The overnight viewing figures for Resolution give us our first hint as to whether the move to New Year’s Day has paid off
Series 11 was marked by a number of bold scheduling and promotional decisions that largely paid off. It seems strange to remember now, but the move to Sunday was actually a calculated risk that saw some argued was a demotion to a less prestigious, lower rated slot. In the final event, the move to Sunday saw Doctor Who winning a bigger share of a bigger audience. It was a frankly huge increase on the viewing figures of previous seasons. Other decisions, such as more standalone stories to avoid discouraging casual viewers, at least didn’t do any harm, even if they perhaps didn’t cause the increase in viewer retention that might have been hoped.
We now have another such calculated risk. The move of Doctor Who’s annual special, a national institution since 2005, from Christmas Day to New Year’s Day. However, it appears to not have been met with the same success. Resolution was watched by 5.15m overnight. This is down 170,000 (3%) on series finale The Battle of Ranskoor av Kolos. More importantly it’s down 501,000 (9%) on last year’s Christmas Special, Twice Upon a Time. It’s the first time the new era has dropped below 2017’s comparable overnights and makes the New Year’s Day special lower rater than any of the Christmas specials.
New Year’s Day 2019 saw lower audience numbers across all channels and time slots
It’s also noteworthy that New Year’s Day’s viewing figures were lower across the board than Christmas Day’s. This suggests that Resolution would likely have achieved higher numbers in Doctor Who’s traditional slot. When even the return of popular detective drama Luther, starring now bone fide awards laden movie star Idris Elba, mustered just a slightly higher 5.63m, it seems clear that New Year’s Day was not the prime piece of ratings real estate that had been hoped.
Off course, it remains to be seen how much time-shifting programs aired on New Year’s Day will ultimately receive. After all, final figures for Series 11 itself are, even now, still coming in.
Since Blogtor Who’s last update, final +28 day ratings have been issued for The Witchfinders and It Takes You Away
360,000 viewers have been added to The Witchfinders’ total since the +7 day number. This gives us a final figure for The Witchfinders of 7.65m. This is a drop of 401,000 (5%) on the previous episode. Though it’s an increase of 2.36m (38%) on the corresponding 2017 episode The Lie of the Land.
Meanwhile, penultimate episode It Takes You Away has a final ratings achievement of 6.78m. Although, this is the same increase (360,000) on the +7 number as The Witchfinders’, weaker original overnights mean this is a decline of 900,000 (11%). It’s 1.66m up on Series 10’s Empress of Mars, however, giving a year on year increase of 32%.