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The First Female ‘Doctor Who’ Debuted to the Most Viewers In a Decade

Just a theory, but maybe representation is a recipe for success? Jodie Whittaker, the first female Doctor Who, debuted last night on the BBC to an average of 8.2 million viewers, the highest debut for a Doctor in 10 years.

Compared with past Doctors, Whittaker’s funny, soulful edition of the character dominated. She beat Peter Capaldi’s 6.8 million viewers, Matt Smith’s 7.7 million viewers and David Tennant’s 8 million viewers. Whittaker’s Doctor Who also peaked at 9 million viewers and an audience share of 40.1 percent. That’s a huge deal.

Doctor Who is now one of the biggest shows of the year in Britain. The major new British drama Bodyguard “only” managed 6.7 million in its debut, and that was considered one of BBC One’s staples for 2018. (h/t The Guardian)

So what’s the takeaway here? People like something different, people like freshness, and people will still turn out to a beloved program even if its surface-level presentation is against “tradition” for the series. Whittaker’s debut was well-reviewed, too, so when quality meets innovation, it’s a recipe for success on TV.

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Doctor Who airs Sunday nights on BBC One. Whittaker has nine more episodes as the Doctor, and we’re not just hoping for more greatness. We’re predicting it, too.

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