As we approach the 60th Anniversary of Doctor Who, revisit the story of Doctor Who, the occasional series written for the 50th Anniversary, explaining the origins of the programme.

Episode 31 - An Unearthly Series - The Origins of a TV Legend: First published 23 Nov 2013

Face of Evil - BBC Four RatingsBookmark and Share

Thursday, 31 December 2015 - Reported by Marcus

The BBC Four repeat of the 1977 story The Face of Evil, had mixed fortunes according to unofficial overnight viewing figures.

Part one on Monday had an average of 141,000 viewers, above the timeslot average of 79,000. Part Two, which followed directly had an average of 183,000 watching, below the timeslot average of 268,000.

However just 56,000 tuned in for Part Three on Tuesday evening, rising to 88,000 for the story's conclusion.

Final figures will be released next week, and will include those who recorded the programme and watched it later.

Parts one and Two had an Appreciation Index score of 84 with Parts Three and Four scoring 83.

FILTER: - Classic Series - Ratings - UK

In Memoriam 2015Bookmark and Share

Thursday, 31 December 2015 - Reported by Chuck Foster
Actor, comedian, presenter, and all-round Doctor Who aficionado Toby Hadoke has produced a video in remembrance of those cast and crew who have been lost to the Doctor Who universe in 2015.

FILTER: - Obituary - Online - People

Doctor Who In Memoriam - 2015Bookmark and Share

Thursday, 31 December 2015 - Reported by Marcus
As 2015 draws to a close, actor and writer Toby Hadoke has put together a memorial tape marking the lives those members of the Doctor Who universe who sadly died during the year.

FILTER: - Doctor Who - Obituary

Final Series 9 Ratings From Space ChannelBookmark and Share

Sunday, 27 December 2015 - Reported by Dan Collins
SPACE Logo (Credit: SPACE)The Space Channel, the Canadian broadcaster of Doctor Who, has given Doctor Who News an update on the final ratings for Series 9.

DOCTOR WHO remains the most watched program on Space with an average of 696500 viewers for Season 9. Season 9 is also the most-watched season of the series to date in the key demos of A25-54 and A18-49, with 415,500 and 405,900 viewers respectively.

While Doctor Who has remained their most watched program, the average viewership has gone down over the final few episodes. In November Doctor Who News reported that an average of 731,000 people watched per episode. All ratings only cover traditional television viewers including PVR, not those who watched via apps or online.

FILTER: - Canada - Ratings - Series 9/35

Christmas Special - AI:82Bookmark and Share

Sunday, 27 December 2015 - Reported by Marcus
The Husbands of River Song (Credit: BBC/Simon Ridgway)Doctor Who: The Husbands of River Song had an Audience Appreciation or AI score of 82.

The Appreciation Index or AI is a measure of how much the audience enjoyed the programme. The score, out of a hundred, is compiled by a specially selected panel of around 5,000 people who go online and rate and comment on programmes.

The BBC's highest score of the evening went to Call the Midwife on BBC One which scored 88.

On BBC Three, the Boxing Day repeat of Doctor Who was watched by 0.26 million viewers.

FILTER: - Ratings - Series 9/35 - UK

Australian overnight ratings for The Husbands of River SongBookmark and Share

Sunday, 27 December 2015 - Reported by Adam Kirk
The Husbands of River Song has debuted in Australia, averaging 575,000 viewers in the five major capital cities. The story was the highest rating ABC drama of the day and the tenth highest rating program of the day overallThese ratings do not include iview, regional or time-shifted viewers.
Media Links: TV Tonight

FILTER: - Australia - Broadcasting - Ratings - Series 9/35

Christmas Special - Press ReactionBookmark and Share

Saturday, 26 December 2015 - Reported by Marcus
The Husbands of River Song (Credit: BBC/Jon Hall)This item contains spoilers.

Press reaction to the Christmas Special, The Husbands of River Song, mostly centers of the relationship between River Song and The Doctor. The Express loved the return of Alex Kingston. "It's easy to forget what a fantastic character she is but tonight River really makes this festive episode, which could be one of the best Doctor Who Christmas specials in years."

It was a theme picked up by The Guardian "It’s a wonderful Christmas gift from Moffat to see the old River return, with a glimpse of her naughty ways when she’s having adventures without the Doctor. Meanwhile, however bleak things might have got towards the end of the recent series, it’s faintly hilarious now to remember how Peter Capaldi was initially touted as a “dark Doctor”. His bravura form here, dancing between comedy and romance, just fizzes opposite Kingston."

The Metro called it a bittersweet rom-com. "The scene in which the Doctor realises that he gets to pretend to be stepping into the TARDIS for the first time and provide his version of ‘it’s bigger on the inside’ is a joy to behold, snapping him out of his Grinch-like mood. One suspects it’s the first time the Doctor has genuinely had fun since his memories of Clara were wiped."

Radio Times, while admitting they don't like the Christmas specials, found the main duo's interaction the most appealing aspect of the story. "The Doctor is the happiest we’ve known him, even at one point flat on his back laughing – something inconceivable in the last few episodes. He’s all loved up to find River and bemused, cheesed off and, ultimately, delighted that she doesn’t recognise him."

Wales Online also love the pairing. "There were good bits, and bad. But overall, it was lovely to see Alex Kingston back in the Tardis, as River Song". The Los Angeles Times agreed "If The Husbands of River Song is less Christmasy than most of the previous specials, it is a splendid gift to fans nonetheless. River has provided one of the longest and most tantalizing threads of the series" had mixed feelings over the meeting between River and the Twelfth Doctor. "The emotional swell I was supposed to feel during that speech and at the moment she realized the Doctor was there—that the Doctor would always be there—fell flat for me. Him cheekily stealing her catchphrase—"Hello, sweetie"—helped however, and once the blindfold came off, everything clicked into place."

AV Club felt the structure odd. "The Husbands Of River Song is one of the strangest hours in television history. For the first 40 or so minutes of its run, it’s a deeply goofy bit of slapstick space opera whimsy. And then, in the final 15 minutes, the episode shifts tones completely, going for a poignant, melancholy send-off that directly calls back and completes a narrative circle that the show began tracing way back in 2008.". However Den of Geek thought the episode was right for its intended slot. "I don't really think that The Husbands Of River Song is Doctor Who on top form, nor do I think it amongst the best Christmas specials since the show introduced them in 2005. But fun? Yes. Enjoyable? Yes. A good, solid piece of telly? Absolutely."

411 Mania was pleased the story had moved away from the more overtly Christmassy specials of the past. "I enjoy the Doctor’s forays into the holiday season as much as anyone, but things got as Christmas-y as they could last year and it was probably a wise move to ease up on that for a bit of variety". And finally IGN felt the episode nicely complemented the recently completed season. "Steven Moffat’s The Husbands of River Song is a nice, fun, wacky change of pace that still manages to touch that sweet spot of emotional resonance that the Twelfth Doctor has done so well this year."

You can read the Doctor Who News review in our reviews section.

FILTER: - Press - Series 9/35

Husbands of River Song - Overnight Viewing FiguresBookmark and Share

Saturday, 26 December 2015 - Reported by Marcus
Doctor Who Christmas Special: The Doctor and River, as played by Peter Capaldi and Alex Kingston (Credit: BBC/Simon Ridgway)5.77 million viewers watched the christmas special, Doctor Who: The Husbands of River Song, according to unofficial overnight viewing figures.

The episode had a 29.4% share of the total Television audience.

The most watched programme on Christmas Day was the final instalment of Downton Abbey, with 6.9 million watching, giving ITV the top spot.

The BBC's highest offering was the Christmas edition of Strictly Come Dancing, which had 6.5 million viewers. Mrs Brown's Boys and Stick Man also did well as did Coronation Street and Call the Midwife, making Doctor Who the 7th most watched programme of the day, just above EastEnders.

Official figures will be released in 9 days time.

FILTER: - Ratings - UK

On the Twelfth's Day of ChristmasBookmark and Share

Friday, 25 December 2015 - Reported by Chuck Foster
As darkness descends across the United Kingdom, the country's viewers will settle down to recover from afternoon excesses in front of the television to watch what has become a traditional festive line-up on the box: Eastenders, Call The Midwife, Strictly Come Dancing, Mrs Browns Boys, and of course Doctor Who - which reaches its tenth anniversary of Christmas adventures at 5:15pm.

However, to misquote another anniversary's line of dialogue, that isn't how it all started. And, to steal a phrase from another franchise enjoying a successful return this year, there is another ... as fifty years ago today the Doctor, Steven and their latest waif in time Sara were to discover Christmas Day themselves!

Now into its third year on television, Doctor Who's regular Saturday schedule meant that in 1965 it would coincide with the 25th December. At this point the Doctor and company had been embroiled in an audacious plan by the Daleks to take over the universe by means of a Time Destructor, and some six episodes in had already seen two previous TARDIS travellers killed. With a Christmas audience of the 1960s as fickle as those of today at watching television on the day (and certainly without the myriad ways to catch-up we can now enjoy) it was decided to take a festive detour from the main complex plot and "cut-away" from the Daleks to a light-hearted interlude instead.

Unlike the modern Christmas adventures this was an episode never meant to be taken seriously, or indeed take itself seriously. So, rather than the inhabitants of Skaro, the Doctor is instead apprehended by the inhabitants of a Northern England police station, who have to contend with a man who loses his greenhouse; and once he's 'escaped' its off to encounter madcap antics in a Hollywood film studio, as he and his travelling companions are chased by a number of colourful characters! In comparison with festive adventures of more recent times, it might seem a strange approach to a Doctor Who episode now - but it was produced in an era of light entertainment, slotted into contemporary programming, and wouldn't have felt too out of place for cosy Christmas television viewing of the time!

The Doctor wishes a very merry Christmas in The Feast of StevenDue to its (then) unique status as a light-hearted Christmas episode, The Feast of Steven wasn't included in any overseas package sales, and with episodes seldom repeated Saturday 25th December 1965 became the only time that anyone in the world were able to experience the tale in its original form. Fortunately the soundtrack survives, so fans can still 'live' that first dalliance with festive Who - including the Doctor's little message in the closing moments:

Here's a toast. A Happy Christmas to all of us.
Incidentally, a Happy Christmas to all of you at home!

Happy 10th and 50th anniversaries to a Christmas Doctor ...
Whose twelfth incarnation embarks upon a twelfth festive adventure!

Doctor Who around the world on Christmas Day

Unlike 1965, in 2015 Doctor Who can be enjoyed around the world 24x7. However, there is still a nostalgic feeling to watching 'live' on television, and there is plenty of episodes to be caught around the world today!

In the United Kingdom, morning-risers can enjoy the tenth Doctor's last adventures as Watch broadcasts the specials from The Next Doctor onwards. Meanwhile, in the lead-up to The Husbands of River Song on BBC One during the afternoon viewers can then immerse themselves in a classic "base-under-siege" type adventure as Horror Channel show the appropriately named Horror of Fang Rock at 3:00pm (and/or at 8:00pm if they prefer to avoid the traditional enemy, Coronation Street!).

In Northern America, both BBC America and SPACE have turned their channels over to Doctor Who, with today seing a re-run of Series Nine in preparation for their own premiere of Husbands at 9:00pm. More locally in the United States, viewers could then switch over to catch The Hand of Fear on Retro TV at 10:00pm, and those in Oklahoma could then watch Robot of Sherwood at 11:00pm. Earlier in the day, UNC in North Carolina show the final two episodes of The Time Monster from 5:00pm, whilst EBRU finish off the ninth Doctor with Bad Wolf/The Parting of the Ways, also from 5:00pm. The final episode for Christmas Day is The Brink of Disaster, a first Doctor outing courtesy of KMOS in Missouri.

In Europe, BBC First in the Benelux countries will show Before The Flood just after midday with The Girl Who Died later this afternoon; BBC Entertainment in Europe and the Middle East had an early morning adventure with The Time of the Doctor; and BBC HD in Poland and the Nordic countries stay festive with The Snowmen, The Doctor, The Widow and the Wardrobe and The Best of the Christmas Specials. German viewers can catch Before the Flood, The Girl Who Died and The Woman Who Lived on FOX from 4:15pm, or the continuing adventures of the Torchwood team in Children of Earth on SyFy. And in Denmark DR3 will "Face The Raven" as that episode premieres in the country at 8:10pm.

For the rest of the world, FX in India goes festive with A Christmas Carol, The Doctor, The Widow and the Wardrobe, The Time of the Doctor and Last Christmas, whilst PRIME in New Zealands catches up with The Girl Who Died and The Woman Who Lived. TV Cultura in Brazil have Vincent and the Doctor in Portuguese, and for the Doctor's friends, Jeem in the Middle East provides an Arabic outing for Sarah Jane Smith with Mona Lisa's Revenge in the evening.

The continuing adventures of the Doctor can be followed around the world via This Week in Doctor Who!

FILTER: - Broadcasting - Classic Series - First Doctor - International Broadcasting - Series S

Advent Calendar - Day Twenty FiveBookmark and Share

Friday, 25 December 2015 - Reported by Willy Phantom

Merry Christmas from Doctor Who News

Willy Phantom, 25th December 2015

FILTER: - Advent