'Doctor Who': Jodie Whittaker's First Outing Snares 8.2M U.K. Viewers, 40 Percent Share

BBC Studios
'Doctor Who'

The debut of the first female Doctor Who beat the openers for both Peter Capaldi and Matt Smith.

Jodie Whittaker's first outing as the time- and space-travelling lead in BBC sci-fi hit show Doctor Who hasn't just received rave reviews, but landed the best U.K. ratings for a season opener of the series in more than 10 years. 

The hourlong episode "The Woman Who Fell to Earth" amassed 8.2 million viewers on BBC One on Sunday night, beating both the 2014 start for Peter Capaldi (6.8 million) and Matt Smith's 2010 debut (8.0 million). Consolidated figures, taking into account BBC iPlayer catch-up viewing, will no doubt push the number far higher.

Although it couldn't match the 9.4 million who tuned in to see David Tennant become the Doctor in 2005, that episode was a Christmas special, which traditionally attracts a significantly bigger audience. 

The ratings meant Whittaker's first stint as the Time Lord snared a 40.1 percent share of British TV viewers in that time slot.