‘Doctor Who’ Keeps Same Excitement, But Loses Fans In Season Opener

Doctor Who returned last night with the first episode of Season 9, “The Magician’s Apprentice.” Fewer fans than usual tuned in to watch Doctor Who, though. The competition was fierce, having to compete against The X Factor. But Season 9 of Doctor Who should see viewership improve as the TV season progresses.

Doctor Who had just 4.6 million viewers, compared to X Factor‘s 7.3 million. As the Los Angeles Times reports, overall the first episode did not disappoint. Peter Capaldi returned as Doctor Who, and Jenna Coleman returned as the Doctor’s companion, Clara Oswald.

Unfortunately, this will be Coleman’s last season on the series. She’s announced that she’s leaving to play Queen Victoria. Coleman will focus on acting in the ITV series Victoria, as she just recently filmed her last scenes for Doctor Who.

Coleman enjoyed her time on Doctor Who. She told BBC how she feels about leaving the show.

“There are not a lot of jobs where you get to have an alien as your best mate and get to run away from monsters… it’s been so much fun, I love it. It’s such a unique beast it’s been really special.”

Coleman has been with the show since 2012, during the Matt Smith incarnation of Doctor Who. She’s also appeared in the film Captain America: The First Avenger. But the career milestone of having the chance to play the British icon, Queen Victoria, the second longest serving monarch of the United Kingdom, is no doubt a chance worth leaving Doctor Who to pursue.

Doctor Who was revived 11 years ago. The series became a British cultural staple during its extremely long first run, from 1963 all the way until 1989. Relaunches proved unsuccessful until Russell T Davies brought Doctor Who back to form with his version of a relaunch in the middle of the last decade.

Since then, the new series has seen four different actors play incarnations of Doctor Who. In the show’s history, there’s been 12 different actors playing the main Doctor Who role, though additional Doctor Who actors have also been involved to fulfill various plot needs.

There’s no telling how many seasons Peter Capaldi will remain. He seems quite a capable Doctor Who, but ratings would need to pick up after this first episode. Matt Smith was there for almost three years before Capaldi took over. Things may depend on if show producers think he can satisfy fans without Jenna Coleman at his side.

Catch the next episode of Doctor Who Saturday on BBC.

[Photo by Stuart C. Wilson / Getty Images]