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'Doctor Who' Lead Revelation Draws Ratings in U.S., Canada, Australia

Peter Capaldi - P 2013
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Peter Capaldi, the next Doctor Who

BBC Worldwide, the commercial arm of U.K. public broadcaster BBC, says more than 1.5 million people tuned in for the show on two continents.

LONDON -- More than 1.5 million U.S., Canadian and Australian fans of BBC sci-fi hit Doctor Who watched the revelation of Peter Capaldi as the show's new lead actor live or nearly live, according to ratings data announced by BBC Worldwide.

Australian fans tuned in at 4 a.m. local time, while Canadians and Americans caught the special from U.K. public broadcaster BBC last Sunday afternoon.

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In the U.S., BBC America drew 895,000 total viewers for the 30-minute special that aired at 2 p.m. ET. BBC Worldwide, the BBC's commercial arm, said that made it "the best telecast ever outside of primetime among the 25-54 demographic -- sitting only behind the royal wedding as the best nonprime telecast ever on the channel."

The Doctor Who reveal was also the most talked about nonsports TV program of Sunday in the U.S., according to the company. Among other things, Twitter activity around the special was double the sci-fi series' season average for BBC America. Beyond tweets, fans created three million Doctor Who-related reblogs on the day of the show.

In Canada, the Doctor Who special aired on cable network Space and drew an audience of 412,000 at its peak. That made the channel the number one network for the 18-54 demographic during that time.

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In Australia, more than 200,000 people watched the show on ABC 1 and ABC 2, with about 40,000 tuning in live, while the rest watched it later in the day.

Earlier in the week, the BBC said that in the U.K., its live special that confirmed Scottish actor Capaldi as the 12th time lord attracted an average audience of 6.1 million people and a five-minute peak viewership of 6.9 million.

Twitter U.K. said that there were more than 1 million mentions of the Doctor Who casting news over the course of Sunday.

BBC Worldwide has sold Doctor Who to more than 200 territories worldwide. The show is the longest running sci-fi series of all time and celebrates its 50th anniversary this fall.

E-mail: Georg.Szalai@THR.com
Twitter: @georgszalai