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Published on May 6th, 2011 | by Andrew Reynolds

Time Shift for Gaiman’s Episode!

The BBC have confirmed a schedule change for Doctor Who in light of poor overall Saturday evening audience figures in which the show has been an unfortunate tent pole for lower performing atrocities.

Depending on how you might feel about the 6pm air time, you might see this news as the BBC admitting that the new time might be a reaction against blows from ratings nerds and scar(y)mongering Mail articles. However this really shoudl be seen as a show of faith.

From Neil Gaimans’ , The Doctor’s Wife, the series moves forward to 6:30 pm, switching places with the insipid So You Think You Can Dance Live and sparing UK audience from catching the end of the mind bogglingly awful Don’t Scare the Hare (where was the Daily Mail article on that?) which has been cast to the Pre-Evening News Slot of the Damned.

Unsurprisingly the move is seen as a vote of confidence in the show which is the only programme in the Saturday Night Lineup to have achieved strong ratings: The Impossible Astronaut took a 43.3% share of the overall telly viewing public while Day of the Moon took an equally impressive  30.5%.

In an exclusive chat to Digital Spy Dan McGolpin, Head of Planning and Scheduling for BBC One, planned and scheduled this:

“Like last year, this series of Doctor Who is scheduled at start times between 6pm and 7pm on a Saturday night, where it attracts a very strong audience including a large proportion of younger viewers.

Very few drama series on any of the UK’s channels achieve audience volumes of this size.”

Doctor Who continues with The Curse of the Black Spot Saturday at 18:15 on BBC 1.


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About the Author


Everyone has a favourite Doctor and mine - just for his honesty, his fairness and his ability to not notice the Master's awful, awful disguises/anagrams (Sir Gilles Estram!?!) - has to be the Fifth Doctor, Peter Davison. The stories didn’t serve him as well as his acting served those stories.

2 Responses to Time Shift for Gaiman’s Episode!

  1. avatar G1000 says:

    I have no problem with you roasting the Daily Mail for sloppy journalism, but could you explain how Day of the Moon with 30.5% audience share is as ‘equally impressive’ as The Impossible Astronaut which got 43.3%? Both figures may be impressive, but are not equal.

  2. avatar 23skidoo says:

    The show’s still on too early, in my opinion. I still don’t get this fetish for running it between 6 and 7. Yes I know the BBC still considers Doctor Who a children’s program, but any kid old enough to follow Day of the Moon is old enough to stay up past 7 PM.

    Anyway, as far as I’m concerned the biggest problem is the BBC’s continued refusal to set a permanent time for airing the show. Set it to run a 6:30 and leave it there. Don’t move it to 6:45 the next week, then 6:15 the week after that. That’s one reason why Series 5 struggled in the ratings. I know UK viewers are probably used to this, but that doesn’t stop it being a stupid policy. Just as stupid as the BBC not actually confirming when an episode will air (especially given the constant shifts) until a week or so before broadcast. BBC America and Space – who schedule the episodes at a constant time – announce their airdates weeks in advance, not days.

    If the BBC really wants to give Doctor Who a show of confidence, anchor it at 7 PM and let the other shows bounce around the schedule.

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