Scheduling Doctor Who at 6pm on a sunny weekend was always going to depress viewing numbers but even so, the 6.5m who bothered to tune in to Saturday’s opening episode does seem a little low.
After being shoved around in the schedules last year, the BBC has done the series no favours at all putting it on at a time when many people will be out enjoying the weather.
But is sunshine and timing the only reason people stayed away? I can’t help wondering how many viewer’s the occasionally dull, emotionless and often poorly written fifth series simply repelled.
Whatever the cause for the low figures, it’s a shame the audience wasn’t higher because, much as I despaired at some of the guff served up last year, this year’s series opener was nothing short of excellent.
Following on from a superb Christmas special, The Impossible Astronaut was an exciting semi-historical yarn about time travel (bizarrely a rare plot device for the show) and hidden aliens.
After being ripped out last year by a production team seemingly desperate to create some differentiation with their predecessors, the emotional undercurrents and feeling of family which have been so much of ‘New Who’ were back with a vengeance.
Matt Smith, easily the best thing about series 5, was even more fantastic as the Doctor this time around and for the first time I actually managed to feel something other than tedium towards companions Amy and Rory – both played by great actors badly served by scripts and direction last year.
Hopefully the quality holds up over the next few weeks, either way here’s hoping the BBC corrects the blunder of shoving the series on at 6pm.
Just how distorted are Auntie’s priorities when yet another ‘talent’ contest takes an hour and 15 minutes of prime airtime to the detriment of one of its most successful dramas?
If they won’t give the series a time slot befitting its status will they at least curb their obsession with cheap talent shows long enough not to plaster this year’s big cliffhanger with an animated trailer for the tat following it?