New Doctor Matt Smith is turn-off for Tennant fans
Latest Doctor Who series suffers Saturday night droop according to TV figures
Die-hard fans of Doctor Who appear to have deserted the BBC series in droves following the departure of David Tennant. The latest series which saw Matt Smith make his debut at the helm of the Tardis has lost 1.2 million viewers.
Smith, 27, and his new assistant Karen Gillan, 22, appear to have failed to attract the same sort of audiences which Tennant pulled in during his five years as the Doctor. Tennant's last full series, in 2008, drew an average audience of 7.2 million. According to latest TV ratings the newest series, which ended at the weekend, managed an average of only six million viewers.
Smith's first series started well, with the opening episode in March drawing around eight million viewers. By contrast Saturday's finale pulled in just 5.1 million. Media observers say they are at a loss to explain the drop, although the show did start slightly earlier than normal to accommodate the BBC's World Cup coverage of USA v Ghana. Hot temperatures over the weekend may also have played a part.
Meanwhile the BBC is insisting that viewing figures have remained consistent across the series. Many Doctor Who fans record the show or watch it online. "A large number of viewers are choosing to watch on demand throughout the week," a BBC spokesman said. "Consolidated figures show both series have so far averaged an extremely strong 7.8 million."
Even if viewing figures are down, Smith and Gillan can take some comfort in the fact that their portrayals of the Doctor and his assistant have been well-received by the critics. The Daily Telegraph's Benji Wilson awarded Smith an "A+" for his efforts while the Daily Mail's Sinclair McKay predicted that "Smith might turn out to be one of the best Time Lords of the lot". ·