The final audience figures are in for Week Four of Doctor Who. And it’s all looking good. The overnights don’t tell the whole story.
For the record –
1. The Eleventh Hour – 10.08 million (overnights 8.0)
2. The Beast Below – 8.42 million (overninghts 6.7)
3. Victory of the Daleks – 7.82 million (overnights 6.2)
4. The Time of Angels – 8.59 million (overnights 6.8)
Just for comparison, here’s how it stacks up agin Season 4.
1. Partners in Crime – 9.14 million
2. The Fires of Pompeii – 9.04 million
3. Planet of the Ood – 7.50 million
4. The Sontaran Stratagem – 7.06 million
And so far as I can see, not only does that show that Doctor Who’s done it again and the nation has taken to Matt with ease… but it’s pretty damn definite now that the tyranny of the Overnights is almost at an end. At least, provided television executives are willing to wait ten days or so for the final result.
It’s bloody incredible, isn’t it? Nearly an hour earlier in the evening, in a time slot that traditionally doesn’t tip over six million… never the same time twice… and it actually builds an audience, week on week.
It’s a miracle, our little show. It really is.
It’s also evidence (in my eyes, anyway) that the culture of television viewing in this country has changed irrevocably in barely two years. People are now watching tv when they want, as opposed to when the schedulers want. Is it a good thing? I’m not sure, I rather like appointment television. And I’ll still shift heaven and earth to make sure I’m on the sofa for the first screening of Doctor Who. But I’m hoping this is definitive proof that a show’s first performance is not the end of the story. Which might – please god – mean that the next promising new show out of the traps doesn’t get strangled within weeks.