'Doctor Who' U.K. Ratings Rise Ahead of Simon Cowell Clash

Adrian Rogers, BBC/BBC Worldwide

The BBC sci-fi evergreen was Saturday's second-most-watched show in Britain behind 'X Factor'

ITV's The X Factor, with Simon Cowell among the judges, was Saturday's most watched show in Britain, ahead of BBC sci-fi hit Doctor Who.

But the latter improved its viewership over the previous week, while The X Factor lost some ratings steam ahead of a full-on clash between the shows starting next week. The return of Cowell had boosted the season launch ratings for the show a few weeks ago.

Doctor Who, starring Peter Capaldi, drew an average audience of 4.92 million on Saturday, up 110,000 from the previous week, according to ratings consultancy Attentional.

The X Factor, which started at 8 p.m. and overlapped partially with Doctor Who, drew 8.57 million viewers, 260,000 down from last year's equivalent episode and down 300,000 from the previous week.

The BBC revealed this week that to accommodate the 12th season of Strictly Come Dancing, known as Dancing With the Stars in the U.S., starting Sept. 27, Doctor Who would be bumped to a later Saturday time slot of 8.30 p.m., the show’s latest in its history. The switch means Who will start at a time when X Factor is also on the air instead of kicking off without such competition.

The Doctor Who season debut that saw Capaldi taking over the lead role drew 6.8 million viewers in the U.K., but the show's audience has since slipped to below 5 million.‎

X Factor lost out to the recent Strictly season debut in the ratings showdown.

Email: Georg.Szalai@THR.com
Twitter: @georgszalai