Doctor Who: The Fall Of The Doctor’s Ratings?

“Doctor Who has fallen into a black hole!” “Doctor Who ratings are at an all time low!” “Doctor Who sucks!...

Mark Cunningham

Contributor

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“Doctor Who has fallen into a black hole!”

“Doctor Who ratings are at an all time low!”

“Doctor Who sucks! Moffat ruined the show!”

Over the last few months there have been a great number of people and articles taking about how Doctor Who has greatly fallen in quality and viewers, so I decided to take a look into it. Ratings for the show can be difficult to find unless you know where to look. Thankfully I’ve been able to find a few good sources and full sets of numbers. I’m going to limit this analysis to New Who, since Classic Who would take nearly forever to work out and talk about.

One of the biggest reasons people believe the show is dropping drastically is because often newspapers, news sites, or blogging sites will report the overnight ratings. These ratings are the initial numbers that are calculated to see how many people watched the show at the time of airing, but are often inaccurate by up to a few million. The more accurate ratings, the BARB final ratings, take longer to calculate and thus are rarely actually reported. The final BARB ratings always boost the numbers up but even then they don’t take into account other views – both overseas, illegal, and BBC iPlayer views, which in the latest series have added up to 2 million more views to each episode.

Another thing I’ve looked at is the Appreciation Index. The quality of Doctor Who cannot be defined simply by the number of viewers but also by how much they enjoyed it. The AI does so with a score out of 100 and the average AI rating is 82 (as of June 2011) for BBC programmes.

For the purposes of this article, I’ve drawn up several graphs showing the viewing figures and AI of each individual episode, then each series’ average of those two categories, a final overview of Russell T Davies’ and Moffat’s eras, then a look at RTD and Moffat’s own penned episodes. I can only apologise for the length, but it is certainly a needed thing if you want to know your facts.