Published: 09.27 Europe/London, May 20, 2011

The first episode of the new Doctor Who series has become the most recorded UK TV programme of all time. The Impossible Astronaut saw the Doctor and his companions travel back to witness the 1969 moon landings. It also saw the introduction of The Silence, a new alien race, questioned by some elements of the press as being two frightening for teatime viewing.

In addition to The Silence, the Doctor was also facing an earlier than usual start to the programme and a warm Easter Saturday evening.

Audience figures of 4.11 million were originally perceived as being disappointing for the return of the long running series. However, analysis by Kantar Media of the BARB audience data found that when recordings had been taken into account the audience had climbed to 8.9 million. A massive 4.1m viewers chose to ‘time shift’ the show by watching a recording of the show either later that day (known as VOSDAL – Viewing On Same Day As Live) or during the following week.

Dalia Gereis, commercial director, Kantar Media Audiences, said: “Increasingly viewers are using their own ‘time travel’ abilities to watch TV shows when they want them – this particularly applies to dramas and ‘must see’ reality shows. Given that these figures do not include data from online catch up services like BBC iPlayer and ITV Player, it is clear that judging a show’s performance just by looking at its overnight viewing figures is unlikely to give the full picture.”

The Doctor Who episode beats the previous high recorded by the Christmas Day showing of comedy Come Fly with Me.