The Power of the Doctor gains a huge time-shift to score a place near the top of the weekly chart
The +7 viewing figures for The Power of the Doctor are now available. They reveal that 5.3m viewers have now watched Jodie Whittaker’s final episode. That means that an additional 1.71m (47.6%) have caught up on last week’s Doctor Who since it aired. To put that in context, the average +7 time-shift since 2005 has been 26.1%, and for the Whittaker era 31.4%. This stand out time-shift is likely partly a result of strong word of mouth for the episode. It received a positive AI, the measure of audience reaction to an episode, of 82 compared to the generally merely ‘okay’ average of 79.5 for the Thirteenth Doctor’s stories. The number of twists, turns, and surprise cameos will likely have been a factor too, with people checking out for themselves how the past Doctors and companions figures into events.
It’s also up 1.83m (52.7%) on the +7 result for previous episode Legend of the Sea Devils. That’s a massive improvement but one driven, in fairness, as much by the disappointing performance of the earlier episode as Power of the Doctor’s success. But it’s still encouraging sign that Sea Devils was a blip and that Doctor Who can still pull in larger audiences as we head into the diamond anniversary.
The Power of the Doctor becomes the fourth regeneration story in a row to win a place in the weekly Top Ten
As always, the generally contracting television audiences of the 2020s needs to be taken into account here. So Doctor Who’s chart position is particularly important. And The Power of the Doctor landed an impressive Top 10 placing, at #5 in the weekly chart, its highest placement since 2018’s Arachnids in the UK. It’s currently behind the two editions of Strictly Come Dancing (9.89m and 8.63m), The Great British Bake Off (7.79m), and Doc Martin (5.61m). This also means it was Sunday’s #2 show overall and the BBC’s #3 show of the week, as well as the #2 scripted show for the week across all channels. There’s an outside chance that Who might overtake Martin in the +28 final figures, but more than likely it will stay in its current, very impressive, #5 slot.
We can put this, too, in the context of other recent regeneration episodes: The Parting of the Ways (#17), The End of Time (#1), The Time of the Doctor (#3) and Twice Upon a Time (#9). So even in the current television landscape it’s clear the hold of a Doctor’s regeneration on the public imagination remains undimmed.
Later in the month, we’ll have the +28 viewing figures for The Power of the Doctor, giving us our final view of the Thirteenth Doctor era. And we’ll be able to give a full analysis of the era as a whole.
Doctor Who returns in November 2023 for three 60th Anniversary specials