The overnight viewing figures for The Battle of Ranskoor Av Kolos are out, alongside +7 numbers for It Takes You Away and the final +28 rating for Demons of the Punjab. They all but confirm Series 11 as the highest rated Doctor Who season this century.
Series finale The Battle of Ranskoor Av Kolos was watched by 5.32m people in the UK on Sunday. This is an increase of 250,000 (5%) on the viewing figures of previous episode It Takes You Away. It’s also up 1.57m (49%) on last year’s finale, The Doctor Falls‘ 3.75m. It is slightly below average for a Doctor Who season finale, with only The Doctor Falls, The Big Bang (5.1m) and Hell Bent (4.8m) getting lower overnights. However, strong time-shifting may yet see the series 11 finale climb a few more spaces up the Doctor Who chart.
Meanwhile, the +7 viewing figures for Nordic tale of longing and terror It Takes You Away reveal an additional 1.35m viewers caught up during the week. This brings It Takes You Away’s consolidated total to 6.42m. That’s down 790,000 (11%) on The Witchfinders, but up 1.4m (28%) on the previous season’s ninth episode Empress of Mars. This represents the first time this series than an episode’s +7 hasn’t beaten every episode of Series 10 – with last year’s premiere The Pilot just passing It Takes You Away with 6.68m.
Finally, Demons of the Punjab’s +28 number shows it secured 8.00m viewers. Unfortunately this is rounded up from 7.9999m so we can’t say that every episode so far has finished above 8m. Demons’ 8m represents a drop of 230,000 (3%) from The Tsuranga Conundrum. The tale of love and loss during the Partition of India is an increase of 2.03m (34%) on Series 10’s Episode Six, Extremis.
It will only be in the coming weeks that we get the +7 figures for The Battle of Ranskoor Av Kolos and the +28 numbers for episodes from Kerblam! on. But a clear picture of the overall series is emerging.
The average overnight for the season has been 6.2m. This is the highest average since 2008’s Series Four. Essentially, Series 11 has managed to get the strongest overnights in a decade, despite the increasing trend towards catch-up viewing.
The average +28 number for this season is a gargantuan 9.2m. This number comes with the caveat that the +28 figures for the last four episodes of the series arrive. Therefore the 9.2m number is almost certain to reduce. But even based on the +7 figures, Series 11’s average 8.1m currently romps ahead of all previous seasons. Only Series Four’s 8.05m comes close and with only Battle’s +7 number to come, the TARDIS Fam is set to be neck and neck with the Doctor Donna for the top spot until the last possible moment.
For a drama in its thirteenth year to be enjoying possibly its highest ever ratings is astonishing. For it to be taking the #1 spot in the Weekly Chart is almost insane. Indeed, albeit with the chart placing for Battle still pending, Doctor Who Series 11 has averaged a #8 chart placement. The only other time the show has managed to average a spot in the Top Ten being 2008’s Series Four.
Only I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here! spoiled Doctor Who’s fun this year, with the massively popular (and, crucially, daily) reality show dominating the weekly charts for the past three weeks. But Blogtor Who can forgive that, due to John Barrowman’s wonderful performance in the jungle. (Doctor Who itself, Bradley Walsh’s The Chase, and John Barrowman on I’m a Celeb have all been charted highly. So the Doctor and her companions, past and present, have basically owned television this month).
Series 11 saw Doctor Who win its biggest audience share since 2010
There’s been a lot of speculation, as Blogtor Who has addressed before, that the series ratings are entirely down to the new Sunday evening timeslot. Now that the series is over, this can finally be put to bed. While the Sunday evening audience is bigger, by far the larger driving factor was Doctor Who’s share of that audience. Securing an average of 35% of the viewing audience each week, Series 11 enjoyed the highest audience share since… 2010’s Series Five.
The closest this season has had to an Achilles’ Heel has been audience retention. By the time of the series finale, 65% of those who had watched the premiere were still with the show. However, even that needs to be seen within a wider context. Both Christopher Eccleston and Matt Smith achieved similar viewer retention across their first ten episodes (63% and 67% respectively). Indeed comparing directly to their finales, the numbers (64% for Series One, 66% for Series Five) are almost identical to Whittaker’s. David Tennant and Peter Capaldi fared better at keeping a hold of their viewers, true. But they are the exceptions, not the rule.
This year’s viewing figures represent a reborn future for Doctor Who
There will continue to be updates to Series 11’s viewing figures over the next month. In fact, it won’t be until January the 7th at the earliest that we have the final +28 results for The Battle of Ranskoor Av Kolos. But it’s already clear, whatever slight changes to the numbers are yet to come, that Series 11 has been an extraordinary rebirth of Doctor Who’s relationship with the British viewing public. It has delivered possibly the highest rated series since the revival. It remains to be seen if 2020’s Series 12 can maintain this momentum. But the similar levels of success for Series 1 created a legacy that ultimately secured Doctor Who’s future for a further twelve years. Let’s see what the next twelve holds in store for us.
A note on the viewer retention figures featured in this article. Each episode in Series 11 is compared on a like-for-like basis with the latest available information. The +28 ratings for episodes 1-6 are compared to the +28 rating for The Woman Who Fell to Earth, episodes 2-9 to the +7 rating for The Woman Who Fell to Earth and episode 10 to the premiere’s overnight rating.
Doctor Who Will Return…
Doctor Who returns with Resolution by Chris Chibnall on BBC One on New Year’s Day at 7pm, and at 8pm EST on BBC America. For further broadcast times in your region, check local listings.
Doctor Who stars Jodie Whittaker (The Doctor), Mandip Gill (Yasmin Khan), Bradley Walsh (Graham O’Brien) and Tosin Cole (Ryan Sinclair). Resolution guest stars Charlotte Ritchie (Lin), Nikesh Patel (Mitch) and Daniel Adegboyega (Aaron). The special is directed by Wayne Yip.
As the New Year begins, a terrifying evil is stirring from across the centuries of Earth’s history. As the Doctor, Ryan, Graham and Yaz return home, will they be able to overcome the threat to planet Earth?