‘Doctor Who’ Special Scores Record Ratings for BBC America

Day of the Doctor Who at

About 2.4 million tune in for afternoon telecast

As “Doctor Who” celebrated its 50th anniversary over the weekend with big audiences on the other side of the Pond, BBC America was able to attract a sizable audience of its own — setting a network record in the process.

“The Day of the Doctor,” a new episode and one of the last to feature Matt Smith as the time-space-traveling Time Lord, averaged 2.4 million viewers Stateside despite airing in the afternoon on a Saturday. Add in a primetime encore, and “Day of the Doctor” averaged 3.6 million viewers.

The episode was simulcast Saturday in 75 countries and also shown theatrically, selling out in 11 U.S. cities.

While not an especially big audience by U.S. standards, it’s a record for BBC America and about eight times bigger than its most popular show of the previous week (294,000 who tuned in for an episode of “Star Trek: Next Generation”).

On Saturday, BBC was the No. 1 cable network on Twitter while setting a record on Tumblr with the highest level of activity of any televised event ever, including Super Bowls.

“Doctor Who: Day of the Doctor” drew a big 10.2 million viewers in the U.K. on Saturday, representing a 37 share of the audience. The BBC sci-fi drama, which had a 75-minute running time, failed to match the preceding BBC show, “Strictly Come Dancing,” which peaked at 11.7 million. Also Saturday, “The X Factor” on ITV was seen by 7.7 million.

The special TV show starred three actors playing different generations of the Doctor — Matt Smith, David Tennant and John Hurt — as well as a cameo from another Doctor, Tom Baker.

“Doctor Who” has been airing on BBC America since 2008, and drew its largest audience for the show’s seventh-season premiere in September 2012. That episode drew 1.55 million viewers in Nielsen’s Live+same-day estimates, which swelled to 2.47 million with seven days of DVR playback.

The most recent season finale, in May of this year, did 1.27 million same-day viewers and 2.2 million in Live+7.

Leo Barraclough contributed to this report.

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  1. ChristinaRomana says:

    Will The Master be returning for the Christmas episode;
    The Time Of The Doctor?
    There’s a youtube clip going around of the apparent next ‘regeneration’ of The Master who will be facing off against Capaldi in the forthcoming series.
    According to several tweets by tweeter ‘@jamesstoker1963’ The Master maybe returning for the Christmas episode and beyond.
    He’s tweeted a youtube audition clip with these details:
    “I got this apparent audition clip from a youtube user account IzzyAlive (which now seems to have been deleted) who claimed: “A friend of mine in an actors co-operative agency got sent this clip with 4 others in an email that they’d been ‘CC’D into when casting another show I can’t mention. The other 3 clips were relevant to the show they were casting but this one was marked:
    ‘The Master DW2014’ (Moff select final review clip).
    I don’t know who the actor is but maybe they’re going with an ‘unknown’ to play The Master after casting a ‘known’ actor in Peter Capaldi to play the 12th Doctor? I guess we’ll find out soon enough”
    You can see the clip at: youtu.be/x4F4GpGTaQM
    Looks pretty cool for an audition clip and this ‘Master’ certainly has a creepy edge.
    See you at Trenzalore…

  2. Ali Khan says:

    I slogged through the seventy minutes of slow-moving space opera, talking heads and TV special effects. Do the British know the meaning of PACE?? Slow ……

    And the three doctors, well … CREEPY. I wouldn’t allow any of them near a children’s playground ….

    DW died a decent death decades ago. They should have left it buried. The British cannot let go of colonialism (notice any major characters of color in the show – huh?), whether real life or fictional. Space faring white guys and gals changing other’s people’s history. LIke Stargate SG1, we can only hope these noble colonials have our backs across the universe!

    • Javid Gilani says:

      Three years of Freema Agyeman as the doctors companion, ‘Rose Tyler’ had a black boyfriend that was a main cast member for the from the start of the new incarnation until Agyeman’s first appearance! And with Asians such as Nina Wadia and Meera Syal guest staring in episodes! Your comment is both silly and pointless! Britain is far more culturally diverse than the states and that’s something the BBC embraces not only with pride but by obligation! Everybody pays equally into the BBC (there radio stations broadcasting 24/7 specifically for black and Asian culture, BBC 1extra and BBC Asian network), meaning every race has representation where relevant, believe it or not there weren’t many other races in Britain during the Elizabethan period lol

      I’m also pleased to say you’re in a clear minority when it comes to the pace, widely acclaimed by both audiences and critics

      Well done to The Beeb I say :)

      • Nice to read you putting this nonsense to bed. Ignorant of the show’s recent history, as you say non-whites have been very well represented, saving the universe, from day one of the revival in Dr. Who, Torchwood AND Sarah Jane Adventures. As have gay & bi people. (Not so much on Sarah Jane.) This person also plainly failed to notice colour of some of the characters in this episode..Als pacing, slow is a pace, as is fast and steady etc. It wasn’t slow (sorry too many words, too much actual plot and thought? ) , but if it was your comment is nonsense as pacing covers all speeeds.

        Not sure how saving the world and the universe equates to colonialism either: not to mention the whole Time Lords are not British, not even human, thing.

  3. harry georgatos says:

    this should lead the way into theatrical feature films every two years with a director such as steven spielberg!

  4. Todd Polt says:

    Never thought I would live to see DOCTOR WHO become popular in the states. I knew that DW finally left cultdom in America when it got that Entertainment Weekly cover.

  5. miss_steph24 says:

    Reblogged this on Freelance Features and commented:
    As a Whovian I’m pleased to see the show finally being able to quash those not as good… and losing viewers arguments once and for all. Here’s to the next 50 years of traveling in the Tardis.

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