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Published on September 19th, 2011 | by Christian Cawley

The Press Complex

Blimey, I don’t want to have to type this, but steer clear of reading too much into the lower-than-usual overnight figures of The God Complex this week, which thanks to the BBC’s ridiculous decision to run Celebrity Masterchef until Strictly Come Dancing returns proper has turned their Saturday night lineup into something of a collapsed trifle.

The indignity of it all is that pre-time shift adjustments (which the opposition doesn’t have the benefit of) Doctor Who was beaten by All-Star Family Fortunes. Only 5.2 million tuned in to watch a Minotaur killing guests in a virtual reality hotel while 5.3 million struggled to follow what Verrrrrnon Kaye was asking a disparate bunch of people who were once on TV.

There is every chance that the episode’s 12 rating could have been a big impact, and certainly based on the number and timing of hits Kasterborous has received since the episode aired there were a lot of time delayed viewings (videos, Sky+, etc.).

We all know, of course, that Doctor Who ratings are big news, whereas quiz show ratings are not. As such this bit of data is going to be doing the rounds in the newspapers and web pages today, but genuinely, don’t worry.

Of course, if the BBC had stuck with the populist Total Wipeout as a lead-in to Doctor Who rather than the dullness of Nick Pickard and Linda Lusardi cooking pasta then we wouldn’t be having this discussion. Who would have thought the BBC could make cookery so dull – less watchable even than Don’t Scare the Hare!


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About the Author


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+.

6 Responses to The Press Complex

  1. avatar STLShawn says:

    I only watch delayed viewing. Other than while traveling at hotels, i never, NEVER watch anything real time.

    My parents are the same, wife and kids are the same, I don’t really know anyone who watches “live” tv anymore, except maybe my grandfather, or baseball games, football games, etc.

    • avatar STLShawn says:

      Immediately after i wrote that, i realizes something. Kids, young families with children, and those of us who are children at heart are DW’s biggest audience, and we are definately the ones who watch delayed viewing and alternate viewing methods.

      I would bet whatever the oldies watch, it may have good figures in real time because they are more likely to be like “oh no, gotta go, my stories are on”.

  2. avatar Leo says:

    Strictly being absent, other than our beloved show, you would think BBC has given up on a Saturday night-sort of reverse situation to the 1970s.
    Still, when the finals come in, it will be close if not more than 7 million and besides, my beloved Nimon got name checked (who would have thought we would have been seing one of there relatives turning up in 2011?) so I am happy on all fronts.

  3. avatar vaguely says:

    Bear in mind also that even within the overnights, nearly a third don’t watch it live (but watch before midnight).

    Think through the implications of that for the sheer scale of timeshifting.

    This was also the weekend a boatload of students went back, so were probably too busy doing whatever students do these days and will catch up on iPlayer when hungover (and so never get counted).

  4. avatar Garth says:

    We tend to timeshift by 15 to 20 mins each week as having dinner after being out for the day.

    However, I am concerned that audiences are finding this series too confusing and might be starting to switch off. Thats the opinion I am hearing from alot of casual viewers. Series 7 needs a back to basics approach.

    • You know, I keep hearing this, but I’m yet to find anyone who finds Doctor Who confusing. The audience figures are generally the same as they were last time around, perhaps better with iPlayer factored in.

      Perhaps people should credit their friends and children with the ability to understand what’s going on in a 45 minute broadcast?

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