‘Doctor Who’: Matt Smith’s farewell, Peter Capaldi’s season 8 tease increases in final figures

Christmas -For those of you wondering just how many people really watched the “Doctor Who” Christmas Special in Britain over the course of the past week or so, we have a more concise answer for you now.

When you include recordings and other viewing figures (given that not everyone wants to spend Christmas in front of the television), the grand farewell for Matt Smith as well as the formal debut of Peter Capaldi as the 12th Doctor drew a total of 11.1 million viewers, up from the 8.3 million who watched the special on average live. That means that nearly 3 million watched after the fact, an impressive number that shows that recordings and alternate viewings are becoming more popular in Britain just like they are here in North America. While these ratings are impressive, it was still not enough to top the holiday special of “Mrs. Brown’s Boys” as the most-popular Christmas Day event on TV. (Fun fact, though: If the same percentage of people watched the “Doctor Who” special in America as they did in Britain, it would have close to 50 million viewers. Astounding.)

For those curious about the data of another British show that we traditionally cover in this space, the “Downton Abbey” Christmas special rose to 9.4 million viewers once you include all of these figures, which is a rise from the 7 million who first watched the special when it aired. Both of these ratings are in the end very impressive, and a sign that neither show is in any danger of going off the air any time soon.

“Doctor Who” season 8 will start filming this month, with the premiere date coming likely in September or early October. You can read some more speculation about that here, or you can teleport over to this link if you want to get weekly updates in your email via our CarterMatt newsletter.

Photo: BBC One

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