Once Upon Time’s +7 viewing figures reveal the most average of time-shifts, while Village of the Angels is overtaken by I’m a Celeb and prestige dramas on overnights
Last night’s Village of the Angels may have burned down the internet with happy screaming fans. But we also have an update on the previous episode. After a week of time-shifting, Once, Upon Time has been seen by 4.67m viewers. This was down 0.43m (8.6%) on the previous week’s War of the Sontarans, and also down 0.79m (14.7%) from last year’s third episode Orphan 55.
That represents a total drop of 19.3% from the first to third chapters of Flux. For comparison the average such drop for 21st century Doctor Who overall is 14%. However, very strong viewer retention in a few seasons is driving that average. Flux is actually about the middle of the pack (7th of 13) in terms of viewer retention so far. Previous seasons have certainly had higher drops – Series 5 (23%), Series 8 (23%), and Series 11 (22%) all lost more. Meanwhile Series 13’s performance is comparable to Series 8 and 9 (both, like Flux, dropped 19%) and not that far off Series 4’s 18% drop.
Doctor Who: Flux retains its place in the Top 20 for the third week running, though strong competition is coming…
This makes it difficult to say if Flux’s serial structure has been a help or a hindrance so far. Back at our first piece for Halloween Apocalypse, Blogtor Who speculated that viewing figures would go one of two ways. Either the serial narrative would pull in viewers to catch up on earlier episodes as excitement built about later ones; or not enjoying one episode along the way would be enough to put viewers off the entire series. Instead, unless the +28 numbers contain some surprises, the viewing figures have ambled along as normal. There’s certainly been no great explosion of, or collapse in, time-shifting. There’s probably no better illustration of that than the fact that the average seven day time shift for Doctor Who, 2005-2021, is 19.5%, and the time shift for Once, Upon Time is… 19.5%
Doctor Who also kept its place in Top 20 this week, in at #20. It again beat every edition of EastEnders this week, though ITV managed to overtake Who for the first weekend this year with I’m a Celebrity, An Audience with Adele and drama Angela Black. BBC’s own prestige drama Showtrial also managed to overtake Doctor Who, leaving Doctor the third biggest drama of the weekend. We should also expect the show to tumble further down the charts for the remainder of Flux. Heavy hitter I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here! has arrived back in the schedules and it’s not just popular, but also shown daily. It can be expected to flood the charts from here on out since every edition qualifies for its own position.
The initial viewing figures for Village of the Angels have also been revealed
Meanwhile, we also have the initial overnights for the Doctor’s latest rematch with the Weeping Angels. Village of the Angels was seen by 3.45m viewers overnight. That viewing figure is down 0.31m (8.2%) on Time’s overnights, and down 0.59m (14.6%) on last year’s Nikola Tesla’s Night of Terror. That’s also a 22% drop from the series premiere’s overnights. Again it places Flux about the middle of the pack, between Christopher Eccleston’s series at one end (which dropped 30% of its audience across the first four episodes), and Peter Capaldi’s second series at the other (which lost a mere 4% of its viewers over the same period).
With I’m a Celeb and Adele filling up much of Sunday evening, time shifting during the week will be crucial for Village of the Angels
But it will certainly be interesting to see how the month’s time shifting for Village of the Angels plays out. In comparison to Once, Upon Time being deeply embedded in the Flux arc to the point, some claimed, of simply being confusing, Angels gave a strong, focused story that’s been almost universally well received. And also that cliffhanger. And that Next Time trailer. It may well receive strong word of mouth and higher than average time-shifting.
This is also where I’m A Celebrity comes in again. It’s important to remember that overnights are not just the people who watched the episode live. It also includes anyone who caught up with it before 2am the following morning. Though they didn’t directly clash with Doctor Who, the premiere of I’m a Celeb lasting over an hour and a half, and An Audience with Adele also being an hour and a half, there simply wasn’t a lot of last night left for viewers to catch up on Doctor Who. So we can expect some viewers who would normally watch Doctor Who late on Sunday evening to catch up this week instead.
But, as ever, we’ll have to wait and see…
Doctor Who: Flux continues next Sunday at 6.25pm on BBC One, and on BBC America and AMC+ in the US, with Chapter Five: Survivors of the Flux
As the forces of evil mass, the Doctor, Yaz and Dan face perilous journeys and seemingly insurmountable obstacles in their quest for survival.