Let’s hear it for the girl: Jodie Whittaker’s debut as the Thirteenth Doctor marked the highest-ever Doctor Who series launch since its return in 2005. Following much pomp and circumstance over the first female Doctor and her new showrunner, “The Woman Who Fell to Earth” was seen by a whopping 10.8 million viewers, according to the Broadcasters’ Audience Research Board (BARB).
For reference, 2005 series premiere “Rose,” which marked the end of the show’s 16-year hiatus, was watched by 10.8 million people. “The consolidated volume also makes Doctor Who the No. 1 drama launch of the year so far,” the BBC boasted.
It even beat critically acclaimed spy drama Killing Eve, which finally hit UK screens in September. “On behalf of the entire Doctor Who team, a huge thank you to viewers for taking Jodie’s Doctor and her new friends into their hearts, in such huge numbers,” head writer Chris Chibnall said in a statement.
“It’s a thrill being deluged with pictures of families snuggled up together, kids (and adults) hiding behind sofas (they actually do that!), and seeing all the extraordinary creative artwork inspired by the show,” he continued.
Despite criticism from pouty fans over the space-and-time-travelling alien’s sex change, folks still turned up and tuned in to see what a new lead actor will bring to the series.
“It’s incredibly exciting to see the audience responding to Jodie Whittaker’s Thirteenth Doctor in such huge numbers,” Charlotte Moore, director of BBC Content, said. “The brilliant Chris Chibnall’s new series is an epic adventure on every level, full of so much wit but a scary, edge-of-your-seat adrenaline rush, too.”
The debut episode also received 2 million requests through BBC’s iPlayer Internet streaming and catch-up service in the seven days following its broadcast. “The journey of the Thirteenth Doctor is only just beginning,” Chibnall teased. “Next stop: Alabama, 1955.”
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