The overnights for The Witchfinders, the 7 Day numbers for Kerblam! and the final consolidated rating for Rosa are now available. Plus, this week, Blogtor Who delves into the world of Audience Share
This week’s episode of Doctor Who, The Witchfinders, was watched by 5.66m, a drop of 330,000 (4.6%). This places it as the least watched episode of Series 11 so far in terms of overnights. However, as we’ve seen so far this series, lower overnight viewing figures are often compensated for by higher time shifting. (And we’re still in the territory where The Witchfinders got higher overnights that any non-special Peter Capaldi episode save Deep Breath).
Speaking of strong time-shifting performances, Kerblam! added 2.73m in the past week to its original total. This brings it to a total audience size of 7.46m so far. The number tells a similar story to The Witchfinders. You’d have to go back to Peter Capaldi’s first episode to find a regular episode with a higher weekly result. It’s also fifth out of the thirteen episode sevens since 2005, though some way off the most watched episode seven ever – The Unicorn and the Wasp with 8.41m.
Rosa, meanwhile, has risen all the way to 9.01m in its final 28 Day consolidated rating. This means it added 2.62m viewers in the first four weeks after it was broadcast. It also means that Rosa is one of only three Doctor Who episodes, all three of them in Series 11, to finish on over 9m in the 28 Day rating since that measure was introduced.
Audience Share: What can it tell us about Winter Viewing Figures?
It’s without a doubt that Doctor Who is currently enjoying its highest viewing figures for several years. There’s equally no doubt that many complicated factors go into that. There was skilled promotion surrounding the launch. We now have a more or less consistent timeslot. The show is now broadcast on wintery Sundays. Plus, of course, audience engagement with the characters and their enjoyment of the episodes will be a factor.
However, one common theory is that this series’ high ratings are almost entirely down to the time slot. Essentially that if Doctor Who has more pie in 2018, then its because the overall pie is so much bigger not because Doctor Who is genuinely doing well. Fortunately, there’s another measure that addresses that very issue. BARB also record each programs audience share. Effectively, we don’t just know the size of the slice of pie Doctor Who has today compared with years gone by, we have it compared to other Sunday evening programs.
If the move to Sundays was the only reason for the increase, you would expect Doctor Who audience share to be the same as before. But let’s take a look at Series 11’s audience share compared to previous years…
A slightly bigger pie but also a much bigger slice of that pie
Series 11 has had an average audience share of 35.53% in its time slot. This includes the massive 45.1% of the audience who watched The Woman Who Fell to Earth.
So after a decade of slow decline, Series 11 has effectively reset Doctor Who’s audience share back to the levels of 2008’s Series 4. This is all the more impressive considering that decline had simply marked a move from ‘remarkably good’ to ‘really quite good’. There hasn’t been a disastrous drop. The average total overnights audience, across all channels, for Doctor Who’s new timeslot in 2018 is 20.99m. The average audience for its old one in 2013 (Weeks 1-8) was 18.81m. That 2.18m size gap is not insignificant. But, by itself, and all other things being equal, it would only account for an 11.6% increase in Doctor Who’s viewing figures, where we’ve actually seen a rise of 49.1% in the weekly consolidated ratings instead.
Doctor Who is a show in a better time slot with a bigger potential audience this year. But, much more than that, it’s a show which is winning over that potential audience and getting rewarded with the viewing figures and audience share which reflect that.
The adventure continues…
Doctor Who continues this Sunday at 6.30pm GMT on BBC One and at 8pm EST on BBC America with It Takes You Away by Ed Hime. 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).
It Takes You Away guest stars Kevin Eldon (Ribbons) and Eleanor Wallwork (Hanne) and is directed by Jamie Childs.
On the edge of a Norwegian fjord, in the present day, The Doctor, Ryan, Graham and Yaz discover a boarded-up cottage and a girl named Hanne in need of their help. What has happened here? What monster lurks in the woods around the cottage – and beyond?