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Doctor Who's Power Of The Doctor Special Hits A Whopping 4 Million Viewers

The ratings for "Doctor Who" haven't been doing that well lately. According to Express, the 2022 New Years' Day special "Eve of the Daleks" brought in just 3.4 million viewers, down from the debut of Jodie Whittaker's Doctor, which brought in 9 million. Of course, a number of factors could have contributed to that, including the shortened Season 13 following the COVID-19 pandemic and the show's move to Sundays, which is a tougher time slot (per Radio Times). However, none of that has stopped speculation that the return of the original showrunner for the 2005 revival, Russell T. Davies, reported in September 2021 by Deadline, is because of a ratings slump.

Ever since the announcement of Davies' return, multiple outlets have heralded him as a savior or an attempt at one anyway. Radio Times ran the headline "Russell T Davies can save Doctor Who all over again," while Screen Rant ran the seemingly contradictory headline "Russell T. Davies Alone Can't Fix The BBC's Biggest Doctor Who Problem." Few have challenged the idea that Davies is being brought back in to save the show, and even fewer have challenged the idea that the show even requires saving.

For his part, Davies has said nothing in his interviews about being brought back to "save" the show. In an interview with Radio Times, Davies attributed his return to never really getting over the show. "The truth of it is, everyone lies when they leave Doctor Who and says 'Oh, I've moved on! — I've been thinking about it since I was three, so there's no way you stop thinking about it," Davies explained.

Now, with the debut of "The Power of the Doctor," the celebration of the BBC's Centenary and Jodie Whittaker's final episode, the ratings have seen a slight rebound.

The Power of the Doctor brought in 4 million viewers

According to The Daily Mail, the 13th Doctor's big send off in "The Power of the Doctor" brought in 4 million viewers, which is a bit of an improvement over the low ratings of "Eve of the Daleks" but still a huge drop from the 9 million viewers at the beginning of Jodie Whittaker's era. And while much of the chatter around the episode may still be dedicated to the surprise reveal at the end of the episode, viewers didn't know about that coming into it.

Exiting executive producer Matt Strevens told Doctor Who Magazine that he was never concerned about the viewing figures, calling them "healthy for any drama." Strevens went on to say, "What's fascinating to me is the way Doctor Who viewing figures are obsessed over, unlike many other shows on TV. And that's fine, because I think it's a testament to the fact that people are still always keen to read about Doctor Who. So that's probably a positive thing." However, according to Twitter user @scribblesscript, Strevens said at the Gallifrey One fan convention in 2022 that he was not sure if "Doctor Who" would be renewed following Whittaker's departure and he was relieved to find out Whittaker would be allowed to regenerate.