BBC drama chief and former Doctor Who producer Piers Wenger defended the show despite its sinking ratings.
Wenger spoke at a BBC drama event in London earlier this month where he was asked about whether or not he would rest the show giving it’s been bleeding audience viewership.
As reported by Deadline, Wenger defended the show saying, “I worked on Doctor Who myself and produced it for many years and I can honestly say I don’t think it’s been in better health editorially.”
He added, “The production values have never been better. It’s also not just funded by the BBC, it’s funded by lots of international partners.”
Wenger continued, “It’s an incredibly important show for young audiences, it’s still watched by families in a world where there are fewer shows that have the power to do that. It will always be an important show for us and we’re a very long way from wanting to rest it.”
Doctor Who Season 12 ratings have plummeted since the show returned to air back in January.
According to Doctor Who News, “Spyfall: Part One,” the premiere episode of the season had 6.89 million people tune in on January 1st.
“Spyfall: Part Two” would see that viewership dip to 6.07 million. That’s a loss of over 800,000 people in a two-part episode. The show would never recover.
The eighth episode in the series, “The Haunting of Villa Diodati” would see 5.07 million people tune in. The show lost almost 2 million people in just eight episodes.
And it doesn’t look like it will improve any time soon. The latest episode “Ascension of the Cybermen” had overnight ratings of 3.71 million, a season low according to Deadline.
While the show continues to bleed viewers in the United Kingdom, it does appear to have stabilized on BBC America. Season 12 premiered with 790,000 viewers. It would hit a season low of 405,000 viewers with the seventh episode “Can You Hear Me?” But since then it recovered with viewership around 530,000 for “The Haunting of Villa Diodati” and “Ascension of the Cybermen.”
Wenger’s comments about the BBC being a “very long way from wanting to rest” Doctor Who echo a previous statement from Jodie Whittaker. She confirmed she would remain on as the Doctor for another season.
She added, “That might be a massive exclusive that I’m not supposed to say, but it’s unhelpful for me to say [I don’t know] because it would be a massive lie! [Laughs] I absolutely adore it. At some point, these shoes are going to be handed on, but it’s not yet. I’m clinging on tight.”
Doctor Who showrunner Chris Chibnall also indicated that he doesn’t look at external opinions, “In terms of external opinions, it’s not a democracy. We make the show we want to make.”
He also stated, “What you have to do is make the show you believe in, hope that it connects, then go home. If we allow other things in then we’re not making our vision.”
What do you make of Piers Wenger’s comments? Do you have hope for the future of Doctor Who?