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Jodie Whittaker’s ‘Doctor Who’ Debut Is Most-Watched Ever in U.K. for the Rebooted Series

Picture shows: Yasmin Khan (MANDIP GILL),
BBC Studios 2018

The opening episode of the new season of “Doctor Who,” starring Jodie Whittaker as the first regular female time lord, scored a new audience high in the U.K. for the modern iteration of the long-running show. New 4-screen measurements by British TV ratings organization Barb, which include non-TV online viewing, showed that the total audience for the Oct. 7 season opener reached 10.9 million across all devices.

The result gives Whittaker, the 13th Doctor, the best introduction for any Doctor since the show returned after a long hiatus in 2005, when Christopher Eccleston’s debut scored a consolidated audience of 10.8 million. The figures also make “Doctor Who” the No. 1 drama launch of 2018 in the U.K. and the BBC’s biggest in more than a decade, surpassing its recent smash hit “Bodyguard,” which bowed in August.

“It’s incredibly exciting to see the audience responding to Jodie Whittaker’s 13th Doctor in such huge numbers,” said Charlotte Moore, director of BBC Content.

The pubcaster also revealed that the show had scored well with 16-34-year-olds, with 1.8 million watching the show, which co-stars Tosin Cole, Mandip Gill and Bradley Walsh. The opening episode received 2 million requests through BBC streaming service BBC iPlayer in the seven days following the Oct. 7 broadcast. Excluding Barb’s new 4-screen measurement, the consolidated audience gave “Doctor Who” a 45.1% audience share.

Overnight figures, originally released Oct. 8, had the show at a 40.1% audience share with an average of 8.2 million viewers and a peak of 9 million. Peter Capaldi’s series opener as the previous Doctor saw overnight figures of 6.8 million; Matt Smith’s first episode scored 7.7 million; and David Tennant’s 8 million.

The second episode of the new season aired Sunday on BBC One and drew an overnight audience of 7.1 million. “Doctor Who” airs on BBC America in the U.S.