Arachnids in the UK overnights mark the Thirteenth Doctor as no flash in the pan, but a consistent ratings performer

6.4 million viewers in the UK tuned in on Sunday to see Sheffield be overrun by giant spiders.  A further 591,000 people caught up on the show on Monday, making for +1 Day viewing figures of 7m.

Four episodes in, this indicates the current series of Doctor Who is being successful in retaining its audience. Overnight viewing figures are up 170,000 from last week’s Rosa. This means the show has kept 78% of the enlarged audience who sat down to watch Jodie Whittaker’s debut. All seasons experience a mid season dip between promotion of the premiere and promotion of the finale. But it might have been suspected that the unusually large number of 8.2m for The Woman Who Fell to Earth would include many who were simply trying the show out before deciding it wasn’t for them. However, Doctor Who Series 11 has kept the bulk of its new audience. For comparison, during Christopher Eccleston’s first season fourth episode Aliens of London retained 71% of the audience from Rose.

Placed in the context of previous seasons, Series 11 has started strongly and, more importantly, held that larger audience

To illustrate the point, Blogtor Who has selected certain key seasons for comparison. We’re looking at the first full season for each Doctor, as well as Series 10 for recent context. Doing that, we can see Series 11 is doing a good job of keeping its audience. It doesn’t match the highs of David Tennant’s first year, of course. The 2006 season is almost unique in actually growing its overnight audience in the early episodes. It actually kept a whopping 91% of the audience from New Earth for The Girl in the Fireplace. And neither can it match the 93% retained by Knock, Knock from The Pilot. But then the smaller, and therefore more dedicated, your initial audience is, the easier it is to retain them.



That can be demonstrated with our second visualization. Here all the first episodes, second episodes etc. for each season are grouped together. This shows both sides of the story at the same time. You can see the tale of Doctor Who returning with extraordinary ratings in its early years before falling back to simply perfectly decent ones, before Series 11 moves us back to something like those early days. And you can also see the slight episode-on-episode decline repeated in each season.

Clustering the overnights by episode number gives a better idea of the overall trend over the years
Clustering the overnights by episode number gives a better idea of how S11 is reversing the overall trend

The overarching message these numbers give us is that the managing and promotion of Jodie Whittaker’s arrival as the Doctor was highly successful in getting bums on seats at the start of this month. And that the quality of the episodes since then have done a very good job at keeping them there.


Doctor Who - Series 11 - Ep 3 - Rosa - Rosa Parks (VINETTE ROBINSON)
Doctor Who – Series 11 – Ep 3 – Rosa – Rosa Parks (VINETTE ROBINSON)

Rosa soars past the 8m barrier after a week

The 7 Day Consolidated Rating for Rosa has also been announced. Over the course of the week since broadcast, 8.4m people in the UK have now watched the critically praised story. This includes those watching via laptop, tablet or smartphone. Following on from the consolidated numbers for The Woman Who Fell to Earth (11m) and The Ghost Monument (9m) it tells a strikingly similar tale to the overnights in terms of viewer retention. It also indicates that Series 11 has succeeded in greatly increasing overnights compared to recent years. All while also maintaining the strong time-shifting that had become such an essential component of its audience reach.

This also means that so far every episode this season has finished as one of the Top Five programs of the week.

Next week BARB will reveal the final 28 Day number for The Woman Who Fell to Earth. Blogtor Who will use that to explore how the different portions of the viewing figure – from those watching live to those catching up a month later – interact and perhaps hint at the kind of 28 Day numbers we can expect from the rest of the season.


Doctor Who - Series 11 - Ep 5 - The Tsuranga Conundrum - Suzanna Parker and Jodie Whittaker - c BBC Studios
Doctor Who – Series 11 – Ep 5 – The Tsuranga Conundrum – Suzanna Parker and Jodie Whittaker – c BBC Studios

The Doctor Who adventure continues…

Doctor Who continues this Sunday at 7pm GMT on BBC One and at 8pm EST on BBC America with The Tsuranga Conundrum by Chris Chibnall. Series 11 stars Jodie Whittaker (The Doctor), Mandip Gill (Yasmin Khan), Bradley Walsh (Graham O’Brien), and Tosin Cole (Ryan Sinclair). The Tsuranga Conundrum guest stars Brett Goldstein, Lois Chimimba, Suzanne Packer, and Ben Bailey-Smith, and is directed by Jennifer Perrott.


Injured and stranded in the wilds of a far-flung galaxy, The Doctor, Yaz, Graham and Ryan must band together with a group of strangers to survive against one of the universe’s most deadly — and unusual — creatures.

The first four episodes of Series Eleven, plus the ten previous seasons, are all available on iPlayer’s Doctor Who page.




  1. I think the ratings would be up more, if it returned to the Saturday. I am really enjoying the storylines so far.


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