Doctor Who Series 12 – final analysis

With the dust now settled on Doctor Who series 12, I’ve dusted off my spreadsheets and done a little look at how popular it all was according to various metrics. I’m not sure what it all means, but is of some interest. This post is an update of my midway checkpoint.

Series 12 as it happened

I’ve not rushed to post this and no doubt some of the data is out of date. The trends are clear though, even if the meaning isn’t. Just to recap, series 12 was:

My summary: started well, dipped a lot in the episode 3 and really picked up again before going into overdrive. We’ve had a new Master, a new Doctor (!!), Judoon, Lenny Henry, Stephen Fry, eco-disaster, nightmares, Cybermen and the end of Gallifrey (again!). Not all a success and some of the storytelling questionable but it has got us all talking (at least in fandom).

That’s what I think, but there’s more…

Viewing figures and AI

DoctorWho TV tracks all things viewing data: Doctor Who Series 12 (2020) Ratings Accumulator. In a nutshell ratings started OK and have dipped, AI scores started OK, suffered for Orphans and have picked up. A steady decline in viewers (and year on year is a challenge as people overall watch less terrestrial TV) and AI scores flatter than I might have thought.


I’m very sceptical of votes. What are they voting for, what do the scores actually mean, what are the metrics and are people voting consistently. That said you can get some trends.

I’ve started with the Divergent Universe. Each week there’s a discussion thread with poll asking for a 1-5 rating. An example is the one for Nikola Tesla’s Night of Terror.

I’ve tabulated the votes and done some basic analysis (I may do more later):

Divergent UniverseVotesAverageSpread
Spyfall Pt 1523.831.10
Spyfall Pt 2424.020.87
Orphan 55513.040.98
Nikola Tesla’s Night of Terror384.160.92
Fugitive of the Judoon524.810.65
Can You Hear Me?424.000.70
Haunting of Villa Diodati424.480.80
Ascension of the Cybermen324.340.75
The Timeless Children533.381.40

Curiously Nikola Tesla’s Night of Terror has fewest votes. On a scale of 1-5 most episodes score well, with Orphan 55 being average. A superb score for Fugitive of the Judoon with Haunting of Villa Diodati not far behind. They really didn’t like The Timeless Children.

The Spread is a standard deviation (if it means anything here). Basically the smaller the number the more consistent. Again the DU really liked Fugitive of the Judoon. A huge spread on The Timeless Children explains the low overall score: most votes and most varied opinion.

The DWAS has a similar poll but rates it from 1-6 with 6 being classic, 3 being average. Their table looks like:

Spyfall Pt 12504.171.69
Spyfall Pt 21693.841.63
Orphan 552822.901.49
Nikola Tesla’s Night of Terror1983.721.49
Fugitive of the Judoon1984.671.66
Can You Hear Me?2483.151.71
Haunting of Villa Diodati3183.771.49
Ascension of the Cybermen2104.221.64
The Timeless Children3213.551.99

More voters and more variation in number cast with Timeless Children attracting most. Even taking the 1-6 vs 1-5 into account the DWAS polls are more varied and less positive. I’d suggest the trend is similar, though Praxeus comes lowest and huge variation on Timeless Children.

In the end my take-away is there wasn’t a big peak of excitement for the finale. I thought we might get more. I accept a lot of people don’t like what they see of the Chibnall Masterplan but I’m prepared to like it overall. We shall see how it progresses!

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