'Doctor Who' reboot sets ratings record for BBC America

The Saturday premiere of the Doctor Who reboot set a ratings record for BBC America, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Its 1.2 million viewers made it the network’s most-watched show ever, breaking the previous record of 1 million viewers for the Jan. 2 broadcast of Dr. Who: The End of Time. The new Dr. Who features a new title character, played by Matt Smith, and a new showrunner, Steven Moffat. (Related: ‘Doctor Who’ recap: Matt Smith brings more than a bowtie to the reinvented title character!)

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  • margo

    The test will be how many of those people continue to tune in. The writing was weak, and if it continues to be weak, people will tune out.

    • darclyte

      It was ok. They tried a bit too hard to make him “fun” and show that he’s still “The Doctor.” The new show runner wrote some of the best Doctor Who episodes, so I’m sure once they’ve found “Matt’s Voice” like they did with David that the episodes will be great. Regardless, it was a LOT better than V and people have STILL been giving that “time to improve.”

    • Frank Anderson

      I didn’t think the writing was weak at all! It was worlds better than the “special” episodes that led up to Tennant leaving. Those felt like rejected scripts pulled out of a trash bin.

      This episode was funny and felt very much like a classic Who episode to me.

      Margo- Are you one of those people that was saying that Tennant would always be their Doctor?

      Those people are not real fans of Doctor Who.

      • Rebekah

        Everyone is entitled to their opinion about the quality of the writing, acting, direction, and overall show. This includes if people want to pick their favorite Doctor. I don’t think it makes a person any less of a “real” Doctor Who fan if Chris E. is their favorie, or David Tennant, or Tom Baker, or whoever. So lighten up! Btw, I’m not digging the younger Doctor Who, but I am looking forward to the return of the “Blink” Angels.

      • Frank Anderson

        I agree with you that people are entitled to their own opinions, but I am also entitled to mine that people who have only watched the last few years of Doctor Who and then pitch a fit when Tennant leaves are not real fans.

        BTW- I kind of figured you didn’t like the new Who since you are defending an asinine opinion. ;)

      • Brett

        The asinine opinion would be the one held by the one who says that if people say Tennant will always be their favorite Doctor, then they are not “real Doctor Who fans.” That you qualified it with your subsequent post only slightly ameliorates the asininity.

      • Frank Anderson

        Nope, you are wrong. The asinine opinion would be the one held by the person who responds to a response on a response about a comment with their own asinine opinion.

        In other words- I am rubber you are glue… and your opinion is bullcrap! And there is no way to ameliorate that.

        PS- If you can’t tell yet I do plan on heckling back and further hecklers who apparently missed the winky face at the end of my last comment because they are too stupid to realize that this meant I was saying what I said sarcastically.

        PPS- I purposefully wrote this comment in a really confusing, poorly written fashion to mimic how poorly and confusingly written Brett’s comment was.

      • renee

        hey, i love dr. who. i bought the dvd’s of the early series cause i didn’t see them here in the u.s. and i haven’t missed an episode in the last 3 years.

        i wasn’t crazy about the storyline. wasn’t crazy about amelia. hadn’t found anything appealing about the new dr, but when he asked zero’s alien bro’s ‘do u see what happened to them,’ referring to how all earth attackers had been obliterated by the doctor, and then said ‘i am the doctor’ i went YES!!

        so i’m on board and hope with a new producer and writer and all that that i’m not disappointed.

        but it was a stupid storyline.

      • margo

        I didn’t say that I disliked Matt Smith. I thought he did a great job. What I said was that the writing was weak, and I stand by that. I have also seen the next 2 episodes, and the 3rd episode is horrible.

        I also said that if the writing remains weak that people will tune out. The ratings for the first episode in this series were great in the UK, but went down with the 2nd and 3rd episodes.

        Frank, most DW fans have one actor that they refer to as “my Doctor.” For many fans, but not all fans, it’s the first actor they saw in the role. It doesn’t mean that you don’t appreciate the other actors who play The Doctor.

        Frank, it isn’t your place to decide who is a “real” DW fan.
        Anybody who watches and enjoys the show is a fan, no matter when they started watching or which Doctor is their favorite. All are welcome, and there is no litmus test to determine who is or isn’t a fan.

  • T

    Who cares I’m a Sontaron and when trying to take over the universe its hard to find love but I found a great site Sontarons looking for love with Badoons and Siltherons. Daleks need not apply dot com.

    • melon

      Love it. :)

    • stan

      Do you know any good dating sites for Cyberfolks who’ve regained emotions, if not feeling in their lower extremities?

    • deeanek


    • purpleprose78

      You’re amazing!

    • Coco

      Thank you for making my day. THAT was hilarious!

    • wg

      Post of the week.

  • Kristen

    Matt Smith was fantastic! Great to see the Doctor adapting to another new face. It was nice to have a fluffy story after the gloom and doom at the end of David Tennant’s run (Dr. Donna, Waters of Mars, End of Time, brilliant but depressing). Being an immortal Time Lord is fun, too. It’s timey-wimey!!

  • Kurt

    For a set up episode, I thought the writing was quite good and then lifted by the performances. It feels like there’s going to be a sprinkle more of a vintage “Twilight Zone” feel to the show (the crack in the wall angle), which I think will work well. I have high hopes for the season and for Mr. Smith’s Doctor.

  • Vikki Sixx

    Is it at all surprising that it was the highest rated premiere? You couldn’t escape the advertising for it even if you don’t watch BBC America. PBS even had a tie-in retrospective of the series history!

    • Laura

      Yeah, seriously. Not only did I see ads for it on other TV stations and on websites like EW, but I even saw billboards for the new Doctor Who around Los Angeles. They did a HUGE promotional push for it. Frankly, I’m surprised the ratings weren’t better since the advertising was everywhere!

      • Jennifer

        You have to consider that not all cable/satellite companies carry BBC America. I think the ratings were pretty spectacular for something that’s not even available on basic cable.

  • T


  • darclyte

    Normally I’d write, “Whoo Hoo,” but in this case I’ll write “Who Hoo!”

  • Laura

    It’s DOCTOR WHO, not Dr. Who. This article goes back and forth between spelling it wrong and spelling it right. Sheesh – why does EW always do that when writing about this show?

  • Frank Anderson

    Imagine how much bigger the ratings would be if there wasn’t a three week delay! In today’s world doing something like that with a show as popular as this is just asking for people to pirate.

    I watched it on BBCA and loved it. Matt Smith was extremely likable and the new assistant was pretty, funny and their relationship was a joy to watch form.

    I am glad this did so well!

    • Rob

      oops! I wasn’t thinking of this point and forgot to DVR it even though I’ve seen first three eps. Yar, I be a scurvy knave. Make that 1.2 million and one

    • Rob

      I’ve seen the first three episodes and so far I like the show (though the new theme song just seems wrong to me, I’ll get used to it I guess). Matt isn’t David but those are going to be hard shoes to fill and I thought he did it pretty well. I also like the Amy Pond character (probably not just because I find the actress the most attractive of the companions). It will be interesting to see how Matt handles the “I’m so sorry” episodes where the Doc saves the day but there’s that gut wrenching ending where something awful happens to someone. I’m looking forward to the fourth ep with the return of River Song.

      • Rob

        oops, did not mean to add the second comment to yours Frank

  • Rush

    It’s not a reboot.

    • Jenn

      And neither is Matt Smith a new title character, he’s just a new actor in the title character role. It’s nice when EW put effort into their posts… ¬_¬

    • Cara

      That’s what I was going to say! Totally not a reboot. EW, you need to buy a dictionary…

  • Brooke

    Hooray for the great ratings, but boo to the author of this article – “Dr.” Who? What? Reboot? What? At least run this by your coworker Slezak who actually watches the show and gave us a great recap so that he can proofread and quality-check it.

  • waya

    It was tough to bring in a new Doctor but I think the new guy pulled it off. I liked him anyway!

  • Emilee

    I have a question for you long-time Doctor Who fans:
    I’ve heard great things about this series, and would like to start watching it, but where should I start since this show has been on in some form for decades?

    • znachki

      The way that the new series (since 2005) has been written, you really could start with the beginning of any of the new Doctors. Go ahead and watch the first Matt Smith episode and start your journey there. Then, as you have time, watch any of the others that take your fancy. A lot of folks go back and watch the “new Who” starting with Christopher Eccleston, then they go back and watch the other Doctors. That’s what I’d recommend.

      If you think you need more background on a specific subject – Daleks for example – you could just watch the episodes that feature them – through all of the Doctors. Wikipedia’s Doctor Who pages are very very good for anyone interested in learning more. There are pages for the Dotors, the Companions, all of the episodes and much more. Also, those of us who have been watching it for years (kudos to my local PBS station which has run Who since the 1970’s) will be glad to answer questions.

    • Ben

      You can’t go wrong with starting with the 2005 reboot as it is recent, well done and not so many episodes have been done that you couldn’t catch up fairly quickly. However, if you are up for classic Who, then you might want to watch the original Master episodes during the 3rd Doctor’s (John Pertwee) time and then all of the Tom Baker years. The John Pertwee/Tom Baker eps will explain characters like Sarah Jane Smith and K-9 that appear during David Tennant’s tenure. I agree that if you particularly like Dalek or Cybermen (or any particular recurring villain) episodes, you can pick those out of every Doctor’s run going back to the first Doctor.

      • Emilee

        Thanks to both of you, that’s very helpful!

  • Ben

    I watched the new incarnation and wasn’t too impressed. This guy makes Sylvester McCoy look like James Bond by comparison. It is early days yet, but I don’t expect much–maybe David Tennant will be too hard of an act to follow, like Tom Baker was for Peter Davison. The new TARDIS device make me gag. I expected Fred Sanford to come walking out of the back of the TARDIS, call the Doctor “big dummy”, and then demand that everybody get the hell out of his junkyard.

  • zeddicus zu’l zorander

    This show is BANTHA FODDER!!!! Watch Legend of the Seeker instead!!

    • Heather

      Stop being a nerf herder. Doctor Who rocks. If you don’t want to watch, just go away and watch your Legend of the Seeker.

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