×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Jodie Whittaker to Return as ‘Doctor Who’ in 2020 Amid Strong U.S. Ratings

Doctor Who” will be back on global screens in early 2020, with Jodie Whittaker returning in her groundbreaking role as the show’s first regular female timelord. The show was renewed by the BBC amid mixed overnight but strong consolidated numbers in the U.K., and strong ratings in the U.S.

British viewers tuned in in droves to the first episode of the current season. With 11 million viewers (consolidated), it was the second-biggest drama audience of the year and the best launch for “Doctor Who” in a decade in the U.K.

Overnight ratings declined steadily over the course of the series, falling to 5 million for the ninth episode (7 million consolidated). Sunday’s finale delivered 5.3 million viewers. British tabloids have suggested that viewers tuned out because the new season was too “politically correct,” but the fall in overnight ratings is not unusual and follows that of earlier seasons.

It also reflects modern viewing patterns, with many fans and, notably, younger viewers watching the show on catch-up. The BBC said the average consolidated audience through the first eight episodes was 8.4 million, significantly above the last season of “Doctor Who,” starring Peter Capaldi, whose average was below 6 million. The current season was the second most-requested series on the BBC’s iPlayer in October, the busiest month ever for the catch-up service.

In the U.S., Whittaker and her team notched a ratings win for BBC America, which said it was the fastest-growing scripted show of the year. Ahead of Sunday’s final episode, BBC America reported that the show was up 47% season-on-season, with young female viewers driving the growth. The show averaged 1.6 million viewers through its first eight episodes in the U.S.

BBC America, which is a joint venture between the BBC and AMC, announced that the new season would land in early 2020 when the current run drew to a close Sunday. The BBC denied reports that production had slipped, noting that the show has previously had different launch dates. The current season was filmed from October 2017 to August 2018.

Fans of the iconic sci-fi series will still get some “Doctor Who” action in 2019, with a seasonal special starring Whittaker moving from its traditional Christmas Day slot to New Year’s Day on BBC One in the U.K. and BBC America in the U.S.

As the latest season got underway, Chris Chibnall, the program’s new showrunner, told Variety that the team was mindful of creating a show that stood shoulder to shoulder with the best that streaming giants like Netflix can offer. Chibnall will return as showrunner for the new season.

“We adore making this show and have been blown away by the response from audiences, so we can’t wait to bring more scares, more monsters and more Bradley Walsh, Mandip Gill and Tosin Cole to BBC One,” Chibnall said.

More TV

  • Kanye West Shares a Memory of

    Kanye West Shares a Touching Memory of His Mother in Letterman Interview

    In a preview of David Letterman’s interview with Kanye West, which begins streaming next Friday, May 31, the musician’s wife Kim Kardashian West, tweeted a clip of him sharing a touching memory of his mother, Donda, who died in 2007 after a surgical procedure. While his wife looks on smiling, West answers Letterman’s question about [...]

  • CNN Lays Off Some Health Journalism

    CNN Lays Off Some Health Journalism Staffers (Report)

    CNN has laid off a handful of staffers from its health-journalism unit after deciding to place its health, climate and Southeastern newsgathering operations under a single aegis, according to a report in TVNewser. A CNN spokesperson could not be reached for immediate comment, but a the network said in a statement to the outlet: ” [...]

  • Henry Ian Cusick

    'Lost' Star Henry Ian Cusick Signs With Buchwald (EXCLUSIVE)

    Henry Ian Cusick, best known for playing Desmond on the hit ABC series “Lost,” is signing with talent agency Buchwald for representation. Cusick also starred in the CW sci-fi/drama “The 100” and was most recently seen in the Fox series “The Passage.” His other notable television credits include “Scandal,” “24,” “Fringe,” “The Mentalist,” “Body of [...]

  • Bryan Cranston First Time in Variety

    Bryan Cranston on His Early Roles, Dealing With Rejection and His 'Erasable Mind'

    Following his 2014 Tony Award for best actor as President Lyndon B. Johnson in Robert Schenkkan’s play “All the Way,” Bryan Cranston is looking to add to his trophy collection this year with his performance as Howard Beale in “Network.” The deranged anchorman — who’s famously “mad as hell and not going to take this [...]

  • What | If

    Renee Zellweger and Mike Kelley on Deconstructing Fate and Consequences in 'What/If'

    SPOILER ALERT: Do not read if you have not yet watched “What/If,” streaming now on Netflix. Writer and executive producer Mike Kelley’s latest piece of dramatic storytelling is a limited series morality tale that starts with a high-powered, wealthy woman named Anne Montgomery (Renee Zellweger) offering Lisa, a young woman with a startup (Jane Levy), [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content