The BBC said its science fiction drama Doctor Who is now one of the world’s biggest TV shows after a special 50th anniversary episode on Saturday was watched in 94 countries and simultaneously screened in 3D to more than half a million people in movie theaters across Latin America, North America and Europe.
Ratings showed 10.2 million people watched the episode in the UK, in which the last two doctors, Matt Smith and David Tennant, featured alongside a “mayfly” timelord played by John Hurt who existed for only the duration of the single show titled The Day of the Doctor.
The breadth of the international “simulcast” was a world record, according to Guinness World Records.
“For years, the Doctor has been stopping everyone else from conquering the world,” lead writer Steven Moffat said. “Now, just to show off, he’s gone and done it himself.”
The show’s UK ratings were the fifth-highest viewing figures since the show was revived by the BBC in 2005. However, on the night, they were beaten by Strictly Come Dancing, which preceded it on BBC1, which pulled in an average of 10.6 million viewers, peaking at 11.7 million.
“We knew we were attempting something unprecedented in broadcast history... If there was any doubt that Doctor Who is one of the world’s biggest TV shows, this award should put that argument to rest — and how fitting for it to receive such an accolade in its 50th year,” BBC Worldwide chief executive Tim Davie said.