Ratings Low for Time-Shifted 'Doctor Who' Festive Special

BBC Studios
'Doctor Who'

Showing on New Year's Day instead of Christmas Day, Jodie Whittaker's first festive special landed 5.15 million overnight viewers in the U.K., the lowest level for the annual 'Doctor Who' event since 2005.

The move of Doctor Who's festive season special from Christmas Day to New Year's Day hasn't quite proved to be a ratings smash.

"Doctor Who: Resolution," the first seasonal special starring Jodie Whittaker as the series' famed Time Lord, saw the return of the show's old foe, the Daleks, in an origin story that managed to reference Netflix and even poke fun at U.K.'s ongoing Brexit woes (the Doctor tries to call on the cross-border Unified Intelligence Taskforce but finds that Britain isn't a member, having fallen out with its international partners).

But its overnight viewings in the U.K. were anything but stellar, with 5.15 million tuning in on the BBC, a 22.4 percent share, according to reports, half a million less than Idris Elba's return as Luther the same evening. The figure — which is before consolidated views have been included — marks the lowest for any Doctor Who festive special since the series returned in its modern form in 2005, and also Whittaker's second-worst episode this season. By contrast, David Tennant's first special landed 9.4 million overnight views, Matt Smith's 10.3 million and Peter Capaldi's 6.3 million. However, these were all broadcast Christmas Day.

"Voyage of the Damned" (2007), starring Tennant and Kylie Minogue, earned 12.2 million overnights, the most for any Christmas stand-alone.

Whittaker, the first female Doctor Who, is due to return for at least one more season of the iconic show, which is set to be filmed this year and will land in 2020.