Figures from BARB, the official British viewing figures body, have revealed the audience overnight for Demons of the Punjab

Demons of the Punjab, the sixth episode of series eleven, had an audience of 5.77m. This represents a drop of 350,000 from last week’s Doctor Who episode, but remains consistent with the normal pattern of a viewing figures ‘mid season slump’.

It’s an impressive result for its slot in the season. For comparison this is up 1.61m (39%) from the 4.16m achieved by the equivalent episode last year, Extremis. In fact it’s the best overnight for an episode six since 2013’s The Bells of Saint John. That was officially the sixth episode of series seven. But of course, it had the benefit of being effectively promoted as a series premiere. On top of that, it was also the kick off of Doctor Who’s 50th Anniversary celebrations.

Its 5.77m also means that, prior to The Woman Who Fell to Earth, you’d have to go back as far as 2014’s Christmas Special Last Christmas to find any episode or special with higher overnight viewing figures.

Doctor Who – Series 11 – Ep 5 – The Tsuranga Conundrum - Eve Cicero (SUZANNE PACKER), The Doctor (JODIE WHITTAKER)-(c) BBC Studios
Eve Cicero (SUZANNE PACKER), The Doctor (JODIE WHITTAKER) keep a close eye on The Tsuranga Conundrum’s viewing figures -(c) BBC Studios

The Tsuranga Conundrum climbs to a consolidated 7.8m and #6 Chart Placement

The consolidated weekly number for previous episode The Tsuranga Conundrum has also been revealed. 1.64m viewers caught up on the show in the week since its initial broadcast, bringing its consolidated figure to 7.76m. This is up 2.49m (47%) from the consolidated number for last year’s fifth episode Oxygen. It narrowly misses out on another place in the Top Five of the ratings chart, finishing at number six. This maintains Series 11’s place as possibly the best performing season ever.

To illustrate that, Blogtor Who has compiled the chart below. This week we’re comparing the chart positions of the first five episodes of each Doctor Who season since its revival in 2005. (Despite its status as beloved national institution, Doctor Who rarely bothered the charts in the 20th century). Here, we’re looking at the highest placed episode, the lowest placed, and the average. The show almost always cracks the Top Ten early in the season, with only Series Nine hovering just outside at #13 for premiere The Magician’s Apprentice.

At the other end, only once has Doctor Who fallen out of the Top 25 during the first five episodes. In that case due to Series Ten’s Oxygen landing at #26. In terms of the average chart position over the years, four times the show has managed to maintain an average position within the Top Ten for the first five episodes (Series 2, 5, 7 and 8). Fortunately, only once (again, last year’s Series Ten) has the average of the five failed to reach the Top 20.

Doctor Who's positions in the weekly chart by this point in the season (2005-2018)
Doctor Who’s positions in the weekly chart by this point in the season (2005-2018)

Series Eleven – No one hit wonder

How then, do the first five episodes of Series Eleven compare to the first five of the other seasons? To start off with, this is the first season to hit the #1 spot this early. That’s due to the enormous success of The Woman Who Fell to Earth. Moreover, it’s only the second season to have an episode top the charts at all – Series Four having equaled the feat with the finale Journey’s End. (Doctor Who’s other #1 hits, The End of Time and The Day of the Doctor, being specials).  Equally impressive is that the lowest placed episode so far – The Tsuranga Conundrum, is only a little below at #6. To put that in perspective, Series Five and Eight are the only seasons which highest placed episodes (in the first five) are further up the chart that Series Eleven’s lowest so far.

This gives Series Eleven an average chart placement so far of #4. To repeat, this means that the average episode this year is higher up the chart than the high points of almost every season before. While no season has had such a strong start as we’ve gotten this year, Peter Capaldi’s debut series in 2014 comes closest, with an average position of #8 across the first five installments.

Of course, Blogtor Who – and anyone else discussing this – should be cautious to not appear to be talking down the achievements of previous Doctors and production teams. This is absolutely not a situation of Doctor Who ‘finally’ getting good ratings. Rather Doctor Who’s recent history is of a show that frequently did amazingly well, and never got less than respectable ratings. It continually justified its place as one of the acknowledged hits of British television. But it now happens to be enjoying particularly fantastic success in terms of viewing figures.

And long may it continue.

 

Yaz (Mandip Gill), Ryan (Tosin Cole), the Doctor (Jodie Whittaker) and Graham (Bradley Walsh) in Kerblam! (c) BBC Studios
Yaz (Mandip Gill), Ryan (Tosin Cole), the Doctor (Jodie Whittaker) and Graham (Bradley Walsh) in Kerblam! (c) BBC Studios

The Doctor Who adventure continues…

Doctor Who continues this Sunday at 6.30pm GMT on BBC One and at 8pm EST on BBC America with Kerblam! by Pete McTighe. Series 11 stars Jodie Whittaker (The Doctor), Mandip Gill (Yasmin Khan), Bradley Walsh (Graham O’Brien), and Tosin Cole (Ryan Sinclair).

Kerblam! guest stars Julie Hesmondhalgh and Lee Mack and is directed by Jennifer Perrott.

“Delivery for the Doctor!”

A mysterious message arrives in a package addressed to the Doctor, leading her, Graham, Yaz and Ryan to investigate the warehouse moon orbiting Kandoka, and the home of the galaxy’s largest retailer: Kerblam!

 

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