'Doctor Who' 50th Anniversary Special Averages 10.2 Million in the UK But Is Bettered By Dancing Show

Categories: Broadcast TV,Cable TV

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November 24th, 2013

Doctor Who 50th Anniversary

Doctor Who's 50th anniversary episode averaged 10.2 million viewers in the UK and peaked at 10.61 million viewers on BBC1 according to preliminary ratings, marking its best ratings in nearly 3 years (Christmas 2010), but was bested by Strictly Come Dancing's 10.6 million average with a peak of 11.7.  Doctor Who did handily beat The X Factor's 7.7 million average though.

We're sure we'll hear from the "but with DVR viewing Doctor Who will come out on top!" crowd, but  there's no need for  Whovians to settle for local supremacy when they can claim worldwide ratings dominance! The special got a Guinness World Record for the world's largest ever simulcast of a TV drama for having been broadcast simultaneously to 94 countries.

We'll should see (and post) the numbers for BBC America no later than Tuesday.

  • Ryan

    I know monitoring Twitter is fool’s gold when it comes to predicting ratings (see: Nado, Shark) but it was heartening to see so many Who hashtags trending in the US during the special. And more to the point, in the Twitter era global simulcasts are just really cool anyway since the live, real-time “water cooler” conversation expands to every reach of the globe.

  • diegodaily

    I’m impressed of the amount of people that watch TV on UK. In USA the viewers keep dropping… Well done for the Doctor, in his 50 years it keeps improving its ratings.

  • Ryan

    Also, Strictly Come Dancing was the BBC lead-in, right? Just so it’s not confused as being a time slot competitor like X Factor was.

  • Jon

    Considering that the cinema simulcast would have impacted viewing for television, 10m is very good, it’ll be interesting how it fares for BBC America.

  • James

    “but with DVR viewing Doctor Who will come out on top!”

    Well it has been doing worse and worse in live viewing while better and better in DVR viewing over the last 4-5 years. And DVR viewing matters on the BBC unlike on other channels because they don’t have pesky adverts to worry about.

    ITV scheduled a “tenth anniversary” X-Factor special against it. Absolutely desperate, they are.

  • Barb

    Strictly Come Dancing is the UK equivalent of Dancing with the Stars which BBCA refused to air years ago in favor of the US version. At least in the UK, it’ll be 10 days before final BARB figures are released which should show a nice increase to the viewing figures. What will be interesting though is what the AI (Appreciation Index) will be when that number is released in the UK in the next day or so. That will show how much the audience truly enjoyed the show versus the rating.

  • Percy

    Go Doctor Who!! When will we see worldwide ratings?

  • CrimTV


    The X Factor UK is in it’s 10th season though so it was the 10th Anniversary. They are not desperate it just so happened they occurred on the same night. ITV knew they would be beaten by Doctor Who no matter what they did.

  • James


    They decided, out of 11 weeks, to schedule the episode to celebrate the 10th anniversary on this specific night. Desperate plea to get viewers away from BBC One.

  • Abir

    We have to include all of the people that saw it in cinema as well.

  • Samunto

    Indeed it’s the 10th series but I’m not sure ITV used the word anniversary properly. I mean X Factor started in 2004. In 2003 they had Pop Idol.
    Yea, i know it’s a silly detail….

  • Benjamin

    I’m pretty certain it’ll be BBC America’s biggest Saturday afternoon broadcast of all time.

    Now, I’m curious to see how the Monday 3D movie showings do here. The Saturday live movie simulcast in the US was only in a limited number of screens. The Monday night showings are in a large number of theatres, many of whom have added 1 to 3 extra screens as they kept selling out of tickets.

  • CrimTV


    Come on, I know ITV can be stupid but they knew 100% they wouldn’t beat BBC One, even if they staged the resurrection of Michael Jackson they still wouldn’t have got enough viewers to beat BBC 1.

  • Nick

    @Benjamin: In fact, it was their biggest telecast of all time. Ratings were quite big for a network like BBC America, especially considering the time.

  • Raz

    Was a great story and loved John Hurt as The Doctor.

  • Carl

    Not to go all fanboy, but this headline is a little annoying. Strictly isn’t just a dancing show – it’s one of the most popular TV shows in the UK, and regularly gets high ratings.

  • Silent Hunter

    “but with DVR viewing Doctor Who will come out on top!”

    Which would be a big deal for the show; it’s only once topped the week’s ratings (the Series 4 finale in 2008).

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