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For Doctor Who fans, Christmas Day includes a special episode of the series, which is currently in its mid-season hiatus. BBC America reported the numbers for this year's Christmas episode, Doctor Who: The Snowmen, and the increase from last year's Christmas episode is substantial, with a 54% increase in total viewers.
BBC America says Doctor Who: The Snowmen's Christmas telecast was the channel's best ever in demo, bringing in 1.434 million total viewers and 807,000 in the 25-54 demo in Live+SD. The Christmas special falls behind the Doctor Who Season 7 premiere (1.555 million), which aired last fall and is the channel's best telecast ever in P2+L+SD.
Spoilers if you haven't seen Doctor Who: The Snowmen!
Perhaps we can call this ratings success the Clara effect. Or more fittingly, the Jenna-Louise Coleman effect, as the actor appeared in the highly rated Season 7 premiere and returned for a new (sort of) role in the Christmas special. But it seems likely that the ratings spike had to do with fans being eager to tune in to meet the Doctor's new companion, played by Coleman. The introduction of Clara led to an interesting mystery about the that left fans wondering what Clara's deal is, as she's died numerous times. From the teaser for the second half of Season 7 of Doctor Who, that mystery will be explored further as the series progresses.
Regardless of why people tuned in, what's evident is that Stateside, Doctor Who is as popular as ever.