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Doctor Who's third 60th anniversary special is down in live viewership numbers versus previous two

Bringing David Tennant back has had a strong effect on viewers.

Doctor Who: The Giggle
Image credit: BBC

The TV ratings for Doctor Who: The Giggle, the third 60th anniversary special, are out, and it seems like David Tennant's return has been a win for BBC over three weeks.

It all started with The Star Beast's remarkable debut on November 25 and kept going with Wild Blue Yonder on December 2. Fans and casual viewers alike have responded well to the specials spearheaded by David Tennant and Catherine Tate as the Fourteenth Doctor and Donna Noble respectively. The Giggle, which premiered on December 9, also marked the big introduction of Ncuti Gatwa's Fifteenth Doctor with a twist.

Wondering about the viewership data? Well, the return of the Toymaker had an average audience in the UK of 4.62 million overnight. These numbers, according to TV Zone, made Doctor Who's third special "the 3rd most-watched programme of the day across all channels, behind Strictly Come Dancing and I'm A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here." Mind you, this figure only includes the UK viewers and does not include BBC iPlayer's numbers. As for the Disney+ data, we're still waiting for it, but past episodes managed to crack the top 5 over their respective weekends in most countries where the service is available.

If you want some relevant comparisons, The Star Beast had an overnight viewership of 5.08 million on average, later consolidating to 7.6 million with the added iPlayer and catch-up numbers. As for the second special, Wild Blue Yonder, it had an overnight viewership of 4.83 million on average. The slightly colder (though still 100% positive) reviews probably had an effect on the most immediate viewership of that one. While The Giggle was better-received by critics and fans alike, it's also continued the downward trend that usually comes after remarkable debuts. All in all, Doctor Who appears to be far from dead despite some online groups' predictable tantrums.


On top of the three aforementioned specials, BBC's Whoniverse has dropped a celebratory six-part series (available exclusively on the BBC iPlayer) titled Tales of the TARDIS. If you're looking to get into the massive, decades-long series, you'll need the help of our complete watch-in-order and streaming guides to avoid getting lost.

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