Unofficial figures show that the 2007 Christmas special Voyage of the Damned was watched by 12.2 million viewers, a 50% share of the total television audience. This is the highest rating the show has achieved since its return in 2005.
The programme was the second most watched of the day, being beaten by the edition of EastEnders immediately following Doctor Who.
The audience peaked in the last fifteen minutes of the show with a massive 13.8 million watching, nearly 55% of the audience. The five minute breakdown shows that over 15 million watched the last five minutes of the programme.
The day was a triumph for the BBC, with BBC One taking nine of the top ten places. Against the Doctor, Emmerdale on ITV1 could only manage 5.8 million, with the Evening News only getting 3.8 million.
The previous highest rated episode of the new series was Rose, which got 10.8 million viewers. If confirmed these figures will make Voyage of the Damned the highest rated episode of Doctor Who in over 28 years. It has the largest audience since the 1979 Tom Baker story City of Death, which had the advantage of being broadcast when ITV was on strike and BBC1 was one of only two channels broadcasting.
In the Children's Charts, Doctor Who was top of the list with 2.2 million under 16's watching, an incredible 65.3% share of the audience.
Final figures, including data for those who recorded the programme and watched it later, will be released by BARB in two weeks time.
Several news sources are running stories on the BBC's Christmas Day dominance, including Doctor Who's large viewing figure. These include The Times,The Daily Telegraph, The Sun, BBC News, The Daily Mail, Digital Spy, The Guardian, Reuters, The Herald, The Daily Mirror, The Daily Express, The Manchester Evening News, The South Wales Echo, Variety and The Press Association.