The “Doctor Who” Season 8 premiere was definitely watched by plenty of fans. According to Deadline, the British show was watched by 6.79 million viewers in the UK. While the numbers are impressive, this isn’t necessarily the highest debut for the show -- but it is the lowest debut of a new doctor, played by Peter Capaldi.
“Doctor Who” airs on BBC One in the UK. The network received its highest overnight ratings for the sci-fi drama in 2005 with the Season 1 premiere. The first episode brought in 9.9 million viewers, with its final numbers hitting 10.81 million. Christopher Eccleston and Billie Piper starred in the first season of “Doctor Who” since it’s 1989 cancellation, and although the ratings aren’t quite the same now, they’ve managed to keep a respectable number of viewers.
However, Peter Capaldi’s debut as the Twelfth Doctor also fell short of both David Tennant's Season 2 and Matt Smith’s Season 5 debuts. Smith’s first episode in 2010 had 8 million viewers overnight and 10.08 million for final ratings, and Smith's numbers were almost identical to his predecessor Tennant's ratings in 2005. Capaldi’s debut numbers are also likely to go up when the final ratings come in, but he probably won’t hit 10 million viewers.
While Capaldi’s Doctor debut numbers are down from the past, the Season 8 premiere is up from where last season ended. Not including the anniversary and Christmas specials, the last normal episode of Season 7 brought in 5.5 million overnight and about 7.5 million final.
Don’t expect the same numbers from the US though. While “Doctor Who” is a hit by BBC America standards, it isn’t bringing in HBO ratings. Last year, the series broke a ratings record for the cable network with 3.6 million viewers watching the 50th anniversary special. US ratings are not yet available for the Season 8 premiere.
“Doctor Who” Season 8 airs Saturdays at 8 p.m. EDT on BBC America. Did you tune in for the Season 8 premiere? Let us know in the comments section below!