Several reports have come in about the ratings for the Children in Need broadcast, and specifically about the Doctor Who portion of the evening.
ViewingFigures, traditionally first with the overnight ratings, show anywhere from 8.6 to 9.6 million viewers in the time slot of 9:00pm to 9:20pm, broken down every five minutes: 9.6m, 9.34m, 9.07m, 8.66m for each five-minute period starting with 9:00-9:05pm; as well as audience shares of 45.1%, 44.0%, 42.8% and 41.0% respectively. It is important to note that the transmission of the special during that time was staggered, i.e. it did not take place simultaneously everywhere in the UK, insofar as that in several locations (including at least Scotland and Wales) local programming delayed its start by several minutes. However, the 9:15-9:20pm drop of nearly half a million viewers is very likely indicative that many people were tuned into the broadcast specifically for the Doctor Who content and left as soon as it was over.
The Broadcasters Audience Research Board (BARB), which usually publishes final ratings several weeks after the fact, apparently now has its own version of overnight ratings, shared with broadcasters. According to BARB, the overnights suggest that 10.7 million viewers were tuned into BBC1 for the broadcast from 9:00-9:15pm (with a 45.1% audience share). BARB has traditionally included time-shifted and/or video-taped viewers in their final ratings data; it could very well be similar now for its overnight broadcasts.
According to Media Guardian, the telethon "attracted a big audience on Friday night, with a peak of more than 11 million viewers. The 26th annual Children in Need was watched by 9 million viewers and attracted a 39% audience share between 7pm and 10pm, according to unofficial overnights. Peak ratings for the show came between 9.45pm and 10pm, with 11.1 million viewers and a 48% audience share, when Rod Stewart was performing. The ratings were slightly higher than for last year's Children in Need, which attracted 8.4 million viewers and a 37% audience share. However, in 2003, the charity evening drew 10.3 million viewers and a 42% audience share to BBC1 in late November. BBC1's 10 O'Clock News also got its annual boost from Children in Need, watched by 9.5 million viewers and attracting a 44% audience share. After the news, the charity marathon continued, with 5.6 million viewers and a 48% audience share between 10.35pm and 1am."
We should have final ratings for the quarter hour when they are released later by BARB.