“Doctor Who” Season 8 may have received some low numbers for the debut of a new Doctor in the U.K., but the U.S. had the exact opposite results. Peter Capaldi’s takeover led to BBC America’s biggest season premiere with 2.6 million viewers, Entertainment Weekly reported. The Season 8 premiere still didn’t touch the record for the 50th anniversary special. “Day of the Doctor” drew in the biggest American “Doctor Who” audience ever with 3.6 million viewers.
Every year, “Doctor Who” ratings in the U.S. appear to grow. In 2012, the Season 7 premiere of “Doctor Who” broke BBC America records with 1.6 million viewers. This continued growth could be attributed to its now sharing the U.K. premiere date. In the show’s early years, fans had to wait anywhere from weeks to months for the American network to air the British import. But since Season 6 BBC America has shown the “Doctor Who” premiere in the U.S. just a few hours after BBC One has shown it in the U.K.
Still, these numbers aren’t quite as impressive as the U.K. ratings. The first Season 8 episode, titled “Deep Breath,” premiered on BBC One with 6.8 million viewers. Capaldi’s first full episode was the lowest-rated episode for the debut for a new Doctor across the pond, but it had decent numbers, as it delivered the highest-rated “Doctor Who” season premiere since 2010.
Some fans might be wondering why there is such a big difference between the U.K. and U.S. numbers. Besides the apparent fact “Doctor Who” may be taking a little while to get popular stateside, the British program is shown on the country’s most watched television station and the American version is shown on a comparatively small cable network.
The high ratings are surprising because rough cuts of the first two episodes were actually leaked online more than a month before the premiere. Apparently, plenty of fans still wanted to see the final version of “Deep Breath.”
“Doctor Who” Season 8 is shown on BBC America Saturdays at 8 p.m. EDT. Will you be tuning in for Peter Capaldi’s second episode? Sound off in the comments section below.