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Published on May 1st, 2011 | by Christian Cawley

Ratings Down, Reputation Up

SFX report this morning that according to overnight figures, Doctor Who lost a little over 1 million viewers over the past week.

Yeah, doom and gloom merchants, the weather is working in your favour. A few more weeks of hot sunny weather following the consecutive Bank Holiday weekends and you’ll be able to consign Doctor Who to history and return to your nostalgic 1970s DVDs with a cup of ovaltine and forget that  the RTD/Moffat eras ever happened.

Good luck with that.

What the overnight figures reveal is that while Doctor Who only managed 5.4 million viewers, ITV’s People do the Funniest Things struggled to hit 2 million. Meanwhile Don’t Scare the Hare attracted 1.4 million viewers before Doctor Who and So You Think You Can Dance had 3.2 million.

There is clearly a pattern emerging: although it is disappointing that viewing figures are down, it is across the board. People aren’t deserting Doctor Who – which acts like tent pole in BBC One’s ratings – they’re deserting TV on a Saturday evening because it is largely dreadful.

Doctor Who managed just over 30% of the audience share  for its timeslot, and came in second in that and audience figures for the night to ITV’s Britain’s Got Talent later in the evening, which drew a massive 9.5 million viewers.

Given that BBC One’s news at 10.15 pm was the third most watched broadcast of the day, then the dire state of British TV on a Saturday evening should become clear.

However it isn’t all bad news. As we know, Doctor Who is a major draw on BBC iPlayer so while these figures are not counted in official viewing figures, when released they will provide a better impression of the truth.

And as our reviewer Elton Townend Jones points out, this new series of Doctor Who is possibly the most ambitious yet. We’ll be looking back on Season 32 as one of the greatest ever in a few years time…

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About the Author

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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+.



One Response to Ratings Down, Reputation Up

  1. avatar krumstets says:

    BBC Iplayer is great. It really has transformed our viewing habits.
    I watched Dr Who at 10pm on Saturday on Iplayer because the weather was nice and I knew I didn’t have to stay in to watch it.
    One of the best episodes I have ever seen.
    In fact the only problem I can see is that the more casual viewer might have missed some top quality drama on a Saturday evening.
    I predict the viewing figures will rise considerably when the second half of the series is shown in the autumn.

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