Doctor Who: The Day of the Doctor, the 50th anniversary special of the BBC sci-fi show, has been crowned the Radio Times Audience Award winner at the 2014 Arqiva British Academy Television Awards.
The only award at the TV Baftas decided by the public, the Audience Award was voted for by tens of thousands of people on RadioTimes.com during April and early May.
In a keenly fought race, the Doctor Who special, written by showrunner Steven Moffat, saw off stiff competition for the prize in the shape of Broadchurch, Breaking Bad, Gogglebox, Educating Yorkshire and The Great British Bake Off.
The Day of the Doctor aired on 23 November 2013, exactly 50 years after the first episode of Doctor Who, An Unearthly Child starring William Hartnell, was screened and introduced the Time Lord and Tardis to the world for the very first time.
Broadcast simultaneously to 94 countries across the globe in both 2D and 3D, the 75-minute episode was the television event of 2013. Starring Matt Smith and Jenna Coleman, the episode saw the return of former Tardis incumbents David Tennant and Billie Piper, as well as a featuring role for legendary veteran British actor John Hurt as the War Doctor. With a cameo from incoming incarnation of the Time Lord Peter Capaldi and a glimpse of former Tardis favourite Tom Baker, the episode was without doubt one of the most spectacular chapters in the show’s long and illustrious history.
Described as “a love letter to fans”, The Day of the Doctor attracted 12.8 million viewers on British television, with a further 2.4 million watching the US simulcast on BBC America – breaking the channel’s all-time record. The show also took the record for the most requested programme on the BBC’s iPlayer, enjoying almost 3 million streams before the end of 2013.
There were big numbers for the anniversary special in the cinema too, with cinema takings of over £1.7 million in the UK pushing Doctor Who to number three in the UK cinema box office in the week of airing, and the show pulling in more than $10 million across the world in movie theatres.
Doctor Who: The Day of the Doctor is the second Radio Times Audience Award winner. The 2013 award was won by HBO fantasy drama Game of Thrones, shown in the UK on Sky Atlantic.