the idea that people who are unemployed, or are on low incomes must, by definition be thick, was horribly wrong.

    “Moffat seems to, in my opinion, represent more of what I want from family viewing in that his characters relate to children and younger viewers in a way that I do myself.”

    My view is that Moffat’s Doctor Who is aimed at children and adults, whereas, RTD’s Doctor Who was aimed at children and morons.

    “Was one better than the other?”

    Yes.

    “They are simply a representation of two different kinds of parenting, in a way.”

    Only in as far as one parent wants to educate their kids, while the other is happy to feed them junk food.

  17. avatar Lazarus77 says:

    Whoops. typo. of course I know that it was removed from the air in ’89. I was heartbroken that year because I’d lost the show just when I’d found my fave Doctor.

    I wasn’t referring to the US adaptation… that was terrible… but it did introduce the 8th Doctor who has become one of my fave due to his excellent Big Finish Stories.

    But Paul, be careful… don’t lump children and morons in the same group.

    You clearly feel very strongly about the value of the new series and I, in many ways, share your fervour and dedication to Moffat’s work… I just don’t think it makes your argument any stronger if you choose to level insults at people who aren’t getting the same satisfaction you are from the show.

  18. avatar Lazarus77 says:

    The above will be my last post in this thread. I don’t want to argue with fans of the series. Even fans who aren’t on the same page as I am. I just wish mass media would back off and let the show be.

  19. avatar Paul Cavanagh says:

    I’m with Lazarus here – I’m not really interested in name calling. I’m sure I’ll have an opportunity elsewhere on the site to say why I love RTD’s scripts so much, doing so here is only likely to add fuel to the fire.

    A question though – is there actually any evidence that folk have been tuning in to Doctor Who, getting confused and bored, and switching over to watch something more suited to their ‘moron’ sensibilities? I haven’t examined the viewing figures closely enough, but I seriously doubt that is the case.

  20. avatar Paul says:

    “Lazarus77

    But Paul, be careful… don’t lump children and morons in the same group.”

    I can perfectly accept an eight year old child sitting in front of the TV and clapping its hand with delight at “Aliens of London,” if however, I saw a man of thirty-eight doing the same thing, I’d think he was a moron.

    I can also perfectly accept an eight year old child failing to see any of the flaws in “Aliens of London” but if a thirty-eight year old fails to see the flaws also, and defends the story by saying, “You’re just being cynical. You don’t understand the magic of Doctor Who,” I would again think he was a moron.

    Any fully grown adult with the IQ of an eight year old would, in anyones book, be a moron. That’s undeniable.

  21. avatar Paul says:

    “Paul Cavanagh wrote:

    A question though – is there actually any evidence that folk have been tuning in to Doctor Who, getting confused and bored, and switching over to watch something more suited to their ‘moron’ sensibilities?”

    The average audience on Doctor Who is down 1.5 million on season 4, and all the specials last year performed better then many of the episodes this year. Now as Doctor Who was zipped up and down the schedules, it wasn’t in competition with any one single programme, but my guess is, that instead of switching over, the morons just switched off, and did something else moronic. How else can you explain “Journey’s End,” probably the dumbest episode ever put to video tape, getting 10.6 million and an index of 91 (which means these morons actually enjoyed it),when something as wonderful as “The Big Bang” will probably get, once the audence shift has been taken into account, something between 6 and 6.5 million viewers?

    It’s the moron factor. Moron’s don’t like Moffat. They react to his storylines like vampires do to daylight. Look at “Blink”. Said by many to be one of the best new series stories ever made, and what did it get? 6.6 million. And yet, just three weeks later, 8.6 million were watching “The Last of the Time Lords,” which was so stupid, I actually felt my IQ drop a few points while watching it. I actually couldn’t operate the kettle for several minutes after the episode had ended, my brain had been so dumbed down. I’d actually forgotten what water was.

    Now just imagine if a moron like George Bush had watched that story. He’d probably have forgotten to breath.

    Perhaps that’s the answer. Perhaps maybe that’s the reason why series five is down 1.5 million morons, they all died off while sitting though “The End of Time.”

  22. avatar Paul Cavanagh says:

    Oh dear oh dear. Paul, you really can’t see how feeble your argument is, can you?

    Because something I don’t like is popular, it must mean that all those people who don’t agree with me are stupid.

    That’s your argument in a nutshell. Do the words ‘delusions of grandeur’ mean anything at all to you?

  23. avatar Paul says:

    “Paul Cavanagh wrote:

    Because something I don’t like is popular, it must mean that all those people who don’t agree with me are stupid.”

    That’s not my argument at all. Please pay attention. My argument is that if you dumb a show down, you’ll get dumb people watching it. If you then take that same show and try and dumb it up again, what usually happens is that viewership drops off, and that’s what’s happened with Doctor Who.

    “Do the words ‘delusions of grandeur’ mean anything at all to you?”

    Not, really, no. I can’t see anything wrong with wanting to watch a Doctor Who story that holds together, is well acted, and perhaps even makes you think a bit, as opposed to something so badly and cynical written you wonder how RTD can look at himself in the bathroom mirror every morning.

    I think it’s very sad that certain Doctor Who fans are so desparate to be liked and be part of the crowd, that they’re willing to suspend their critical faculties, and defend stuff that makes “Timelash” look like a gold plated classic.

    It’s just a great shame that these people are willing to sell their souls for bottle tops, that’s all, and then attack other fans for having “delusions of grandeur” when they have it pointed out to them how poor the show has been over the last few years.

    • avatar Cosmic Hobo says:

      You talk a lot about 8year olds,your laughable rants against anyone who disagrees with you show you have the emotional maturity of one.As for what makes someone a moron maybe it’s the inability to spell desperate?By the way I’m in my fifties I have a degree and have been watching the show since the beginning.

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