On November 24, Doctor Who had his 50th anniversary with the episode Day of the Doctor. The show was broadcast simultaneously world-wide, and in his native England he did very well in the ratings, with over 10 million people tuning in to watch him. However, it was not the top rated show that night. Strictly Come Dancing, a reality TV contest, was.
At the same time, Doctor Who got great ratings in America, and theatrically his 50th anniversary show did strong business as well. In fact, when the episode played in theaters, it sold out in 11 American cities. According to a report in Wired, at some theaters it did better business than the Hunger Games, with a $7,155 per screen average. (Catching fFire had a $2,623.) The Doctor Who episode played in 660 theaters, and made $4.7 million with 320,000 tickets sold.
Variety tells us that the show had record ratings for BBC America, “about eight times bigger than its most popular show of the previous week,” which was Star Trek: Next Generation. And like a lot of shows these days, Doctor Who got a nice boost from DVR, gaining over two million viewers to add to its ratings total.
So indeed, as Matt Smith has marveled, the Doctor Who audience keeps growing, and it is an amazing phenomenon for several reasons. One, he seems to keep growing bigger in America, and this very British show continues to crossover very well to American audiences. It’s also remarkable that people paid money to see a TV episode theatrically when they could see it at home for free. So happy birthday good Doctor, hope you find your strong fanbase to be the greatest gift of all.