Doctor Who returned to BBC1 on Saturday night with a very healthy average audience of 6.38 million viewers (a 29.3% share) on BBC1 between 7:20pm and 8:10pm.
Asylum of the Daleks (read our review here), the first of five stories in the 2012 section of series seven, held a steady audience throughout, peaking at just over 6.5 million in the overnight ratings. The series seven opener was, however, down on 2011’s premiere The Impossible Astronaut which won an average audience of 6.5 million viewers, with a peak of 7 million.
Of course this year’s numbers are set to rise when consolidated figures (which include time shift viewing) are released. The figures do not include BBC iPlayer, where Doctor Who is very popular, as those numbers are calculated separately.
The “big surprise” came in the form of companion-in-waiting Jenna-Louise Coleman featuring in the episode as Oswin, months before her expected screen debut. Coleman was announced as departing companion Karen Gillan’s replacement in March, but it was thought that her first episode would be the Christmas special – after Amy and Rory Pond had exited the show.
However, after an explosive ending to the series opener… it’s far from clear how, or when, we’ll be seeing Coleman’s character back on screen soon.