The overnight viewing figure for Kerblam! has been revealed by BARB, the official British body for compiling ratings.
Kerblam! was seen by 5.93m people, up 160,000 (3%) from last week’s Doctor Who episode. While a marginal increase, it suggests Series 11 has hat its ‘baseline’ viewing figures that it can expect to achieve in a standard week, outside of the special promotion for premieres and finales. It’s also an increase of 1.92m (48%) on last year’s seventh episode The Pyramid at the End of the World.
At this stage we can say that Series 11 has been consistent in following the rough track of previous years. But also in having a 50-70% hike in overnight audience sizes on the previous series. And, to put that in perspective, the only regular episode (that is, excluding Christmas Specials) of the Twelfth Doctor era to get a larger overnight than Kerblam! was Deep Breath.
Demons of the Punjab add almost 2m more viewers in a week
The consolidated viewing figures for last week’s Demons of the Punjab are also now available. The 1940s set historical was seen by 7.48m people in its first week. That represents an additional 1.71m viewers joining the audience since the first night. This is down 4% on the previous week’s consolidated figure but up 26% on the same slot last year.
The Ghost Monument’s 28+ viewing figure lands higher than predicted
Meanwhile, if you cast you mind back all the way to The Ghost Monument, Blogtor Who now has the 28 Day viewing figures for you. A grand total of 9.8m viewers in the UK have watched the episode since its debut. This represents an extra 800,000 since the original consolidated number and a total time shift of 2.7m. What’s remarkable about that is that it’s actually more than the 550,000 the almighty The Woman Who Fell to Earth added in Weeks 2-4.
Audience Appreciation: What is it, and what does it mean?
So far this series, Blogtor Who hasn’t talked much about the AI numbers so let’s rectify that this week. The AI is the Audience Appreciation index, a measure of how well received an episode was by the viewers. A sample panel of 20,000 score every television program they watch out of 10. The average of these scores is then represented as a score out of 100 (so, for example, an average score of 7.8/10 is expressed as an AI of 78). The panel is specially selected to ensure it matches the demographics on the United Kingdom. In addition it’s spread geographically across the country to represent all the regions.
It should be noted, of course, that you wouldn’t expect to get 20,000 responses about a given program. For instance, only about a third of the population were watching TV on Sunday night, and about 27% of those people were watching Doctor Who. So, at a rough estimate, you’d expect about 2,000 people to be submitting an AI score for Kerblam! Unfortunately, AIs always run at least a day behind viewing figures. That means we’ll be looking at just the AIs for episodes 1 to 6 today.
An AI rests in the eye of the beholder
The AI is a very useful tool in that it gives us a window into the opinions of the general viewing public, which is often quite distinct from the markings you see on internet forums catering to hard core fans. It does, however, share the same limitation as internet and magazine polls. After all, there is no universally agreed standard on what makes for a 10/10 story. So you may see one member of the AI panel dismissing a story as ‘terrible’, another as ‘all right’, and yet another as ‘really good’… and then all three turn around a give a score of 7/10. So it’s not quite as objective measure as the viewing figures themselves.
Series 11’s AI have been consistently Excellent
But with that caveat in place, how has Series 11 being stacking up in the AI scores?
So far, this series has enjoyed an average AI of 82. This is partly the result of a very consistent AI performance. The Woman Who Fell to Earth, Rosa and Arachnids in the UK all share first place on 83. And the only episode so far to fall below the 80 threshold (generally any AI above 80 is considered “Excellent”) is The Tsuranga Condundrum. And even that episode, which got a rather more mixed reception from fans, scored a 79 from the general public.
Whittaker’s AIs place her on a par with Eccleston and Capaldi but short of Tennant and Smith
But how is the Chibnall/Whittaker era doing in the wider context of Doctor Who? Well, the average AI of Doctor Who episodes since 2005 is 84.77. This number sits between an all time high of the Stolen Earth/Journey’s End two-parter, both episodes of which scored a mammoth 91, and the all time low of 76 for Love & Monsters. This means that this series has been getting slightly below average AIs for Doctor Who, even if they’re well above average for drama in general. It also means that it’s marginally the lowest AIs for a series so far. But realistically it’s on a par with Series One (82.85), Series Nine (82.17) and Series Ten (82.83).
But even that’s forgetting that a good, crowd pleasing finale tends to get disproportionately high AIs. If we focus in on the first five episodes of each series, we see a slightly different picture.
A final word of caution about AIs. They’re simply a snapshot of general audience opinion at a moment of time. They’re not, and not intended to be, some objective measure of quality. If you’re choking on your custard cream at the notion that Arachnids in the UK was a better received episode than Demons in the Punjab, or boggling at Series Four’s status as the highest rated season ever, AI wise, then that’s your right. AIs can never prove your own personal tastes wrong, and aren’t a personal attack on your beliefs. They simply tell us that the general view of homes across the UK is that Doctor Who is rarely less than excellent – just sometimes slightly more excellent than others.
The adventure continues…
Doctor Who continues this Sunday at 6.30pm GMT on BBC One and at 8pm EST on BBC America with The Witchfinders by Joy Wilkinson. For further broadcast times in your region, check local listings. Series 11 stars Jodie Whittaker (The Doctor), Mandip Gill (Yasmin Khan), Bradley Walsh (Graham O’Brien) and Tosin Cole (Ryan Sinclair).
The Witchfinders guest stars Alan Cumming (King James I) and Siobhan Finneran (Becka Savage) and is directed by Sallie Aprahamian.
The Doctor, Ryan, Graham and Yaz arrive in 17th-century Lancashire and become embroiled in a witch trial run by the local landowner. As fear stalks the land, the arrival of King James I only serves to intensify the witch hunt. But is there something even more dangerous at work? Can the Doctor and friends keep the people of Bilehurst Cragg safe from all the forces that are massing in the land?