'Doctor Who' Christmas Special Breaks Records for BBC America

Categories: Network TV Press Releases

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January 2nd, 2013

via press release:


Channel celebrates year of success


New York – January 2, 2013 – Doctor Who: The Snowmen delivered record ratings for BBC AMERICA, rounding out a year of success. The Christmas Day special (9P-10:20P) was the channel’s best ever telecast in demo, delivering  1.434 million total viewers and 807K/.95 A25-54 in Live+SD, up 54% from last year’s Christmas episode in total viewers and up 60% among A25-54.  The show was the channel’s second best telecast ever in P2+ L+SD, after the Doctor Who S7.1 premiere (1.555 million, 9/1/12).


BBC AMERICA General Manager, Perry Simon, said: “It feels exactly right to be ending the year on a ratings high with Doctor Who. The show has really delivered for us this year on every level. Cinematic scale, superb acting, cracking storylines and a growing band of dedicated fans – we can’t wait for the next series in spring 2013.”


Doctor Who also claimed some firsts in the publishing world. It became the first British show to claim the front cover of Entertainment Weekly in August and won TV Guide Magazine’s Fan Favorite cover in December, beating out The Walking Dead and Vampire Diaries among others.


As 2012 drew to a close, BBC AMERICA had its best quarter ever in 3Q12 and is on pace to celebrate its highest ratings year ever. It was also one of the fastest growing networks in US distribution, up 11% year on year and now in 80.4m homes (up from 72.1 last year).

The year saw BBC AMERICA launch a raft of original shows including its first-ever original scripted drama, Copper. The show became the channel’s highest rated drama series and averaged 1.3m total viewers throughout its 10 week run. Season 2 begins filming in February.


The long-running Top Gear franchise continued to grow, with Season 18 averaging the series’ biggest audience yet among A25-54, and the channel aired the second season of spin-off series Richard Hammond’s Crash Course. Season 19 of Top Gear is scheduled to air in Winter 2013.


The channel’s Queen’s Jubilee coverage was also a highlight of the year reaching 3.6 million unique viewers. BBC AMERICA co-productions, The Hour and Luther, both received Golden Globe nominations with Luther’s Idris Elba taking home the Globe for best actor in a mini-series or motion picture made for television.

  • Harma

    Good, love this show, and the new companion is quickly becoming my favorite

  • Dave Jones

    A little perspective: on the night, the Xmas episode was so far down the ratings list you had a hard time finding it. More people watched the midnight Robot Chicken, for instance. I like Dr. Who, but not necessarily BBC America which is just another shlock cable network now. I mean, repeats of ST:TNG? Can’t they do better?

  • Ian9outof10

    When I’m in America – as a Brit – I’m always staggered by the nonsense they show on BBC America. I guess it’s a financial decision, but there’s SO much BBC content they could be showing that’s a billion times better than what they do. Possibly they don’t have, and can’t get, the US rights to a lot of stuff, presumably that’s already been sold to other networks.

    If you’re interested, here’s the Christmas ratings in the UK:

    EastEnders – 9.9 million
    Coronation Street – 9.0 million
    Doctor Who – 8.9 million
    Downton Abbey – 8.1 million
    Strictly Come Dancing – 7.5 million
    Absolutely Fabulous – 7.4 million
    Emmerdale – 6.7 million
    The Gruffalo’s Child – 6.5 million
    Michael McIntyre’s Christmas Comedy Roadshow – 6.4 million
    All Star Family Fortunes – 6.4 million

    Doctor Who was the highest-rated non-soap programme.

  • Ian9outof10

    I beg your pardon, those numbers are from 2011. Here are this year’s:

    EastEnders – 9.4m
    Coronation Street – 8.6m
    Strictly Come Dancing Christmas Special – 7.8m
    The Royle Family – 7.7m
    Doctor Who – 7.6m
    Call the Midwife – 7.3m
    Downton Abbey – 6.8m
    BBC News – 6.1m
    Emmerdale – 6.0m
    BBC News 5.6m

  • USAmerica1st

    Thank you, BBC America! Doctor Who continues its well-deserved success. Matt Smith is a GREAT Doctor. “I brake for Daleks”.

  • Richard Steven Hack

    I am liking Jenna-Louise! :-)

  • DW

    my favorite show on television. glad its doing well on a network that’s not the easiest to find.

  • Barb

    BBCA has very limited programming and many aren’t even BBC shows such as STTNG which is just wrong. I still remember when they aired repeats of Dancing with the Stars instead of Strictly Come Dancing. Just looking at the 2011 and 2012 BBC schedules it’s embarrassing just how bad BBCA is now. The first couple of years when they started were great which included Eastenders, Top of the Pops and a variety of shows especially crime dramas.

  • Eric_Philly

    Best Christmas special of the 11th Doctor.

  • Alex

    @Ian9outof10: Actually, the rating for Doctor Who’s Christmas special was actually 9.87 million. That’s because in the UK the official ratings for BBC programming includes those who record the show and watch it within 7 days of broadcast (something they are able to factor in because BBC does not air commercials). The number is expected to increase even further once the numbers from online streaming via BBC iPlayer are calculated. DW moved up to 4th place on the night, with Call the Midwife (whatever that is) moving up to 2nd place (I guess a lot of people recorded that one) and and Come Dancing thing dropped below DW.

  • Alex

    One other thing worth mentioning is in the UK the special aired in the afternoon, not the evening, so the numbers are even more impressive when that is taken into account. General consensus in fandom is the special probably would have broken 9 or even 10 million on basic broadcast had it been given a better timeslot by BBC One.

  • Dave Jones

    I’ll say this for BBC America: by showing endless repeats of shows from years ago (Top Gear especially) they are acting just like the BBC! I wonder how a 20-year-old episode of “Only Fools and Horses” would fare in the US?

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