A new report indicates that Doctor Who’s Season 12 two-part season premiere saw a nosedive in viewership.
The Sun reports the first part of the two-part episode, “Spyfall,” peaked with viewership in the UK at just over 5 million viewers. They report Doctor Who’s Season 11 premiere, which was also the premiere of Jodie Whittaker’s Time Lord, had over 9 million viewers, but fell to 6 million a week.
The two-part debut stars Whittaker, Stephen Fry as the MI-6 spymaster, Sir Lenny Henry, and a huge addition to the cast in Sacha Dhawan. Dhawan joins the cast as The Doctor’s long-time nemesis, The Master.
A source told the Sun, “Beeb bosses were hoping the downturn in ratings towards the end of the last series was just the novelty of Jodie’s arrival wearing off a little.”
The source added, “But the fact that the new season seems to have fared even worse will have them worrying whether it has less to do with who plays the Time Lord, and signs of a greater problem with the show.”
The source concluded, “After all, the debut episode aired on a day when many people were still off work and school, so should have attracted a more substantial audience.”
However, another source provided a different opinion, “Doctor Who was the most watched show on BBC1 on New Years Day, and the second most watched show on television after Emmerdale on ITV.”
The first episode also fared worse in the United States on BBC America. TV Series Finale reports the show had a .19 rating with only 790,000 viewers.
The Season 11 premiere had a .45 rating and 1.367 million viewers. The season 11 finale had a .27 rating with 983,000 viewers. Season 11 would have an average rating of .28 and 881,000 viewers.
Not only did the premiere episode shed viewership in both the UK and the United States, but it appears the second episode had an even greater decline.
Radio Times reports the second episode only attracted 4.6 million viewers.
They note this is 300,000 viewers less than the premiere episode. They go on to declare that this is “the lowest overnight ratings figures for the current Doctor Who of Chris Chibnall and Jodie Whittaker.”
Episode 2 figures for BBC America have not been reported by TV Series Finale at the time of this writing.
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