Various media outlets have picked up on the ratings achieved by the two-part series six opener, which saw Matt Smith and Karen Gillan return to their roles as The Doctor and Amy Pond. However, official ratings released by Barb show that episode one, 'The Impossible Astronaut', was watched by 8.86 million viewers (43.3%) - up two million on the widely-reported overnight figures.
Similar attention was given to the overnight rating achieved by episode two, 'Day of the Moon', which was seen by 5.39m (30.5%). Official figures, which are likely to show another large increase, will be released early next week.
Speaking to Digital Spy, Dan McGolpin, Head of Planning and Scheduling for BBC One, said: "Doctor Who is a key part of BBC One's Saturday night schedule and this series got off to a great start with the opening episode achieving a 37% share of live viewing - more than any episode in the previous series.
"However, overnight ratings are only one part of the story for shows like Doctor Who and once you take into account catch-up viewing, the total audience for episode one is now around 9 million, representing a 43% share of the audience. BBC iPlayer figures will take this even higher - last year's opening episode was the most watched show on this platform, being streamed over 2.2m times."
While fans have remained critical of the 6pm start time given to the first two episodes of series six, schedules show that episode three 'The Curse of the Black Spot' will be broadcast at 6.15pm, while episode four, 'The Doctor's Wife' - written by Neil Gaiman - will be shown at 6.30pm.
"Like last year, this series of Doctor Who is scheduled at start times between 6pm and 7pm on a Saturday night, where it attracts a very strong audience including a large proportion of younger viewers," McGolpin added. "Very few drama series on any of the UK's channels achieve audience volumes of this size."
Doctor Who continues on Saturday at 6.15pm on BBC One.
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