Let’s take a look at the audience reaction to the last two episodes of Doctor Who Series 8, Into the Dalek and Robot of Sherwood.
Both episodes aired at 7.30pm on BBC One, in what appears to be a new permanent timeslot for the show (although once Tumble finishes things might change a little).
Interestingly, Into the Dalek and Robot of Sherwood registered 5.2 million viewers on the overnight total, the former managing a 24.7% audience share in the week that ITV’s The X Factor returned to screens, while Robot of Sherwood pulled 25.4% of the available viewers. These might seem low, but as the final figure for Into the Dalek has been confirmed at 7.29 million we should expect delayed viewing to increase Robot of Sherwood in a similar way. Also, BBC iPlayer will play its part (although these figures are still not counted officially, just like iTunes and Xbox Video sales).
Meanwhile, Into the Dalek attained a score of 84 in the Audience Appreciation Index, with Robot of Sherwood managing 82. Into the Dalek has the highest AI for Series 8 to date,
Neither result is great, but then again they aren’t bad.
Closer to home, our polls for the episodes were well-received. 789 readers voted on Into the Dalek, with 66.79% agreeing that “Series 8 is really shaping up well” and 7.6% feeling it was “The best Dalek episode ever!” That’s over 73% in favour of the episode!
I can’t fit my initial thoughts into any one of your categories. The episode was a big improvement on last week’s. The writing was much better. I am getting to like Peter Capaldi more as the Doctor as he begins to settle into his new persona. Jenna Coleman continues to impress as Clara. Samuel Anderson was brilliant. I look forward to finding out more about Danny Pink.
I still had some difficulty hearing all the dialogue but it was terrific and despite my difficulties I thought Capaldi was brilliant. The Daleks were used much more appropriately and were scarier than they have been since Eccleston’s Doctor.
A final thought: the ‘altered’ Dalek: Maybe develops into Dalek Caan?
I enjoyed it. It did something a bit different with the Daleks, gave us more of an insight into their inner workings, and the Daleks storming the Aristotle was terrifying, anyone who says the Daleks are daft should be shown those scenes.
Robot of Sherwood also attracted strong feelings, although fewer voters (476). Considered an “Enjoyable romp” by 53.99% of the responders, 16.6% considered it “Superb” and just 3.78% felt it was “Mark Gatiss’ best yet.” A significant 12.18% opted to “Bring on Listen.”
It’s one of those episodes that I feel could have had more substance but since it’s seen as early season filler no one wants to spend too much time perfecting it. I almost feel that Robin Hood vs The Sheriff has enough of a story in it to not involve aliens at all (Pushing the Boat out, I know). There was plenty to enjoy though. I wasn’t bad. It was just fun. In fact, “an enjoyable romp” is probably the most fitting poll option I’ve ever had to select.
That wasn’t my cup of tea at all. I was bored for most of it. As I suspected, that was the episode after last week’s Lord Mayor’s Show.
I could have voted for all of the top three options and I know it’s an episode I will watch many times once the box set is in my hands. For me there are two types of “great” Doctor Who stories – the Pyramids of Mars/War Games/Human Nature style and the Time Warrior/Unicorn and the Wasp type. I adore the former, but the latter are my “miserable Sunday in March” standbys. I can see Robot of Sherwood sitting beautifully in the second category.
So, Series 8 is finding its feet and hitting its stride, albeit one that might be interpreted as off the pace slightly. Perhaps that will change with Listen…