Season 22 - The Ratings

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After his poorly-received debut closes Season 21 on the 30th of March 1984, 40 weeks later Season 22 commences on the 5th of January 1985 with the continuing adventures of the 6th Doctor. And Doctor Who is back on Saturdays! In an uncanny presage to the 21st Century revival, Season 22 consists of thirteen 45 minute weekly episodes (although sans a Christmas Special).

The season starts very promisingly with 8.9 million viewers tuning in to watch the "Attack of the Cybermen" two-parter, but by Week 2 the audience has dropped to 7.2 million.  Ratings do not rise above 7.7 million (the highest, for the second part of "Revelation of the Daleks") for the rest of the season, but at least they don't drop any lower than 6. It is worth remembering as well that Doctor Who was pitted against ITV's mid-80s ratings juggernaut "The A-Team". Beloved or not by fans (and this season certainly wasn't) it's not surprising that the result was much the same as Season 18 (which unquestionably featured the Classic Series' most popular Doctor). Doctor Who in the '70s and '80s never did well against glossy US imports.

Season 22's average viewing figures nevertheless are reasonably consistent and put it on a par with Season 21.  Sadly this does seem to indicate that the public now tend to treat Doctor Who as just something to watch if there's nothing better on.

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