Top 10 most-watched ‘Doctor Who’ episodes since 2005

‘Voyage of the Damned’ is the most-watched episode of Doctor Who on original broadcast in the UK since the show’s 2005 revival.

Guest starring singer Kylie Minogue, David Tennant’s third Christmas special pulled in 13.31 million viewers in December 2007.

In second place is the following year’s festive adventure, ‘The Next Doctor’, with 13.1 million viewers. 2013’s 50th anniversary special, ‘The Day of the Doctor’, comes in third place with 12.8 million viewers.

2005’s ‘Rose’ is the only Ninth Doctor episode to feature, while none of the Twelfth Doctor’s episodes have yet made it into the Top 10.

Here’s the full list, based on the official Barb figures:

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> Buy the complete Season 9 box set on DVD on Amazon.

> Buy the complete Season 9 box set on Blu-ray on Amazon.

Season 10 is expected to begin filming in May and will air on BBC One in spring 2017.

> Here’s everything we know so far about Season 10.

Which episode in the Top 10 is your favourite? Let us know below…

  • Dr. Moo

    Most are specials and the two that aren’t specials are the “pilot” episode and a big “event” episode. Such a shame that only five out of ten are actually any good.

    I’ll bet that the 12th Doctor is absent because of how different TV viewing habits are today compared to a decade ago. Who actually watches television live anymore?!

    • Jeremy Parks

      I’ve seen Heaven Sent God knows how many times now. I think others have as well, which would probably put 12 on this list.

      • Helles

        Heaven Sent is the best episode of Who in the last 52 years with Listen not too far behind. Capaldi’s era is right up with early Smith as the apex of quality in the revived era of the show. It’s no surprise that the only series which gets close to the level of critical and fan adoration of series 9 is series 5. Sort of the two tent poles of new Who quality. I am pretty confident though that series 10 is going give them a run for their money!

        • John Vincent Lot

          You are most definitely correct. Such a shame that it’s lost a huge chunk of the fan base since most of them watch Doctor Who just because the Doctor’s “hot” or something. They should always watch Deep Breath like over and over again to remind them that the he’s still the Doctor.

    • Doctor Applejack

      I do I never miss this show when it 1st passes on TV.

    • JJ2000

      1, 2, 5, 8 and 10 are the only good ones on there. Not surprised Capaldi era not on there. Only been 5 good episodes from that, two of which were Christmas Specials.

  • Daniel

    Oh dear. Just goes to show mass popularity doesn’t equate to quality. The only really good episodes in that lot are Day of the Doctor and A Christmas Carol. The rest are pretty awful including a couple of episodes which would feature in anyone’s list of worst ever – End of Time, Voyage of the Damned and Widow. It does throw the slight loss of viewers for series 9 into relief. We got stellar quality (Sleep No More aside) but fewer than tuned in to see that load listed above. Now that the BBC have finally addressed the actual reason for the loss of viewers from series 8 to 9 (erratic time slot, too late, Rugby World Cup, zero publicity), which had absolutely nothing to do with how people felt about Peter’s doctor or the wuality of the show itself or the silly panic generated in the media, series 10 should return to the same constant level we had from series 1 to 8 but since fewer and fewer people now watch television live, we will never see these kinds of figures again anyway for one off episodes.

    • Helles

      Perhaps the only good thing to come out of the media beatup about ratings last year is that there is now strong and objective evidence that it was these things (failure to have any publicity, changing start times and late start and putting the first episodes against the rugby world cup) which led to the drop in viewers between series 8 and 9. When people could actually find the show, viewership was stable across series 9 and went up a lot for the Christmas special which was right up there with the usual ratings at Christmas – having River Song probably helped though. It’s also good that the BBC have now fessed up about the mess they made with the show last year and here’s hoping that they spend proper money on promoting it the way they always did for Tennant and Smith,. The show is the best it has ever been in terms of quality but the BBC are taking it too much for granted. Poor Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss have been shouting about this for the last couple of years but were ignored and what they predicted came true.

    • Chiara Bonazzi

      IMHO the End of time is the only good episode in the list

    • Barry McCann

      Sleep No More is a stellar classic, mate. It’s one of those that is ahead of the audience. Same thing happened with The Prisoner.

    • JJ2000

      BBC and Doctor Who team come up with excuses of why Series 8 and 9 got low viewership. They blame the timeslot, even though Series 6 Part 2 and Series 7 Part 1 were in autumn and did well. They blame no new companion for Series 9, even though Series 6 and Series 7 had the same companions and did well. They blame later timeslots, even though it’s been on later and did well. They blame events going on at the same time, when that’s not been much of an issue before.
      They come up with any and every excuse, and ignore the plain simple fact that maybe it’s the writing and the quality of the series that is the reason it is getting low viewership. Viewers and fans don’t like it anymore, they don’t like the terrible writing, nor Capaldi and Coleman. Viewers don’t like Capaldi, because he’s old, which is unfair. Fans don’t like him, because he isn’t that great a Doctor. It’s only whovians who like it, and love any adventure or just the Moffat/Capaldi era. And then there are just some loyal viewers and fans, who’ll put up with it, god knows why.
      The only factor affecting the viewing figures, is the quality.

      • Frogmouth

        I think Capaldi could have been a good Doctor and has done okay considering what he was given to work with. If they had let him be as crotchety/curmudgeonly as he set out to be in his first appearance things could have been interesting, but then the whole thing got bogged down with Clara, Clara, and more Clara.

        • JJ2000

          Series 8 and 9 were completely Clara-heavy. The only thing that could have justified it was Series 8 being Clara’s last series. But it wasn’t. So both Series 8 and 9 were Clara mad and Clara Who. It should have been, Serues 8: The NEW Doctor. And Series 9, Clara, as it was Clara’s last series. And I know Steven Moffat didn’t know that Jenna Coleman would stay on and not leave at the end of Series 8, but still. It should be an equal balance. He can try to justify it as many and as much times as he wants.

  • Jamie

    Highest rating episodes that are not specials, first, penultimate or final episodes (doesn’t include series 9)
    Tooth and Claw 9.2
    Rise of the Cybermen 9.2
    Fires of Pompeii 9
    Unquiet Dead 8.86
    Dalek 8.6
    Time of Angels 8.59
    Flesh and Stone 8.5
    Unicorn and Wasp 8.41
    Gridlock 8.4
    Beast Below 8.4

    • helles

      Another list of not very inspiring outings! Out of those, only Time of Angels/Flesh and Stone and Dalek score highly on the list of top reviewed episodes. It just goes to show again that there is a tenuous link between how many people watched and how many people actually enjoyed these episodes.

      • Jamie

        The thing that stood out for me most on this list was that it looks like viewers were tuning in to see the return of a good monster. I love all these episodes (well Beast Below not so much) and who’s to say that a reviewer’s opinion is worth more than mine (or of the kids that are watching).

  • Cryio

    Voyage: 8.
    Next Doctor: 7-8
    Day of the Doctor: 10.
    End of Time, Part Two: 9-10
    Christmas Carol: 10
    End of Time, Part One: 9-10
    The Time of the Doctor: 8
    Rose: 8
    The Doctor, the Widow, etc: 7
    Journey’s End: 10

    Eh, there were worse episodes and better episodes.

  • Peter J Smith

    No “The Doctor’s Wife”? Really?

    • Helles

      Based on number of viewers, not critical ratings. Doctor’s Wife didn’t get the huge ratings you always get for special event/Christmas episodes which most of the huge ratings ones are.
      A list of best reviewed would certainly include Doctor’s Wife, and big chunks of Matt Smith and Peter Capaldi episodes. Most of these episodes with loads of viewers are filler/junk TBH. A Christmas Carol and Day of the Doctor are the only who which had huge audiences as well as very high critical responses from viewers and reviewers. A lot on the list are among the very worst reviewed episodes over the last 52 years (End of Time, Doctor, Widow, Wardrobe, Next Doctor, Voyage of the Damned).

      • Dr. Moo

        The Next Doctor is good.

        • Notyet

          It’s fun and the right side of silly and has its tongue firmly in its cheek. Also, the two Davids really shine together. (Morrisey would have been a great doctor). It is also a reminder that David Tennant once upon a time could turn in a fresh and genuinely captivating performance without all of his usual actorly bits of business he gives in EVERY performance which makes him so stale and stultifying as an actor now : the teeth grit, the eyebrow raise, the slow blink, the face wipe, the ‘weeeeellll’, the ear tug, in the brilliant Blackpool. It’s hard to find, but well worth tracking down. Bonkers but just a joy. David Bradley, Sarah Parish and Steve Pemberton also feature.

          • Jeremy Parks

            “I’m the Doctor”. “I’m the Governor”.

      • Chiara Bonazzi

        The end of time is very good

        • Dr. Moo

          Tennant’s overstuffed egotistical exit was not the way regeneration should be portrayed and completely at odds with how it’s always been done before and since. You can enjoy it, it’s good that you do, but for me I just can’t. Just my opinion. 🙂
          Wilf is brilliant though.

          • Notyet

            Thankfully that regeneration was a one off and 8’s, 9’s, War’s and 11’s were beautifully and faithfully done in line with every other in the history of the show. While David Tennant was excruciatingly hammy and overacted to new heights in End of Time – it’s a wonder there was any scenery left unchewed between David, John Simm and Timothy Dalton, Bernard Cribbins turned in his usual heart felt performance and in the few minutes at the end Matt Smith managed to make us forget the turgid nonsense which had gone on before.

            I know some Tennant fans rate it, but as time goes on and in the light of the brilliance of both Matt and Peter’s doctors, End of Time looks closer and closer to something like Time and the Rani in its execution, pomposity and over reach, rather than as a special or landmark episode. The passage of time has been very unkind to Tennant’s finale and indeed to his entire tenure.

  • Kathy Hoover

    gee, you’d think the rest of the world never watches Doctor Who at all…..these numbers are meaningless when it comes to true viewership because it only looks at UK views on ORIGINAL broadcast….the HUGE boost in viewership in the US on BBC America isn’t even considered, nor are post-broadcast recorded eps or shows on other platforms like Netflix and Amazon…..so lots of Brits watch DW on the holidays? Why is this news?

  • Renmiri

    #10 kicking butt

  • Pixc

    this is the live watches though not figures for people who watch the episodes again after live feed, I’d be more interested in most watched episodes since, like a what do people rewatch!