‘Doctor Who’: Matt Smith’s exit, Peter Capaldi’s formal debut before season 8 ignites America

For those of you who love “Doctor Who,” you’ll probably love this news regardless of what you felt about the controversial Christmas Special: A ton of people checked in to see it, even in America where the show was at one point not that big of a success.

Overall, 2.47 viewers watched the Christmas day special even last week on BBC America, which saw Matt Smith sign off as The Doctor, in addition to Peter Capaldi performing in his first real scene after making a tiny (and cryptic) appearance in the 50th Anniversary Special. This is the best performance of any scripted show ever on the network, which has really come into its own the past couple of years. This happens to beat the previous record holder, which was the “Doctor Who” 50th Anniversary Special just last month.

Is there going to be a serious contender to take that title anytime soon? Unless an army of people somehow catches “Orphan Black” and realizes the greatness of it when it premieres in April, it’s unlikely. The next best chance could come later this coming fall, when Capaldi starts to appear in regular episodes as the 12th formal iteration of the character. The only thing that could hold it back at that point is that the series will not be in the midst of such a crazy-significant year … but we are still more than curious to see just how it will perform now that there is not a guy like Smith in the lead who had won so many fans over since taking over the role from the equally-beloved David Tennant.

“Doctor Who” did not win Christmas Day in the UK when it came to overall ratings, but it did score the achievement of having the largest peak audience of any show.

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