Fans travel through time to watch Doctor Who

The BBC's sci-fi show tops the time-shift charts

If you’re a Doctor Who fan, Saturday teatimes are sacred, right? Not necessarily: it’s emerging that Matt Smith and co are the kings of time-shifted television, with millions of viewers not watching the show live.


The latest statistics from BBC iPlayer reveal that The Impossible Astronaut, the Doctor Who season premiere on 23 April, was by far the most-watched programme on the site that month, with a colossal 1.38 million requests. The 15 April EastEnders (Tanya and Greg’s wedding) had 841,000 views, with Russell Howard’s Good News (14 April) in third with 660,000.

The top ten (figures denote the single most popular episode in a series) was as follows:

1 Doctor Who 1,379,000
2 EastEnders 841,000
3 Russell Howard’s Good News 660,000
4 Waterloo Road 631,000
5 Louis Theroux: America’s Most Hated Family 580,000
6 The Royal Wedding 578,000
7 The Crimson Petal and the White 465,000
8 Have I Got News for You 414,000
9 Michael McIntyre: Live and Laughing 350,000
10 Candy Cabs 322,000

Meanwhile, separate analysis of Barb data by Kantar Media suggests that the same episode of Doctor Who – originally shown at 6pm in the middle of a sunny Bank Holiday weekend – is the most-recorded TV programme of all time.


These figures show that almost half of viewers who saw The Impossible Astronaut on their TV sets (so iPlayer views are not included) did not watch it live: 4.1m caught up later, from a total audience of 8.9m.