Are more people time-shifting the Time Lord? The 9th season of the regenerated Doctor Who debuted last night in the UK on BBC One (and in the U.S. on BBC America), with Peter Capaldi returning for his second outing in the titular role. The episode, “The Magician’s Apprentice,” has been overwhelmingly embraced by fans, but came in with just 4.58M viewers and a 21.2 share in the British overnights. That’s down more than 2M from last year’s launch, which was Capaldi’s first. However, it was the ratings winner of the day on BBC One and the second most watched across all networks. The episode, which aired from 7:40 PM local, was bested by The X Factor which averaged 7M from 8 PM. Delayed viewing figures should see a marked improvement.
“The Magician’s Apprentice,” which BBC America has made available in its entirety on YouTube, marked the return of Missy, aka The Master, played by Michelle Gomez. This was the first of a two-parter that will tie-up next Saturday with “The Witch’s Familiar.” That episode will have to contend with the England v Wales Rugby World Cup match being played in London and aired on ITV.
The full season is 12 episodes, followed by the Christmas Special which marks the return of Alex Kingston’s Professor River Song. Jenna Coleman, who has played companion Clara since 2012, is leaving later this year to star in ITV’s new drama Victoria.
This season has been mooted to see the Doctor and Clara embark on a journey that takes them to deadly alien planets, creepy underwater bases, Viking villages, a global Zygon uprising and through hidden alien dens, to the very end of time itself. Game Of Thrones’ Maisie Williams is also set to guest.