Doctor Who’s series return on New Year’s day attracted the worst ratings EVER – with an estimated drop of three million viewers compared to its last season
- WARNING: This article contains spoilers for Spyfall
Doctor Who Series 12 kicked off with a heart-stopping twist on New Years Day, as The Master made an epic return in an episode laden with guest stars.
But despite the dramatic storyline, the popular sci-fi series attracted the worst ratings recorded for the show under current Time Lord Jodie Whittaker.
The opening episode has seen a significant dip in ratings since the last series, which was the first to star Jodie as the first female incarnation of the Time Lord.
Series return: Doctor Who Series 12 attracted the worst ever ratings in the show’s history, despite kicking off on New Year’s Day with a heart-stopping twist
At the beginning of the previous series, the show attracted just over eight million viewers, but by episode five – The Tsuranaga Conundrum – the iconic sci-fi show received an average of 6.1 million viewers.
Wednesday’s series return reportedly attracted just over five million viewers, and at one point viewers tipped to a low of 4.88 million.
The figures are a far cry from Who’s peak, which saw 13 million viewers tune in on Christmas Day in 2007.
An insider told The Sun: ‘Beeb bosses were hoping the downturn in ratings towards the end of the last series was just the novelty of Jodie’s arrival wearing off a little.
Bad night: Despite its popularity and guest stars, the sci-fi series attracted the worst ratings ever recorded, with less than five million viewers tuning in
‘But the fact that the new season seems to have fared even worse will have them worrying whether it has less to do with who plays the Time Lord, and signs of a greater problem with the show. ‘
The insider added: ‘After all, the debut episode aired in a day when many people were still off work and school, so should have attracted a more substantial audience.’
MailOnline have contacted BBC representatives for comment.
For the second episode, Who will move back to its regular time-slot on Sunday evenings, so it remains to be seen whether the viewership will improve.
The show has always seen a large boost in viewership through catch up and streaming.
The first of a two-part episode kicked off with a major twist on New Years Day, as The Master made an epic return from the dead, now played by Sacha Dhawan.
Twist: The first of a two-part episode kicked off with a major twist on New Years Day, as The Master returned from the dead yet again with a new face
The series opener saw the TARDIS team try and track down aliens who were targeting MI6 agents, but it seemed they were coming from a threat far closer to The Doctor’s home.
After teaming up with the rogue agent O, the team chased down the tech mogul Daniel Barton (played by Lenny Henry) who seem to be involved in the otherworldly scheme.
Having chased Barton onto his private jet, it was revealed that O was in fact The Master in disguise, and the episode ended on a cliffhanger as he sent the plane crashing to the ground while the Doctor was trapped in another dimension.
Doctor Who Series 12 continues on Sunday at 7pm on BBC One.
Intense: It was revealed that the rogue MI6 agent as actually another incarnation of the villainous Time Lord, now being played by Sacha Dhawan