Doctor Who Disaster, Show Hits An All-Time Ratings Low

Can Doctor Who keep going with numbers like this?

By Charlene Badasie | Published

This article is more than 2 years old

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It’s the beginning of the end for Jodie Whittaker’s Doctor Who. The first episode of her final season as the world-famous Doctor dropped on October 31st. While fans were excited to see what the new season brings, ratings for The Halloween Apocalypse episode are at an all-time low.

With only 4.43 million viewers tuning in for the show on Sunday night, The Halloween Apocalypse now holds the record for the lowest rating of any Doctor Who season premiere episode. Comparatively, season 12’s first episode saw 4.88 million viewers tune in, while Jodie Whittaker’s first full episode back in 2018 (for season 11) drew in a whopping 8.20 million viewers. That’s almost a 50% drop since her debut as Doctor Who.

Oddly enough, the episode was pretty good, giving viewers a taste of what to expect from the serialized event that’s officially called Doctor Who: Flux. In case you missed it, showrunner Chris Chibnall decided the best way to film a season of Doctor Who during a global pandemic is to tell one epic story across a six-episode miniseries. This marks a major departure from the show’s past.

Doctor Who: The Halloween Apocalypse opens in medias res, with Yaz and the Doctor escaping an alien planet. There are a few cool new villains, along with some familiar ones. Homages were made to past episodes, and a new companion was introduced with actor and comedian Dan Lewis. The pacing is good and doesn’t let up, right through to a cliffhanger set during the end of the universe. The confusing nature of the episode was intentional, and will definitely pay off in the long run.

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With the start of Doctor Who season 13, Jodie Whittaker is officially into the final part of her run as the long-running character. She will also appear in three subsequent specials as the 13th Doctor. Meanwhile, Chris Chibnall is set to step down as showrunner. He will be handing the duties back to Russell T. Davies, the architect behind the series’ massively successful 2005 revival.

Broadcast by BBC One since 1963, Doctor Who follows the adventures of a Time Lord called “the Doctor”, who is an extraterrestrial being that appears to be human. The Doctor explores the universe in the TARDIS, a time-traveling space ship whose exterior looks like a blue British police box from the 1960s. With various companions, the Doctor defeats bad guys, works to save civilizations, and helps people in need.

In 2017, Jodie Whittaker became the series’ 13th Doctor and the first woman to play the role. The change was seamless because the transition from one actor to another is written into the plot of the show with the concept of regeneration. A Time Lord “transforms” into a new body when the current one is too badly harmed to heal normally. Each actor’s portrayal is unique, but all represent stages in the life of the same character, and together, they form a single lifetime with a single narrative. Doctor Who season 13 premiered on BBC and BBC America on October 31st.