Doctor Who season premiere BBC America's highest-rated show ever

Contributed by
Dec 14, 2012

If you think you were nervous about Saturday's Doctor Who season-six premiere, just imagine how the creators must have felt. While we were worrying whether it would be any good, they were worrying whether we'd even turn up for another dose of Matt Smith.

Well, the numbers and the positive critical response show that neither of us had anything to worry about. That is ... in the U.S. The U.K. reception was a different matter entirely.

According to TV By the Numbers, "The Impossible Astronaut," the first episode of the new season, was BBC America's highest-rated, most-watched telecast ever in the Live + Same Day category, reaching almost 1.3 million viewers, which was up by 71,000 viewers from the network's previous best, which was LAST season's opening episode of Doctor Who.

The news from the other side of the pond wasn't as positive, however. According to the BBC, the first episode in the U.K. was "watched by an average audience of 6.5 million viewers," which sounds pretty good until you realize that this "was down from the eight million recorded by overnight figures on Matt Smith's show debut in April 2010."

In fact:

While final consolidated viewing figures—which include playback on recording devices—will push ratings higher, "The Impossible Astronaut" is likely to be the least watched series opener since Doctor Who was relaunched in 2005.

We're sure that there are doctoral theses to be written about why Doctor Who's stock rose in the U.S. and fell in the U.K., but what do YOU think's going on here?

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