6.5 million came in from the sun to watch the series premiere
The first episode of Doctor Who ’s sixth series, “The Impossible Astronaut”, managed to convince 6.5 million people to come in from the sun (well, apart from those people who were sent scurrying indoors by a thunderstorm! But it was gloriously sunny for most of us…).
The show also grabbed a very respectable 36.7% audience share, but came second for the night after Britain’s Got Toenails (9.5 million, 41.5% audience share). Third place was Casualty with 4.3 million (20%).
At first this figure may sound a little disappointing, but there are three things to bear in mind: the weather, the start time (6pm – that’s virtually breakfast!) and the fact that more and more Doctor Who is leading the “catch-up” revolution – people really have got used to watching it on iPlayer (guess what’s number one this morning?) and BBC3 repeats, or recording it to watch later. Expect a massive timeshift.
On the other hand, 6.5 million is BLOODY GOOD compared to other UK dramas, and for one shown at 6pm it’s simply amazing (compare to the ratings for Casualty ). Sure, it’s disappointing the show is no longer major appointment TV, but it’s still a major ratings powerhouse for the BBC.
It’s also worth noting that the show on before Who , Scare The Hare , scored just 1.9 million, while the one on after it, So You Think You Can Dance , had just 3.6 million viewers. So the BBC can hardly claim it’s created a solid, audience grabbing schedule. People were coming in specifically to watch Doctor Who .