Jodie Whittaker’s Thirteenth Doctor has finally arrived – and it turns out that an awful lot of people tuned in to BBC1 to see her in action.
The average overnight audience for Whittaker’s full Doctor Who debut, The Woman Who Fell to Earth, was 8.2 million, peaking at around 9 million towards the end of the episode at 7:40/7:45pm (when some viewers may have been tuning in to catch the beginning of the Strictly Come Dancing results show).
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The numbers gave Doctor Who an impressive 40.1% of the overall audience share in the 60-minute slot from 6:45pm that night, and beat the ratings for the introductory episodes of both her immediate predecessors Peter Capaldi and Matt Smith.
Capaldi’s debut story Deep Breath, which aired in 2014, had overnight figures of 6.8 million viewers, while Smith’s first episode (2010’s The Eleventh Hour) was watched by 7.66 million people on the night.
The most recent episode of Doctor Who prior to Whittaker’s debut – 2017 Christmas special Twice Upon a Time – had overnights of 5.7 million, demonstrating what a step up The Woman Who Fell to Earth is in terms of modern Doctor Who ratings.
We’ll have to wait for the consolidated figures, including catch-up viewing, to come in next week before we can directly rack up Whittaker’s first episode against all of recent Who, but one thing’s for sure – it’s already a very strong start for the new Doctor and her team.
Doctor Who continues on BBC1 on Sunday 14th October at 6:55pm