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'Doctor Who' writer admits ratings are not 'the ratings we'd love' but insists young viewers love the show
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'Doctor Who' writer admits ratings are not 'the ratings we'd love' but insists young viewers love the show

Showrunner Russell T. Davies says the show is a hit with those under 30 years old.

Lead writer and showrunner for the "Doctor Who" series admitted in an interview that the ratings have not been what he had hoped but insisted that the series has a bounty of younger viewers.

Russell T. Davies has made it no secret that he has planned to push an LGBT-themed agenda through the 60-year-old franchise.

During an interview earlier in 2024, he explained that gender, race, and/or sexuality has played a part in the main character's role since the audition process. That ended up with actor Ncuti Gatwa playing the lead character, who implored viewers not to watch if they felt the activism in the show was too much.

This caused viewership to plummet further and further with additions of gay dance-club scenes and drag queen characters, finally culminating in the tired trope of a series-first man-on-man kiss.

After saying he is very proud of the show, Davies admitted the ratings have been a bit of a letdown.

"You know, they might not be the ratings we'd love. We always want higher," he reportedly told RadioTimes, per Screenrant.

"But they are building over the 28-day period," he continued. "Episode one, 'Space Babies,' is already up to 5.6 million and counting. So it is getting there. And actually, I was brought back to bring in a younger audience. That's been massively successful."

"The audience no one ever gets are the under-30s. They just don't watch television anymore. But those figures are astronomic for 'Doctor Who,' it's their top program in that bracket. I never thought it was possible, to be honest. But according to the people who juggle the numbers, all targets have been reached and exceeded. The BBC are running around like mad things."

'Homophobia and transphobia happens when it's something you've never seen before.'

Davies may have more specific ratings to champion by way of demographics, but the overall ratings have been a strong subject of discussion due to Davies' decision to heavily politicize the show.

The ratings so far in the season are as follows, as per Doctor Who TV:

  • Episode 1 – 2.6 million (overnight) / 4.01 million (seven day total)
  • Episode 2 – 2.4 million / 3.91 million
  • Episode 3 – 2.04 million / 3.58 million
  • Episode 4 – 2.62 million / 4.06 million
  • Episode 5 – 2.12 million / 3.38 million
  • Episode 6 – 2.11 million / (N/A)

Viewership has paled in comparison to previous seasons. In 2023 (a year that only saw special episodes), Gatwa's Christmas special had below-average viewership when compared to the other programs.

In 2021-2022, regular episodes averaged 3.83 million viewers, while 2020-2021 episodes saw an audience average of 4.11 million.

Only 2017's "The Eaters of Light" episode (2.89 million) even comes close to sinking as low as Gatwa's ratings in terms of viewership in recent history.

The aforementioned diversity and inclusion has been planned to be a major part of the latest season for some time, as has attempting to push the themes on children, which Davies seemed to believe he has accomplished.

Davies said in a 2023 interview that he thinks the "visibility thing" is important and that bigotry can be avoided "if you grow up seeing this stuff."

"Homophobia and transphobia happens when it's something you've never seen before," he claimed. He also stated that children can be influenced by the ideology more easily.

"You can temper that reaction and change it if you introduce these images to people happily, and normally, and calmly when they're young."

If Davies does indeed believe that the ratings from younger viewers is a landmark achievement, one might question why the writer has admitted that the show has still not been picked up beyond 2025.

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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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