Comparing last year’s Christmas Special to this year’s, Doctor Who has come a long way. Only securing 64,049 tweets, 2012's The Snowmen ranked second on last year’s Christmas leaderboard, a long way behind EastEnders' considerable total of 224,074 tweets. The peak minute of The Snowmen came in the opening moments of last year’s episode as 1,969 tweets were sent in anticipation. Fast forward a year and how things have changed for the Doctor.
A total of 183,550 tweets were generated during The Time of The Doctor’s airing, nearly triple last year’s total. The opening moments saw a peak of 4,853 tweets per minute, but the highest peak was unsurprisingly following The Doctor’s regeneration. 7,829 tweets were sent in the minute after the episode finished as people turned to their second screens to give their opinion of the show and new Doctor Peter Capaldi.
Beating the likes of Love Actually, EastEnders and the most watched programme of the day, Mrs Brown’s Boys, Doctor Who topped social media analysts SecondSync’s daily leaderboard, generating almost 40,000 more tweets than any other show from Christmas Day. It’s also interesting to note that The Time of the Doctor generated 65,000 tweets more than the Christmas episode of EastEnders, nearly exactly the total that Doctor Who generated in its Christmas episode last year.
As with the 50th anniversary episode, the most retweeted post from this year's Christmas special came once again from the official Doctor Who account. @bbcdoctorwho saw their tweet “A Message from Matt Smith…” RTed 6,693 times during the transmission.
Being Matt Smith’s final Doctor Who appearance, there was quite a lot of chatter around the departing Doctor. In total, Smith was mentioned in 48,912 tweets out of the total 183,550 with the hashtag #GoodbyeMattSmith used 7,993 times. The love doesn’t quite yet seem to be there for Peter Capaldi however. Mentioned in 18,844 tweets, the hashtag #WelcomePeterCapaldi only saw 1,116 uses.
The Time of The Doctor is the second most tweeted about Doctor Who episode that we have on record, beaten only by 50th anniversary episode The Day of The Doctor – and the two episodes are the only ones to pass 100k tweets. With the new series scheduled to air in the autumn of 2014 it’s likely we’ll be seeing more episodes pass this mark in the future. For now, though, it seems that Christmas really is the Time of the Doctor.
Kay Dekker is a social media TV analyst at SecondSync