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'Doctor Who' viewership plummets after woke star tells viewers, 'Don't watch. Turn off the TV.'
Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images

'Doctor Who' viewership plummets after woke star tells viewers, 'Don't watch. Turn off the TV.'

The beloved British series "Doctor Who" did not live up to ratings expectations after its star told viewers not to watch if they had a problem with the progressive messaging of the show. Its cast, former lead, and director have been promoting progressive ideologies recently, while the show's viewership has been cut nearly in half.

Lead actor and Doctor Who character Ncuti Gatwa already had the second-worst premiere for a season of "Doctor Who" in December 2023's Christmas special titled, "The Church on Ruby Road." According to the BBC, the episode had 4.7 million viewers.

As That Park Place noted, however, this only beat out the original "Doctor Who" premiere, "An Unearthly Child," that aired all the way back in 1963 to the tune of 4.4 million viewers. That same season saw a significant increase in viewership as it progressed, peaking at over 10 million viewers by episode 10.

The same upward trajectory cannot be said for Gatwa's iteration, who famously told critics not to watch if they didn't like the woke direction the series was taking.

"Don't watch. Turn off the TV. Go and touch grass, please, for God's sake," he told Variety. "As the world darkens — and I do think the world is darkening around queer rights — there is a joy and a celebration, and there’s a community," he continued.

"I am beginning to worry about where we are in society — there is a hero out there cutting his way through the universe, looking damn good in his suits and doing it with a laugh and a smile," Gatwa added.

This, coupled with writer and executive producer Russell T. Davies insisting that he attempts to curtail "homophobia and transphobia" by presenting these themes to youth, did not yield positive results.

Gatwa's episode, "Space Babies," along with episode two, "The Devil's Chord" significantly dropped off, losing almost half its viewership with just 2.6 million and 2.4 million viewers, respectively.

"F*** off, and let people be!"

The viewership pales in comparison to previous seasons, also. Ratings website Doctor Who TV showed that in 2023 (a year that only saw special episodes), Gatwa's Christmas special had below average viewership when compared to the other shows.

2021-2022 regular episodes averaged 3.83 million viewers, while 2020-2021 episodes saw an audience average of 4.11 million. Going even further back, 2018-2019 averaged 6.2 million while 2017 garnered 3.78 million viewers on average.

Only a single episode from 2017 ("The Eaters of Light" — 2.89M) even comes close to sinking as low as Gatwa's ratings in terms of viewership in the last seven to eight years.

Press for "Doctor Who" has predominantly been around gender and transgenderism, with previous lead actor David Tennant telling critics to "F*** off, and let people be!"

He described criticisms of the beliefs as "weaponization" that has been taken up by "mostly the right wing or a certain section of society trying to create friction and conflict and division where it needn't be."

He also claimed transgenderism is "just about people being themselves," and those who disagree with it "don't need to be bothered by it."

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Andrew Chapados

Andrew Chapados

Andrew Chapados is a writer focusing on sports, culture, entertainment, gaming, and U.S. politics. The podcaster and former radio-broadcaster also served in the Canadian Armed Forces, which he confirms actually does exist.
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