Jodie Whittaker’s debut as The Doctor on the upcoming Doctor Who 2017 Christmas Special has to be one of the TV highlights of the year. What we wonder as a result of that is rather simple: What will the ratings expectations be? Will the opportunity to see Jodie for the first time in this role push the numbers through the roof?
Well, for the time being we’d say that the curiosity is a reason for some cautious optimism come Christmas Day. In terms of consolidated viewing figures out of the UK, the two most-recent Christmas Specials for the series are actually the two lowest-rated on record, with both of them posting less than 8 million viewers. However, this special has an advantage on those even if you take Jodie out of the equation. This marks an opportunity to see the final appearance of Peter Capaldi as The Doctor, and regeneration episodes do tend to produce a nice ratings bump for all parties involved. “The Time of the Doctor,” which was the regeneration episode for Matt Smith into Peter, ended up drawing as a whole over 11 million consolidated viewers.
At the moment, we’d argue that around 11 million should be the expectation for what we ended up getting with Jodie for a rather simple reason: There are so many other ways to watch TV these days! There’s more enthusiasm for Whittaker than we’ve seen for a new Doctor in some time, and we do think that there will be some people who flock to the show specifically for that. It may even be enough to compensate for some of the viewers who have departed the franchise over the years.
Is it true that there are some people out there who are angry about Jodie’s casting? Sure, but we perceive them to be a vocal internet minority and they’ll still watch to say goodbye to Capaldi. Also, none of these people have actually seen the new Doctor yet. She may turn up on the screen and they could fall in love with her!
Here in America, we anticipate the special to break the record of last year’s Christmas Special, which drew about 1.7 million consolidated viewers. Doctor Who has slowly built an audience stateside over time and Whittaker may help to make it all the more mainstream. Whether or not she keeps many of these viewers after the fact remains to be seen.
What do you think the Doctor Who ratings expectations should be for the debut of Jodie Whittaker as The Doctor? Be sure to share in one way or another below!
Did you see CarterMatt’s take on the end of Class?
Yesterday we officially confirmed the cancellation of this series, and you can read more about that just by heading over to the link here. (Photo: BBC.)