This Week In DOCTOR WHO History: Oct 20th To Oct 26th - Warped Factor - Words in the Key of Geek.

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This Week In DOCTOR WHO History: Oct 20th To Oct 26th

Drum-roll please...

Click on any red text to read our full retrospectives/reviews for that episode. All dates and viewing figures are for UK premier broadcasts unless otherwise stated.

On October 20th 1979 Doctor Who recorded its highest ever viewing figure. At 6.16pm that Saturday evening, 16.1 million people were tuned in for part four of City of Death.

The episode was broadcast during a strike at ITV which took the station off the air, which clearly had some impact on the viewing figures. Thankfully all those casual viewers tuned in for an episode from what is widely regarded as one of the best serials from Doctor Who‍‍ '​‍s classic run, if the strike had been a week later they would've caught The Creature From The Pit, and I doubt any of them would've quite understood why Tom Baker was kissing a giant green penis...

...I'm not quite sure myself!

Also on this day in Doctor Who history, it's already time for our first Sarah Jane Adventures episode. It's 2008 and part 1 of Secrets Of the Stars was welcoming 1.42 million of CBBCs finest.

And a birthday for you too - On October 20th 1941 Anneke Wills was born. You likely know her best as Polly, companion to both the First and Second Doctors.

October 21st
The Second Doctor's looking glum. He's just found out about the BBC's junking policy and how, even though it's only 1967, they've already started wiping his stories. Episode four of The Abominable Snowmen would be one of the those destroyed, and despite the best efforts of search and rescue teams it is still missing from the BBC vaults, so only the 7.1 million who tuned in that Saturday have seen it in all its glory.

Also on this day in Doctor Who history part four of The Pirate Planet was broadcast in 1978 at 6:22pm, and watched by 8.4 million viewers.

And how about a recent Thirteenth Doctor adventure? Alright then, take Rosa. In my humble opinion, the highlight of series eleven and broadcast this day in 2018 to a consolidated audience of 8.41 million.

October 22nd
Back in 1966 it was almost time to call time on the first Time Lord. Part three of The Tenth Planet was broadcast at 5.54pm and watched by 7.6 million viewers. Then, in 1977, it's Fourth Doctor time with part four of The Invisible Enemy, which had an audience of 8.3 of Britain's finest.

Now, let me share a little tale with y'all.

The year was 2006, and BBC Wales had won the use of a helicopter for an evening in a local Variety Club Sunshine Coach fund raising raffle. Naturally they decided to fly over Cardiff all night filming aerial views, but then found themselves left with a bit of a problem.

Not knowing what to do they turned to Russell T Davies who wrote a little show called 'Cardiff By Night' solely to accommodate the 11 hours of footage they had. When they showed the result to the Director General of the BBC he loved it, but suggested that RTD include 86% more swearing and shagging (two of the DG's favourite things). The result was Torchwood.

True story that. Perhaps.

Yes, Doctor Who's post-watershed spin-off got underway on this day in 2006 with a double bill of episodes, which managed to deliver on all three counts - there was Cardiff by night, there was swearing and there was shagging. Really, what more could a Doctor Who fan want?

Everything Changes was broadcast at 9:00pm and watched by 2.52 million viewers, pretty much everyone stayed around for Day One which began at 9:52pm and was watched by 2.50 million viewers.

Also on this day in Doctor Who history, because it's almost compulsory now, we have two more stories from The Sarah Jane Adventures for you. From season one, on this day in 2007, 1.6 million were tuned into part one of Warriors of Kudlak, then two years later episode one of The Mad Woman in the Attic drew an audience of 0.75 million.

BUT WAIT. There's more...

So how many spin-offs has Doctor Who had? You can count them on one hand with a finger (or thumb) to spare! But what are the odds that two of them would end up debuting on exactly the same day albeit 10 years apart? Well I don't know the odds but it happened and it's history so no-ones gonna bet against it now, but still, spooky, eh? Like someone at the BBC planned it or something. Anyhow, 10am (10am!!) on Saturday October 22nd 2016 the opening two episodes of Class. For Tonight We Might Die and The Coach With The Dragon Tattoo premiered on BBC Three's now online only service.

How'd they fare, I hear you ask? Dunno. Sorry. The BBC never actually released any official viewing figures for streaming ratings,, but we do know that Class had poorer than expected ratings, failing to make the BBC iPlayer Top 20 in its first seven weeks, and failing to secure over a million viewers at any point when repeated on BBC One in a late-evening slot across January and February.

So that's why it never came back.

Oh, and also because it wasn't very good. That too.

October 23rd
The second episode of The Myth Makers, titled Small Prophet, Quick Return, gets things underway this week in Doctor Who history. It was broadcast on this day in 1965 and watched by 8.1 million First Doctor fans. Eleven years later, part four of The Hand Of Fear was watched by exactly 12 million.

Then it's a huge jump into the 21st Century for a dip into The Sarah Jane Adventures archive. This one being episode two of The Mad Woman in the Attic which was broadcast in 2009 and watched by 0.84 million viewers.

October 24th
Zilch! Nothing! Not a sausage!! Somehow Doctor Who managed to get through 52 years without any episode receiving its debut broadcast on October 24th.

And then along came the Twelfth Doctor who changed all that when he met The Woman Who Lived. The episode was watched by 4.39 million viewers overnight in the UK, with a 20.0% audience share. Consolidated ratings would go on to show that 6.11 million watched on time shift. Nice!

October 25th
Two opening episodes from two of Tom's finest get things underway this bumper day in Doctor Who history. From 1975 we have part one of Pyramids of Mars, broadcast at 5:47pm and watched by 10.5 million viewers. Five years later part one of Full Circle drew an audience of 5.9 million.

Two regenerations later and the Sixth Doctor is still standing The Trial Of A Time Lord. The installment broadcast on this day in 1986, part eight of the overall arc, was episode four of Mindwarp which was watched by 5 million viewers and broadcast at the ridiculously early time of 4.47pm! 

Our weekly Scottish Doctor's section is made up of part one of The Curse of Fenric and 2014's In The Forest of the Night. Respectively they were watched by 4.3 million and 5.03 million viewers.

Finally for this day we have episode one of Death of the Doctor. The Sarah Jane Adventures story was broadcast in 2010 and was watched by 0.92 million viewers, and featured a familiar face.... or two...

October 26th
Two from our favourite spoon-playing Doctor, starting with part four of Paradise Towers which was broadcast in 1987 and watched by 5 million viewers. The following year the fourth and final part of Remembrance of the Daleks had the exact same amount of viewers.

0.96 million CBBC viewers didn't have to wait long for the second part of the 2010 The Sarah Jane Adventures story Death of the Doctor.

Spoiler - he didn't die!

Although next week in Doctor Who history he will rejuvenate....

Did you watch any of these adventures live? Let us know in the comments below, we'd love to hear your memories of them.

Until next Sunday...

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