Overnight viewing figures gave 'Partners In Crime' an average of 8.4 million, or 39% of the audience, from 6.20pm on BBC One, in the wake of widespread criticism over the early scheduling from not only the show's fans, but also showrunner Russell T Davies and star David Tennant.
The 50-minute episode was the most watched programme on Saturday, bolstered by generally poor British weather, and gained the highest overnight figure for the season premiere of Doctor Who since 'Rose' in 2005.
An extended You've Been Framed, on ITV1 at the same time on Saturday, managed only 4.7m.
There was ratings success throughout the day for BBC One thanks to coverage of the Grand National, which peaked at 10.1m viewers for the race, I'd Do Anything drawing 6.8m and 7.1m tuning in for Casualty.
> Click here for our review of 'Partners In Crime'