Even though Americans aren’t exactly looking for scripted programming on Christmas Day with parades, gift-giving and eating, they sure do like their “Doctor Who.”
BBC America had its best Christmas Day ever, bringing a little British iconic royalty to the United States with “The Snowmen,” the eighth Christmas special of the new era. More than 1.4 million people tuned in to the episode which featured non-canon “Doctor Who” veteran Richard E. Grant as well as “The Hobbit” star Ian McKellen.
That joined the more than 7.6 million who watched the special on BBC in the United Kingdom just hours earlier. After iPlayer numbers were included, the total number of viewers in Great Britain alone was just under 10 million.
“It feels exactly right to be ending the year on a ratings high with ‘Doctor Who,'” said Perry Simon, general manager of BBCA, in a release. “The show has really delivered for us this year on every level. Cinematic scale, superb acting, cracking storylines and a growing band of dedicated fans — we can’t wait for the next [season] in Spring 2013.”
In America, the Christmas special was up 54 percent over the previous year’s holiday special in total viewers, and was 60 percent higher in the key advertising demographic of adults 25 to 54. It’s second only to the Season 7 premiere of “Doctor Who” last September, which attracted 1.56 million viewers, and was the beginning of the end for Karen Gillan’s companion of Amy Pond.
But there was a “pond” mention in the Christmas special, which also featured the official introduction of new companion Jenna-Louise Coleman. The actress, who was announced last fall would be replacing Gillan and on-screen husband Arthur Darvill, actually made a surprise appearance in that premiere episode, which tied into the Christmas special.
BBCA itself is growing, becoming one of the fastest to do just that in America with availability in 80.4 million homes, up 11 percent from just 72.1 million homes last year.
“Doctor Who” returns in April with new episodes featuring Matt Smith and Coleman on BBC and BBC America.