BBC Says They Have No Plans To Rest Doctor Who Despite Low Ratings

Doctor Who

Doctor Who season 12 has been even more popular with fans than season 11, but the ratings have continued to take a big hit. Jodie Whittaker’s debut run in 2018 kicked off with some of the highest ratings of the show in a decade, but they steadily slipped throughout the season. Even 2019’s Dalek-starring New Year’s special did nothing to halt the downward turn. Season 12, then, has been consistently hitting some of the lowest figures of the revived era.

In light of this ratings slump, Controller of BBC Drama Piers Wenger was asked if he would consider resting Doctor Who during a BBC event held in London this Monday. In response, Wenger came to the series’ defense in a big way. First of all, from the perspective as a former producer (Wenger was an EP from 2009-11), he maintained that it’s never been in “better health” behind the scenes.

“I worked on Doctor Who myself and produced it for many years and I can honestly say I don’t think it’s been in better health editorially. The production values have never been better. It’s also not just funded by the BBC, it’s funded by lots of international partners.

What’s more, Wenger pressed that the show remains “incredibly important” as a piece of entertainment that brings families together. In what will come as a relief to Whovians everywhere, he also made clear that the BBC has absolutely no plans to put Doctor Who on hiatus anytime soon.

“It’s an incredibly important show for young audiences, it’s still watched by families in a world where there are fewer shows that have the power to do that. It will always be an important show for us and we’re a very long way from wanting to rest it.”

Though the ratings dive isn’t anything to celebrate and is no doubt a source of frustration for the BBC, Doctor Who remains one of their most profitable shows thanks to its huge brand awareness across the globe. For most TV series, falling viewing figures would be deadly, but Who is essentially too big to kill off right now. The original run lasted for 26 years before being axed. At present, the modern show has been going 15 years. And Wenger’s comments suggest it could easily match the classic series, if not outlive it.

Doctor Who season 12 reaches its climax this Sunday on BBC One/America.