The 'fast-tracked' The Next Doctor has debuted in Australia to disappointing ratings. The 2008 Christmas Special averaged only 738,000 in the five major capital cities, compared to the 1 million plus viewers who regularly watched Series Four in 2008. The lower ratings are probably explained by the summer 'non-ratings' period, the Australia Day long weekend and the 1.745 million viewers who watched Australian Jelena Dokic's remarkable progress to the quarter-finals of the Australian Open on Channel 7. Meanwhile the Australian Broadcasting Corporation will start repeats of series two on ABC1 on Tuesdays at 8.30pm, starting with 'The Christmas Invasion' on 27 January 2009. The national broadcaster will also broadcast the corresponding episodes ofConfidential Cutdown for series two, starting with 'New New Doctor' on Tuesday 3 February 2009 at 9.15pm. This will be the free-to-air debut of this series of 'Confidential' on Australian television.
Meanwhile, in the local media, Patricia Maunder of The Age calls 'The Next Doctor' a 'bit of a tease'. TV Tonight in its preview of the same episode also writes that 'ultimately, this Christmas edition feels like the universe, or 'WHOniverse', is undergoing great change – rather like some of the plots we've enjoyed before. With Donna Noble's tale concluded in 2008, The Doctor is now sans assistant. As enjoyable as it tries to be, the writing in this episode is no better or worse than a weekly episode, upstaged by the 2007 Titanic special featuring Kylie..' Meanwhile Ian Cuthbertson ofThe Weekend Australiawrites of 'The Next Doctor' that 'it would be hard to go past a sensational line-up on the national broadcaster this evening, which has a little something for everyone.'
Thanks to the contributors to the Australian forums.