Apr 29 2011 10:26am

Weekly Who: Doctor Who Is A Disaster/No It’s Not

Welcome to our Weekly Who roundup! Every Friday morning (though less if we’ve just been crazy on the Who front) we collect random/cool Doctor Who-related news and things that we’ve found in our internet travels. Feel free to point out your own finds in the comments!

This week we’re arguing over whether the season 6 premiere, “The Impossible Astronaut” was a disaster for BBC or a triumph for BBC America. We’ve also found some Sarah Jane remembrances that will break your heart in an instant.

Oh, and the Silents are behind you even as you read this.

In Doctor Who news:

1.) Doctor Who delivers its lowest/highest ratings ever. The BBC broadcast of the season 6 premiere “The Impossible Astronaut” delivered the lowest debut episode ratings since the new series began in 2005, clocking in at 6.5 million viewers. (Previous season debuts have run 9 million viewers or higher.)

Ratings became a consistent problem for the show beginning in season 5, which started strong but soon dwindled as the episodes continued airing into the summer. Some speculation reasons that this is a contributing factor towards the decision to split season 6 into two parts.

The show’s British TV ratings lay in stark contrast to the ratings recorded in North America by both BBC America and Canadian channel Space, both of which saw record ratings numbers network-wide for the season premiere. This year also marks the first instance that a new season of Doctor Who has been broadcast simultaneously in the U.K. and North America.

It does make one wonder if the show is waning in the U.K. and waxing across the pond. Interest in Doctor Who certainly seems more prevalent here in the U.S.; is interest dropping in the U.K.?


On to the cool stuff!:

1.) The Daleks are really excited about this royal wedding. We’re not feeling it, ourselves, which makes us wonder if this Royal Wedding Dalek, designed by Chris Balcome, has some sort of plot afoot. One can only hope that the Doctor is aware and attempting to thwart it. Oh, and that he doesn’t piss off yet another Queen.


2.) They’ll get your money for your car accident before it actually happens. An enterprising soul in the Who publicity office whipped up this makeshift “Team TARDIS” poster depicting the main characters as space-time lawyers. We’d hire them any day, even as they’re late to our hearing, bearing only a mop and a mad grin.


3.) Doctor Who Tumblr has been posting photos of people with Silents in the background. The effect is absolutely eerie. See the below graphic from Time and Relative Dimensions for a tame sample.


4.) Elisabeth Sladen sadness parade. Fair warning, the two below images/cartoons from last week hit us right in the gut. The first is from the Dork Tower comic series strip by John Kovalic.

Dork Tower by John Kovalic

Man... Check out more of his comics at the link above.

This next inserts K-9 into the ending of Futurama episode “Jurassic Bark.”

He will wait for you, Mistress.


5.) We need some serious therapy after that. Luckily, Adam Koford has it covered.

Charlie Brown Doctor is in by Adam Koford

Stubby the Rocket is the mascot and voice of It feels like it’s forgetting something, but it can’t place it’s finger on just what that might be....

Joseph Kingsmill
1. JFKingsmill16
Yea, the Dork Tower K-9 picture really punches you in the gut.

I am not happy to hear about the low rating in the U.K.. I really don't want it to be canceled.
James Hogan
2. Sonofthunder
Upon moving to the UK from the US, I expected to find lots of Who fans here...surprisingly I found that was not the case. Don't know *anyone* here in Scotland who follows the show. Maybe I just know the wrong people(quite possible!!), but this makes me sad.
3. AlexF
@Sonofthunder - you've just met the wrong people :) The Doctor is alive and well here in Sunny Scotland.
Ian Gazzotti
4. Atrus
While they might be lower absolute ratings, the new season opener was shown at 6pm on a sunny day during a long weekend, against the usual 7pm time slot. I would say it's actually a pretty spectacular result when 5 million people get home early specifically to watch your program.
Also, between recordings, BBC3 re-runs and iPlayer views, the consolidated viewing figures are going to be much higher.
For a show in its 6th (new) season, Doctor Who is nowhere near to being cancelled.
5. Fenric25
Love the royal wedding Dalek and the Team TARDIS poster. As for the Doctor Who ratings, the BBC are actually quite happy with them, according to Stephen Moffat. The show before Doctor Who only had maybe 2 million viewers, then the one after Doctor Who had only 3 million, according to the overnights, IIRC. So an extra 4.5 million people tuned in at 6pm on a sunny Saturday night to watch the show-who'd do that over here in America? Not to mention that the iplayer brings in a couple million people, too, only they can't count those as official ratings. No other show over the weekend got as high ratings-even long-running soap Coronation Street was a bit weaker in the ratings department. TV ratings in Britain and America are all a bit down across the board as so many people catch shows through the internet and such. Add in the BAFTA nom for Matt Smith as best actor and the fact that the show's safe through the 50th anniversary at least (according to Stephen Moffat's comments of planning something big for it), then I think Doctor Who's fine for now, thank goodness...
6. Mark Cunningham
A lot of fans over here (Ireland/UK) knew it was going to be a two-parter and are waiting till this week to watch both in a row. After watching the
première live, I have to admit, I would have preferred to watch the
two parts as one.
Jason Henninger
7. jasonhenninger
Oh man...the K-9/Jurrassic Bark combo is no fair.
8. Harlequin
Wow, Atrus, I hadn't really thought through the implications of this being the sixth season of new Who. It's remarkable how it's managed to balance acknowledging the weight of its own history while still seeming pretty vibrant--I mean, compare the end of last season to the end of season five of Buffy. (It helps being able to switch out the characters, of course.)
Amber Poore
9. Razorgirl
Ow. My gut, no lie I am tearing up all over again for the loss if Sara Jane/Ms. Lis Sladen. Poor K9. She is indeed missed.
Ursula L
10. Ursula
I'm inclined to credit the lower ratings in the UK to the earlier timeslot, and the higher ratings in the US to the fact that the broadcast was on the same day as the UK broadcast.

When you had to wait weeks in the US to see it, I suspect that many fans would track down the new episodes illegally online, and watch shortly after the UK broadcast, and then not bother to watch the US broadcast even if they had access to BBC America. The more you liked the show, the less you wanted to wait, and the more tempted you were to watch illegally, to get it sooner.

The move to broadcast the same day worldwide takes away the strongest incentive for watching illegally.
11. Sjb.
The final official rating from BARB for 'The Impossible Astronaut'

BBC 1. Doctor Who - 8.86m (43.3%) 2.3m+ time shift.

the overnights and people who recorded the episode withing 7 days of
the original transmission date... It does not include i-player requests.
That would have taken the rating to 9.6m if they had been included....
(300,000 requests in the first 2 days alone)

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