So why are audiences for “Doctor Who” smaller with Matt Smith than David Tennant?
That’s a good question, especially since viewership numbers are in for the recently aired season finale on BBC One. Not only were only 5.2 million viewers tuned in to see how Steven Moffat wrapped his first season at the helm, but it was about 600,000 fewer viewers than the previous week.
The Sun blamed the audience drop on, well, the sun. It was a warm summer weekend in the United Kingdom, and many people likely decided to sit outside and enjoy the good weather rather than sit inside in front of the boob tube.
At the same time, however, the tabloid said some fans found the season finale — which we won’t spoil here because American audiences are not caught up yet — “too confusing,” with one saying online that it was an “incoherent mess.”
Digital Spy, however, said “Doctor Who” actually suffered from an earlier timeslot. And despite some heavy competition, “The Big Bang” was the most-watched scripted program on British television Saturday night, second only to the United States’ elimination from the World Cup.
That is well behind the more than 11 million people who, on average, tuned in to see David Tennant say good-bye for the Christmas and New Year’s specials. It’s also a good distance behind “Journey’s End,” the final regular episode of “Doctor Who” featuring Tennant that aired in 2008 to 10.57 million viewers.
Matt Smith premiered with 8 million viewers in the fifth season premiere April 3. However, overall, the Matt Smith-led “Doctor Who” didn’t finish too far behind Tennant’s final regular season in 2008. Smith averaged 7.3 million viewers, excluding the two-part season finale, while Tennant averaged a 7.7 million, excluding its two-part season finale.
“Doctor Who” continues to air episodes on BBC America, and will air its Christmas special — teased to take place on a space-faring Orient Express where an Egyptian goddess is on the loose — on Dec. 25.