The overnight ratings for The Doctor Dances are in. The episode was watched by an average of 6.17 million viewers with a 35.9% viewing audience share, peaking in the second quarter-hour of the episode with 6.30 million. "Doctor Who" was the most watched programme of Saturday, day or night (versus 3.2 million for the ITV showing of "X-Men" at the same time) and while the overall viewer ratings are the lowest so far, this was during a major bank holiday weekend in Britain.
Meanwhile, a report on this week's airing of Father's Day on CBC in Canada: the episode was viewed by 809,000 viewers, down due to its main competition, the season finale of "American Idol". However, "Doctor Who" continues to hold on to 8pm's number two spot on Canadian networks, while rounding out the top four for all primetime (8pm to 11pm).
An update on the Billie Piper situation. Today's "News of the World," a tabloid, reports that Piper is not leaving the series at all, and will appear in all episodes of the next series despite reports to the contrary. "The People" also reports today that Piper "is to earn ú120,000 after agreeing to star in four extra episodes of Doctor Who. The actress announced that she was quitting the show last week, and originally planned to star in just three episodes of the show's second series. However, Billie, who plays Rose Tyler, will now appear in seven episodes of the next series. 'It's great news she's on board for more,' an insider told The People." The reports on her possible departure vary widely, obviously; time will tell as to whether she stays for the entire season or leaves at some point therein.
Today's Telegraph covers the sale of the series to South Korea. "Pagishikinda! Pagishikinda! This is the blood-curdling cry of the world's first Korean-speaking Dalek. Doctor Who, the popular science fiction drama, has made history by becoming the first BBC drama series to be sold to South Korea." The series will be known in the country as "Dacter Who" and the Korean broadcaster KBS 2 will show two different episodes each week, starting with its debut next weekend, to make it easier for viewers to get to know the character. Says Russell T Davies, "The Doctor has travelled far and wide and knows no boundary and now the programme is doing much the same." Jungwon Lee, executive director of KBS Media, said: "We are very excited to launch Dr Who on the network. We anticipate a great reaction from all age groups."
Also notable about the Telegraph article is that it mentions expanded airings of the show on various airlines. Previously the series had been announced as airing on Thomsonfly Airlines, a local carrier (and only the first episode) but the Telegraph article says that the series "has also been sold to some of the world's biggest airlines including British Airways, Virgin Atlantic, Singapore Airlines and Air New Zealand who will begin broadcasting it from next month."
Last week's Dead Ringers didn't have a Doctor Who sketch proper, but did have a spoof news item on the DVD getting a PG rating for scenes of cruelty to a Dalek. They claimed the BBC had pointed out that there was a helpline number at the end of the show for Daleks who had been affected by any of the issues in the programme. The show also featured a piece on the resignation of former BBC political editor Andrew Marr (seen as himself in "Aliens of London" and "World War Three"). Marr explained that it was because he had evolved into an uber-correspondent, and would from now on exist as a being of pure energy, reporting news from throughout the universe.
BBC News illustrated a story on the revelation that space-time wormholes can't function as a stable means of achieving time-travel (apparently) with a screengrab from the new series titles, mentioning in the text that the tunnel seen in the credits of Doctor Who looks suspiciously like a wormhole, "although the Doctor's preferred method of travel is not explained in detail".
(Thanks to Steve Berry, Rod Mammitzsch, Paul Hayes, Peter Weaver, Matt Kimpton)