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article imageDoctor Who: The Day of the Doctor breaks record after record

By Mathew Wace Peck     Dec 3, 2013 in Entertainment
The “Doctor Who” 50th-anniversary special, which was broadcast on TV, in cinemas and via the Internet around the world last month, has broken a number of industry records, it has emerged.
In the UK, The Day of the Doctor — which opened with the original iconic 1963 theme tune (see video above) and starred four of the show’s Doctors: Matt Smith, David Tennant, John Hurt and Tom Baker — achieved consolidated viewing figures of 12.8 million. Overnight viewing figures had been recorded at 10.2 million; the jump to 12.8 million viewers making it the “highest ever time-shift recorded for the programme,” Doctor Who News details.
Clearly thrilled by its success at home, the BBC Drama Controller, Ben Stephenson said yesterday, “The Doctor Who 50th was a hugely ambitious event on the BBC and it’s only fitting that it has taken the top spot as the highest-rating drama across all channels this year. It’s a fantastic tribute to both Steven Moffat and the creativity of all those involved in the show throughout its history.”
In the US, according to the Guardian, official viewing figures for the 75-minute feature average at 2.4 million viewers, making it “the biggest-ever audience on the BBC’s US cable channel, BBC America.” As the paper adds, “This was despite being aired at 2.50 p.m. on the US east coast (11.50 a.m. in California) well outside of a primetime evening viewing slot. A primetime repeat attracted a further 1.2 million viewers.”
The early showing of The Day of the Doctor in the US was necessitated by the fact that for Doctor Who ’s 50th anniversary, BBC Worldwide had organised for the special to be simulcast in 94 countries, to coincide with the UK broadcast on BBC One at 7.50 p.m.
Guinness World Record-breaker
That in itself broke a Guinness World Record, as already reported by Digital Journal, the broadcast “officially named the world's largest-ever simulcast of a TV drama.”
And the record-breaking doesn’t end there. BBC Worldwide also organised cinema screenings of The Day of the Doctor, with 15 countries taking part.
Amanda Hill, who is the chief brands officer for BBC Worldwide, explained the idea behind the cinema experience:
We organised the global cinema events to give the fans an opportunity to get together and enjoy a unique moment in Doctor Who history as one. It also gave those same fans who didn’t have 3D TVs [at home] a chance to see the special in its biggest and most amazing form. We had no idea that there would be such a demand at the global box office. This demonstrates how huge the show remains in the UK and how far it’s come internationally over the last few years.
At the UK box office alone, revenues from it came to £1.8 million ($2.91 million) in its first three days, ranking it in the Top 3 for that weekend, after Harrison Ford’s film The Hunger Games: Catching Fire and Sandra Bullock’s Gravity.
In the US, The Day of the Doctor took $4.7 million (£2.9 million) at the box office on one night alone — Monday, November 25. With 320,000 tickets sold, it was the second biggest film of the day after Hunger Games.
However, as the Guardian makes clear, when taking the average-revenue-per-screen data into account, Doctor Who becomes “Number One in the US on Monday, with 650 cinemas airing the 75-minute anniversary edition for an average of $7,155. Hunger Games, on much wider release in 4,163 cinemas, made $2,623 per screen on average.”
Other countries hosting cinema screenings of The Day of the Doctor included Brazil, Canada, Ecuador, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, Russia, Spain and Sweden.
Doctor Who Down Under
In Australia, meanwhile, more than 70,000 people attended the cinema to watch Doctor Who on Sunday, November 24.
The Day of the Doctor has also earned Doctor Who yet another Twitter record: “the most tweets for a drama ever, with 442,692 messages,” Digital Spy reports. “During the opening moments of the episode, tweets peaked at 12,939 messages a minute.”
iPlay Doctor Who
On iPlayer, other high-rated requests for Doctor Who programmes include: the two-hour documentary Doctor Who: An Ultimate Guide (0.69 million);
Doctor Who: The Five(ish) Doctors Reboot (2013): (l to r) Colin Baker  Sylvester McCoy and Peter Dav...
Doctor Who: The Five(ish) Doctors Reboot (2013): (l to r) Colin Baker, Sylvester McCoy and Peter Davison
the short film starring Paul McGann as the Eighth Doctor, The Night of the Doctor (0.6 million); Peter Davison’s spoof Doctor Who episode, The Five(ish) Doctors Reboot, starring Davison (Fifth Doctor) alongside his successors as the Doctor, Colin Baker (Sixth Doctor), Sylvester McCoy (Seventh Doctor) and McGann, again (0.61 million); and the Mark Gatiss-penned Doctor Who biopic, An Adventure in Space and Time, which saw David Bradley recreate the First Doctor, as originally played by William Hartnell (0.54 million).
Referring to the next installment of the half-a-century-old sci-fi series — this year’s Christmas special, The Time of the Doctor — Stephenson reminded fans (as if they needed reminding!), “Next stop, the regeneration at Christmas!”
Capaldi in Time
The Time of the Doctor marks Smith’s swan song as the Doctor, a part he has played for four years. His successor, Peter Capaldi, will make his debut as the Doctor then, too.
Speaking of Capaldi, who was unveiled live on TV in August as the Twelfth Doctor, BBC One controller Charlotte Moore said last week that she is “very excited [he is] going to be a really fantastic Doctor.”
A close up shot of a Dalek from the BBC TV series Doctor Who
A close up shot of a Dalek from the BBC TV series Doctor Who
Written by Steven Moffat, the special is directed by Jamie Payne and also stars Jenna Coleman as the Doctor’s companion, Clara Oswald. It also sees the Doctor and Clara return to the planet Trenzalore, last seen in this year’s season finale, The Name of the Doctor, and features the return of a number of familiar Doctor Who adversaries: Daleks (right), Cybermen, Weeping Angels and the Silence.
Then it’s full steam ahead to Capaldi’s first season as the Doctor. Having already filmed his first scene as the Doctor for the Christmas special, the 55-year-old Scotsman is expected to start work on his first 12 episodes in January 2014, for broadcast later in the year.
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