Doctor Who Season 12 Ratings Continue To Plunge With Second Episode


Despite premiering to positive reviews that noted a huge step-up from the previous season, Jodie Whittaker’s first outing in her second run of Doctor Who also marked one of the lowest viewing figures in the show’s history.

“Spyfall” took advantage of the conventional two-parter format in a shocking narrative that saw the return of one of the Doctor’s oldest enemies. These debut episodes were also bold in pushing the series forward by introducing a huge twist to the lore and parting way with in-world organizations like UNIT and Torchwood. While a lot of fans aren’t exactly happy with these decisions, the overall consensus seems to be positive and welcoming of change.

And yet, audience figures continue to plummet, with the second episode bringing in only 4.6 million viewers, which is a significant 300K drop from the first part with 4.9 million viewers. We’re in dangerous territory now, as the current average audience figure for season 12 is 4.78 million, setting Chris Chibnall’s second year as the second-worst in the show’s 57-year history. The first spot belongs to the 7th Doctor’s 1989 run with 4.15 million viewers. And needless to say, things didn’t turn out well for the series back then.

In perspective, this is not a good sign for the sci-fi show. Back in David Tennant and Russel T. Davies’ run, Who was scoring 7-8 million viewers, which continued with Moffat’s tenure as showrunner and Matt Smith’s brilliant performance as the Doctor. But things slowly started to fall apart with Peter Capaldi’s Twelfth Doctor, whose last season pulled in an average of 5.45 million viewers.

Jodie Whittaker was the first female Doctor to take on the mantle of the Time Lord after Capaldi’s departure in 2017, and her debut episode, “The Woman Who Fell to Earth,” had a total of 10.96 million viewers, setting the record for the highest audience figures for a season premiere. After that, however, the show slowly plummeted with each episode.

Some think that criticisms aimed at Chris Chibnall’s scriptwriting skills or SJW agenda are a contributing factor to the loss of audience participation, while Jodie herself is of the opinion that the show can’t please everyone. Ultimately, though, we’ll simply have to wait and see how Doctor Who continues to fare with its 12th series through this Winter season.