Doctor Who has been through many incarnations in its 51-year history but none quite so late as 8.30pm, where the show will move later this month in the latest twist in the Saturday night ratings war with ITV.
This is a whole one hour later than the previous four installments and just half an hour before the watershed (it will finish around 9.15pm).
The time-travelling show, which made its eagerly anticipated return last month with Peter Capaldi in the lead role, has been moved to a later time to accommodate the new series of Strictly Come Dancing.
Because “reality shows” are SO MUCH Better than quality TV. Bread and Circuses anyone?
But it remains to be seen how the move, due on 27 September, will be seen by younger Whovians and their parents, with the show not finishing until 9.15pm in its new slot. Doctor Who will now be head to head with The X Factor.
If I was a Cynical American I would think the network was TRYING to kill the show and then blame it on “ratings”.
Oops, I am one! 🙂
The show’s overnight audience may benefit by following the big-rating Strictly Come Dancing. Doctor Who had fewer than 5 million viewers last Saturday, down from nearly 7 million for Capaldi’s debut on 23 August.
The BBC said it had always been the intention to move Doctor Who to a later slot when Strictly Come Dancing returned.
Doctor Who has traditionally kicked off in the spring since its successful relaunch in 2005, largely avoiding a clash with Strictly, BBC1’s biggest show, but this year it was switched to the autumn for Capaldi’s entrance as the 12th doctor.
When it began in 1963, with William Hartnell in the lead role, Doctor Who aired at 5.15pm to attract a teatime family audience.
The new chair of the BBC Trust, Rona Fairhead, told MPs in her pre-appointment hearing earlier this month that she would watch the show while eating her tea before going to bed and waking up again to watch Match of the Day.
In its new slot she would barely have time to close her eyes before the football kicks off.
The switch, which was revealed on Wednesday when the BBC published its latest draft schedules, means Strictly Come Dancing will air from 7pm until 8.30pm, a 30-minute overlap with its long-time ITV rival, Simon Cowell’s The X Factor.
Cowell accused the BBC of trying to “damage” The X Factor when the BBC moved the Strictly Come Dancing launch show to Sunday night for the first time earlier this month.
A BBC insider said Doctor Who was following the pattern of other Saturday night BBC1 dramas, including Atlantis and Merlin, which both moved later to make way for Strictly Come Dancing.
And got cancelled!
“Viewing levels are still high at that time amongst young audiences and children, and Doctor Who has always generated very high levels of recorded playback and iPlayer viewing so lots of children and families already choose a time that suits them over the days that follow,” they added. (Guardian)
So are they?
The first ever series of Doctor Who back in 1963 was shown at 5:15pm and was aimed squarely at a school-aged audience. When it returned in its re-imagined form in 2005, it was in a 7pm slot, and recently-departed Doctor Matt Smith’s last series began at 7:20pm.
Doctor Who has a hardcore audience who will find it regardless of when released. But, without wanting to sound like Helen Lovejoy from The Simpsons, won’t somebody think of the children?
If this trend continues, then it may mean that younger viewers won’t get to enjoy the time and space traveling antics of the Doctor and Clara.
This late air time may exclude the curious and new younger viewers. Younger viewers who may very well grow up to be a future Peter Capaldi or Steven Moffat (Doctor Who’s current showrunner). (Metro)
Or am I too cynical? Or do I just have an unreasonable hatred for Dancing shows? We’ll see… 🙂