The Doctor Who New Year’s Day special suffered its worst ratings since the show was rebooted 17 years ago.
The episode – which starred current Time Lord Jodie Whittaker – pulled in just 3.4million viewers compared to 9million in 2018, it has been revealed.
It comes as Russell T Davies is returning as the Doctor Who showrunner in a bid to save the show amid falling ratings – 12 years after he stepped away from the series.
Oh no: The Doctor Who New Year’s Day special suffered its worst ratings since the show was rebooted 17 years ago
The special – called Eve Of The Daleks – saw the Doctor become stuck in a terrifying ‘time loop’ where she repeatedly died and came back to life.
The latest figure is for those who watched live on the day. Final ratings, including viewers on catch-up or recordings, will be released next week.
A source told The Sun: ‘Jodie’s legacy is leaving behind viewing figures that are among the worst in the show’s long history.
‘Although far more people watch programmes on catch-up, this still doesn’t make up for the decline in viewers since 2018.
Change: The episode pulled in just 3.4million viewers compared to 9million in 2018, it has been revealed
‘Plus, the BBC always saw Doctor Who as the kind of show that was ‘event TV’, bringing the whole family together at the same time. But that doesn’t seem to be happening.’
A BBC spokesperson said: ‘Doctor Who is one of the most popular shows on BBC iPlayer and has been streamed 50 million times in the past year, with 7 million streams so far for the latest series, as audiences increasingly value the option to choose when and where they watch it.’
It was reported last year that there has been a steady fall in Doctor Who viewership, which has been declining for five years.
It was said that Jodie and showrunner Chris had attracted just half the audience during their paring compared to what the Russell-led, David Tennant-fronted version of the show did.
Exciting! It comes as Russell T Davies is returning as the Doctor Who showrunner in a bid to save the show amid falling ratings – 12 years after he stepped away from the series
The Telegraph reported at the beginning of the year that episodes were drawing in fewer than 5million viewers. The paper added that such numbers are ‘not dissimilar to when the show was axed in 1989’.
In comparison, more than 10million viewers watched David Tennant’s Doctor Who finale in 2010, according to The Guardian.
However, episode Can You Hear Me? saw just 3.81 million viewers tuning in on the over-night ratings, which – according to website Cosmic Book News – was a 22% decrease since the first episode of Season 12, which aired ten months earlier.
And in figures released in March 2020, the same month the series ended, Doctor Who’s ratings slipped to its lowest since the show made a comeback in 2005.
The season finale of series 12 had a total TV audience of 4.6million, making it the lowest Doctor Who has ever had. The previous all-time low was 4.7million in 2017.
Series 12 saw an average viewership of 5.4million.
It comes after earlier this week Doctor Who producers hinted that the next Time Lord will be another woman.
Rumours: It comes after earlier this week Doctor Who producers hinted that the next Time Lord will be another woman (pictured is current star Jodie)
Production notes for the next series of the BBC’s sci-fi show suggest a female will be starring yet again as It’s A Sin’s Lydia West is widely tipped to take over, The Mirror reports.
Current Time Lord Jodie’s role comes to an end this autumn with a regeneration episode after she became the first ever female Doctor in 2017.
Entertainment industry website Production Weekly lists the new episodes as: ‘A fantasy action saga of a mysterious alien time-traveller, Doctor Who, who picks up human companions, faces evil foes with little more than her wits and a sonic screwdriver and journeys throughout time and space in a police phone booth called the TARDIS.’
Jodie herself recently called for another female doctor to take over the role.
She told Radio 1’s Vick Hope and Jordan North: ‘If we had the power to choose I’m going to pick an actress who I think is really exciting and I think would be phenomenal, an actress called Lydia West. If I had the power!’
Lydia is bookmaker Coral’s favourite to replace Jodie at 3-1 odds, while Fisayo Akinade and Omari Douglas (both 5-1) are joint second favourites and Olly Alexander comes next in the betting at 6-1.
Jodie also recently discussed her emotional last days of filming on Doctor Who.
Could it be you? Production notes for the next series of the BBC’s sci-fi show suggest a female will be starring yet again, claims The Mirror, as Lydia West (pictured) is tipped to take over
The actress told Entertainment Weekly of how she was ‘grief ridden’ when she filmed the scenes.
She filmed the final scenes for the autumn episode at the end of 2021 and said of the experience: ‘I’ve shot my version of regen[eration], and it was singularly the most emotional day on set I think I’ve ever had.’
Jodie has said previously that she is leaving the coveted role this year because she feels it needs ‘new energy’ but the star also confessed that she isn’t sure if she is making the correct decision.
Jodie then admitted to the publication that it felt strange to feel sad because she had made the decision to leave.
Iconic: Jodie has said previously that she is leaving the coveted role this year because she feels it needs ‘new energy’
She said: ‘It’s a really bizarre feeling, because it’s the best time I’ve ever had on a job, and I made the decision to leave it, so it’s a really strange thing to do to yourself.’
She went on: ‘It was a wonderfully-celebratory-slash-grief-ridden day that I could spend with the family that I’d made. I suppose the best thing about it is that the episodes are still on. So until they’re off, I don’t have to really get my head around the fact that it’s not my part!’
Before the autumn episode airs, there will be a special episode in spring 2022 called Legend of the Sea Devils.
The final episode will be part of the BBC’s centenary celebrations.
Jodie then shared that she would not be against returning to the role, and admitted that when you leave the role you don’t leave it forever.
MailOnline has contacted the BBC for comment.
Who is odds-on to replace Jodie as Doctor Who?
According to Ladbrokes.co.uk, these are the favourites to succeed Jodie into the Tardis…
OLLY ALEXANDER – 3/1
The It’s A Sin actor and Years And Years hitmaker, 30, has already said he’d love to take over the Tardis.
KRIS MARSHALL – 6/1
Kris, 47, was widely rumoured to be the 13th Doctor back in 2017 – could 2021 be the year he finally steps into the Tardis?
JODIE COMER – 10/1
The Killing Eve star, 27, who has picked up an Emmy and a BAFTA thus far, is also one of the top names.
REECE SHEARSMITH – 12/1
The League of Gentleman actor, 51, is currently an outside bet for the role.
MICHAELA COEL – 5/1
Michaela, 33, won acclaim for her BAFTA-winning role in Chewing Gum and BBC/HBO drama, I May Destroy You – making her the hot favourite.
RICHARD AYOADE – 6/1
The IT Crowd star, 43, is not far behind Michaela as he looks to add to his impressive CV.
PHOEBE WALLER-BRIDGE – 8/1
The much-decorated Fleabag and Killing Eve is among the favourites for the role.
JOHN BOYEGA – 10/1
The Star Wars actor, 28, has previously starred alongside current Time Lord Jodie in Attack the Block and branded her performance ‘brilliant.’