Looks as though the new Doctor Who’s first episode, Rose, was a hit in the United Kingdom. Fans there consistently rated it high, and now that the ratings are in, we’re seeing averages of close to ten million.
Doctor Who hasn’t commanded 10 million viewers in the United Kingdom since March 1981. Back then, British viewers had only four channels to choose from, and the 10 million viewers translated into only a 26th place finish. Today, with the British television market considerably more fractured, 10 million viewers puts the program within the top twenty overall, and quite possibly among the top three dramas of the week. So, all told, a very successful debut, and more than enough to get the BBC to commit to a second season.
This isn’t actually a surprise. Back in 1996, when the Doctor Who movie was shown on Fox, it tanked in the United States, but it was 9th place in the United Kingdom. Though the program has been off the air since 1989, it is very much within the British popular culture. Every person on the street of London will recognize the words “Dalek” and “TARDIS”.
A far bigger risk is coming up this Tuesday when the CBC unleashes Rose to Canadian viewers. Doctor Who has not been on Canada’s national network since 1964. Most Canadian fans come in isolated pockets across the country caught the show on TV Ontario, PBS stations close to the border, or on YTV. I do encounter people in the street who recognize the TARDIS pin on the lapel of my trenchcoat, but it tends to harkens back to vague memories of “the show with that scary theme music” on TV Ontario. It’s safe to say that most Canadians have no idea what a Dalek or a TARDIS is. Will they respond this Tuesday?
So, it’s heartening to see how much publicity the premier is garnering. So far, we’ve seen a full page feature on in the Review section of Saturday’s Globe and Mail and front cover treatment on Canada’s edition of TV Guide. That’s a lot of investment being laid out. Let’s hope it pays off.
Another Reason Not to Visit Mali
A country with a Prime Minister that threatens retribution against the national soccer team for losing a game may have some issues with democracy and political self-control.
Hat tip to the People’s Republic of Seabrook.
A Good Day
The first days of clear skies and real spring warmth in southern Ontario make winter worthwhile. There are few better things about life than not to feel the chill, to hear the snow melt and to breathe the clean, moist air. It has been a good day.