BBC America’s Saturday night screening of the first episode of the ‘mini-rebooted’ new season of “Doctor Who” pulled in 1.2 million viewers for the cable network, their most watched broadcast ever. The show has also become the No. 1 TV series in the U.S. iTunes store.
The show has also been a big hit through online channels. In the UK the first episode drew in 1.27 million viewers on BBC’s iPlayer in its first week, to give you a comparison the most-watched iPlayer programme of 2009 was an episode of “Top Gear” which scored 1.6 million viewers over a period of at least a month.
The decision to launch it in Australia via ABC’s iView service (essentially the same as the UK’s iPlayer) pulled in a larger than expected 112,000 views of the program which caused a major boost of traffic to the site. The actual airing on Sunday night drew in a strong 1.03 million viewers across Australia.
In the UK the ratings have slipped slightly from the 8 million viewers for the first episode down to 6.4 million viewers for the second and third episode, though the show remained the second highest rater this past Saturday night behind only the season premiere of ratings juggernaut “Britain’s Got Talent”.
While reviews for the season premiere were strong, the subsequent two episodes, “The Beast Below” and “Victory of the Daleks”, have drawn a more divided response amongst critics and fans on Twitter and discussion boards. BBC America has come under some minor criticism for rather savage edits to reruns of the season premiere due to time constraints.
A big test comes this week in the UK with the first of a two-parter involving the return of two of the most praised elements that new show runner Steven Moffat introduced during the previous Russell T. Davies-run era – future companion River Song (Alex Kingston) and the sinister stone antagonists the Weeping Angels.
Finally, a press release confirms that former Third Doctor companion Jo Grant (Katy Manning) and the current Eleventh Doctor (Matt Smith) are set to guest star in a special episode of next season’s “The Sarah Jane Adventures” which airs on CBBC this Fall. Russell T. Davies will pen the episode.