BBC Doctor Who branded 'woke' and 'unwatchable' as TV ratings plummet following return to screens

BBC Doctor Who branded 'woke' and 'unwatchable' as TV ratings plummet following return to screens

WATCH HERE: Doctor Who features non-binary character in new Ncuti Gatwa series

Alex Davies

By Alex Davies

Published: 13/05/2024

- 14:33

The new series with Ncuti Gatwa at the helm kicked off on Saturday night

Doctor Who fans have been left well and truly divided by the latest regeneration of the long-running sci-fi show.

Helmed by Russell T Davies and fronted by new Doctor Ncuti Gatwa and his sidekick Ruby (Millie Gibson), the latest series' style always promised to break away from its predecessors - none least thanks to a huge injection of funding from Disney.

The series is shipped in the US via streaming service Disney+ and its CGI and increase in production value were plain to see throughout the double-bill opener.

Fans were introduced to Gatwa's Doctor as well as a new crop of baddies, including the Bogeyman and controversial new villain Maestro (Jinkx Monsoon).

The Doctor's new adversary is played by American drag artist Monsoon, who has since gone viral following the show's return for correcting another character for using "him" pronouns incorrectly.

There were also cameos for Strictly Come Dancing favourites Shirley Ballas and Johannes Radebe as the second episode of the double-bill ended with a bizarre musical number.

BBC Doctor Who

BBC Doctor Who: Ncuti Gatwa's new series kicked off at the weekend


There were some semblances of Doctor Who from yesteryear, however, with a mention of the classic character the Rani, as well as the Doctor's adopted home planet of Gallifrey.

But all in all, the overhaul of the sci-fi show to seemingly incorporate gender politics and change the look of the series has left plenty to be desired by many watching at home.

In fact, the overnight ratings for the BBC One premiere on Saturday night consisted of an underwhelming 2.6 million and 2.4 million per instalment of the doubleheader, according to TV Zone.

It is worth noting that these figures do not take into account streaming figures on iPlayer, on which the episodes were released prior to their broadcast on BBC One on Saturday evening.

BBC Doctor Who: Maestro

BBC Doctor Who: Maestro was played by drag queen Jinkx Monsoon


Following the return of Doctor Who, social media was soon awash with reactions to the double bill, with many unimpressed with the show's new look.

One X user slammed the new series and its new look: "After the cast and crew told the old #DoctorWho fans to stop watching in favour of the 'modern audience', the current season's 2-episode premiere received the lowest overnight ratings in the show's HISTORY!!! #RIPDoctorWho."

A second took aim at the new villain: "The Maestro was probably one of the worst things I've ever seen. No exaggeration. #RIPDoctorWho."

Meanwhile a third fumed: "#RIPDoctorWho Wow. Well Dr Who is totally unwatchable now. Maybe have a Dr Who series again instead of a platform for gender politics and radical left wing ideology? Go woke go broke."

And a fourth weighed in: "The last couple seasons of #DoctorWho were mediocre at best as it begun it's slide into an #LGBTQ agenda. I noticed there was a new run so I started to watch it only to find it landed, hard in the lgbtq / trans agenda. #RIPDoctorWho."

"Can confirm, the show is trash now. #RIPDoctorWho," another added before a sixth commented: "It's pretty bad when we can look back at Jodie Whittaker and Chris Chibnall & say it's not as bad as what Disney & RTD have done to Doctor Who. #RIPDoctorWho."

However, there was still some support for Gatwa's debut in the role, including one fan who argued against the backlash: "Absolutely LOVED Ncuti’s first two episodes (Devil’s Chord more). You can throw as much negativity as you like at us for this, but it won’t change our mind that we LOVE #DoctorWho in its current form! Thankful for RTD, the cast & crew, and for all that’s yet to come!"

A second also praised: "Just watched #DoctorWho and while Space Babies was just fine I absolutely LOVED The Devil’s Chord - a ridiculously fabulous camp romp with one of the greatest ever performances from Jinkx Monsoon."

BBC Doctor Who: Maestro and the Doctor

BBC Doctor Who: Fans were divided by the new look show


"No spoilers - but loved it. Welcome back #DoctorWho," a third simply surmised.

Prior to making their debut in the second episode of the series, Monsoon addressed the new look to the series, defending showrunner Davies' creative approach.

"Sci-fi has always been queer," they said. "Anyone who tells you otherwise is delusional. There are prominent writers, directors, producers who are queer in these fields. And it just hasn't really been able to be talked about and a lot of them nowadays are done being silent."

The newcomer added that there has been "so much queer progress" in society, but feels in the entertainment industry "there's still been this thing of queer people behind the cameras.

"And only certain palatable society-approved queer people get to be in front of the camera. What I really love about this Doctor Who season is it saying: 'To hell with that'," she said according to the BBC.

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