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Published on July 2nd, 2010 | by Meredith Burdett

Let’s Back Matt!

Finally, some sense has been spoken over this whole “drop in ratings” debacle. Digital Spy have reported that Doctor Who fans have begun to show their support for Matt Smith and have spoken out about what actually caused the slight (that last word is very important) drop in ratings for some of the episodes this year.

Doctor Who stars Matt SmithPeter Bell, a Doctor Who, fan commented:

“I’m happy to admit I was wrong. He was good at first and he just got better and better as the series progressed – better even I think than [David] Tennant… We had great weather on Saturday and most people don’t want to spend summer sat indoors watching the TV.”

Matt Hills, a doctor at Cardiff University (who has also written several books on Doctor Who), also commented on the ratings:

“These ratings figures need to be viewed in the context of a developing shift towards on-demand viewing.” he explained. “Audiences know they can catch up with Doctor Who via services such as iPlayer, as well as through BBC Three repeats.”

This is a clearer picture of what has actually been going on with the series over the past thirteen weeks. The ratings were high when the weather was cold and they were low when it was sunny. Rather than a reflection on Doctor Who or a lack of interest in the new series this is just circumstance. The clear ratings winner this year was the FIFA World Cup because more people like football than Doctor Who (apparently..) and it was not only watched in homes but in pubs as well. Now if only someone would make a Doctor Who pub….

The full article can be found at Digital Spy.


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About the Author


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!

9 Responses to Let’s Back Matt!

  1. avatar Rick714 says:

    Yes, and I would also hope that this will be made clear in Doctor Who Monthly magazine as well.

    There will always be factions out there that will blow things out of proportion so hopefully this will all blow over like any other panic about the sky falling.

    I’d easily stack this season up against any other since it came back in ’05 and right now, I’d stack up Matt Smith against any of the previous favorites, old series or new! I won’t say he’s my favorite ever, as I feel it’s not really fair to do that until one can see his era finished as a whole but he’s been amazingly impressive so far.

  2. avatar Laz says:

    Also, it appears to me they just can’t count. Or WON’T count. Some don’t consider BBC HD in their calculations. Or they get overnights instead of final ratings. And that’s preposterous. I think they’re just looking for “scandals” that just aren’t there.

  3. avatar Paul says:

    I think low ratings are good, as it means the programme no longer appeals to morons.

  4. avatar Carn says:

    I actually stay in more when it’s sunny. I love running in the rain and cold weather in general. But that’s just me.

    maybe most of the ‘missing’ viewers were also Tennant fan-girls who didn’t really watch it for the show itself but just cos they fancied him. Though Smith seems to be gaining his own too which is nice for someone who was once said to be too ‘ugly’ for the role (by morons).

    god… it’s saturday tomorrow and no doctor who. After the crap week I’ve had (had to call police 3 nights in a row and tonight might be a 4th depending on what happens as it nears midnight) I reeeally need something nice for the weekend.

  5. avatar Marveloriddle says:

    As I’ve said in previous comments, this is just smear tactics. Certain tabloid newspapers want to use a perceived drop in ratings to create a narrative about how much of licence payer’s money is spent on shows that nobody watches. This then becomes part of a larger story about profligacy at the BBC with a view to reducing the funding for the BBC so that people like Rupert Murdoch can dominate the airwaves. Sadly, as most people all over the world show a depressing tendency to be lead by the nose by the right wing press, I expect this will come to fruition. This is why Russell T Davies has been making a lot of comments lately about fighting on the picket lines for the Beeb, and rightly so.

  6. avatar Patooty says:

    Still…were there no warm and sunny days during the Eccleston/Tennant eras? How does the drop in ratings during this year’s nice days compare to any drop in ratings during nice days from the last 5 years? All the alternative methods of watching the show existed then, too. Maybe there is legitimate reason to be concerned…

  7. avatar Paul says:

    I agree with Patooty. Clearly, the best Doctor and companion pairing for thirty three years, together with a number of well written scripts that actually make you think, was clearly too much for the audience cultivated under Russell T. Davies. What the BBC need to do now is sack Matt Smith and and Karen Gillan and replace them with a squawking idiot and a plank of wood. Then they need to turn Murray Gold’s music back up to eleven, so you can’t hear any of the dialogue, and ban Moffat from ever writing for Doctor Who again, making Chris Chibnall the new show runner. Only then will the show be dumb enough to get back the “X Factor” audience.

  8. avatar argimenes says:

    I’m always suspicious of these articles that claim success or disaster for Doctor Who based on the ratings. Honestly, how insecure are we that we need 8 million strangers to tell us that an episode was good or bad? Steven Moffat has given the public more or less what they expect from the ‘franchise’ (a detestable word fit only for McDonalds) the BBC have created out of Doctor Who. And let’s face it, Matt Smith can act the socks off David Tennant and has bags of eccentricity and charisma. I would argue that if the ratings have gone down for any reason it is probably because the production team have been too conservative, if anything, and given people more or less the same spectacle Russell T. Davies gave them the past five years. I admit I was surprised at how tired the show looked this year in the sense that there wasn’t much that was really new. I think until they escape from the gravity well that is the Doctor-Companion love story the series will never free itself to roam in time and space and wonder and will come clunking back to Earth in contrived sexual tension.

    In any case, let the bean counters and the suits fret over the numbers. All I care about is whether the magic of Doctor Who still lives on.

  9. avatar argimenes says:

    I would also count as a real fan someone who would happily watch the series dive-bomb in ratings so long as the Doctor Who essence was preserved. I’m not saying it has to be unpopular to be good, but I think audiences eventually figure out when they’re being pandered to, and it would be honestly better for Doctor Who to eke an existence in novels, audio, and fan-fiction than to become another ‘franchise’. I don’t think the show will be axed for a long time, but it was certainly no measure of quality that Sylvester or Colin got axed in their prime. Sylvester’s late stories were an almost uninterrupted run of classics, yet they couldn’t hold back the forces of destiny, Coronation Street, and Michael Grade.

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