Sunday, 6 April 2008
The Wondermashers of Doctor Who's new series grabbed 8.4 million viewers on Saturday, apparently by taking an early screen time as 'the gateway to the evening'. Sounds more like something from the Torchwood rift to me.
The horse race earlier in the day attracted just over ten million viewers and the rather cheap ITV1 television filler programme TV Burps (offcuts from shows with apparently humorous commentaries) took the highest commercial television entertainment programme rating with 5.5 million. The Anne Robinson breast groping incident had about 5.5 million too.
No wonder there's cutbacks in TV drama production budgets, when a horse race, some crass and limp editing and titivation of a quiz show get nearly the same audience figures as a flagship BBC series.
I'll stay loyal to the idea of Doctor Who as good family 'hide behind the sofa' Saturday entertainment although this week the monsters were a tad too friendly looking to pose any real threat - maybe they grow up all snarly later in the series.
The Ms Foster character who 'foster mothered' them was modelled on the aforementioned Anne Robinson, albeit with different hair colouring. The new slapstick relationship between The Doctor and the Catherine Tate character was pretty slick. I've never really enjoyed the Catherine Tate shows and her comic book characterisations but since I heard her interviewing David Tennant on a Radio 4 show a couple of months ago, it was clear that the two of them had really hit it off.
Of course, most fans are probably waiting for the real monsters to show up, rather than a fairly tame set of squeaky micro Mr Blobbies. I know they were supposed to kill one million people as part of the plot-line, but it all seemed a bit detached in the way of a spreadsheet calculation, when you only got to see half a dozen non speaking extras writhing on the floor before being saved.
We also had a fleeting flash of Rose's eyeliner before she disappeared into a parallel universe again but the multiple ex Doctor Who assistant storyline has been well leaked so I guess that will help ratings further along the series.
The spaceship involved seemed to pay homage to Close Encounters (spinning top shape, flashing light, spiky bits) and it had multiple tractor beams to retrieve the so handy pack sized Adipose made of white fat tissue (WAT?) extracted from humans. I assume the Beeb is flexing its CGI muscles with the spacecraft and little aliens before the real baddies start to cut up rough in the rest of the series and I hope there will be some other dues paid to famous scenes.
I've series linked it on the Sky Plus now, and am sure I will watch the whole series. UK needs a few institutional television shows beyond the pure soaps.