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Doctor Who: Hell Bent – Poll Results & Series 9 Number Crunch

For the past week you’ve been voting in our rate the episode poll for Hell Bent. We’ve now closed the poll and you can view the results below:

Last year’s finale garnered a mixed response, and while Hell Bent certainly proved to be divisive, the overall response was one of general approval, with over 50% giving the episode top marks:
  • Excellent (5/5) – 56.1%
  • Very good (4/5) – 20.73%
  • OK (3/5) – 10.98%
  • Poor (2/5) – 4.88%
  • Dreadful (1/5) – 7.32%
Hell Bent had an average score of 4.13/5, a solid score that bests last year’s finale. That completes our full Series 9 leaderboard, showing how TGT voters ranked the episodes. Hell Bent slotted in towards the middle in seventh place:
  1. Face the Raven – 4.57
  2. The Witch’s Familiar – 4.55
  3. The Zygon Inversion – 4.53
  4. The Magician’s Apprentice – 4.454
  5. Heaven Sent – 4.450
  6. Under the Lake – 4.37
  7. Hell Bent – 4.13
  8. Before the Flood – 4.054
  9. The Zygon Invasion – 4.048
  10. The Girl Who Died – 3.98
  11. The Woman Who Lived – 3.85
  12. Sleep No More – 2.92
Beating several fan favourites on the way, the emotional late entry of Face the Raven is your Series 9 leaderboard winner, with The Witch’s Familiar and The Zygon Inversion taking silver and bronze. When ranked together, the series averaged 4.16/5.

The Number Crunch

With the series having wrapped up, it’s time to take a look at how it’s fared as a whole. Comparing it to Series 8, the average score is actually down a notch on that series’ average of 4.19, which would seem to imply consistency but a slightly less positive reception. However, when episodes are compared episode for episode in a ‘dream run’ (episode 1 v episode 1 and so on), a very different story emerges:
Dream Series 8/9 Run
  • Episode 1 – The Magician’s Apprentice (0.25 up on last year’s episode 1)
  • Episode 2 – The Witch’s Familiar (0.68 up on last year’s episode 2)
  • Episode 3 – Under the Lake (0.71 up on last year’s episode 3)
  • Episode 4 – Listen (0.49 down on last year’s episode 4)
  • Episode 5 – The Girl Who Died (0.02 up on last year’s episode 5)
  • Episode 6 – The Caretaker (0.15 down on last year’s episode 6)
  • Episode 7 – The Zygon Invasion (0.52 up on last year’s episode 7)
  • Episode 8 – The Zygon Inversion (0.06 up on last year’s episode 8)
  • Episode 9 – Flatline (Sleep No More was a whopping 1.52 down on last year’s episode 9)
  • Episode 10 – Face the Raven (1.22 up on last year’s episode 10)
  • Episode 11 – Heaven Sent (0.02 up on last year’s episode 11)
  • Episode 12 – Hell Bent (0.17 up on last year’s episode 12)
As shown above, Series 9 is rampant when compared episode for episode – just three episodes of Series 8 beat the equivalent episodes of Series 9. For a further comparison of the two series, here’s the full, combined leaderboard for the Capaldi era thus far:
Last Christmas, which gained an average score of 4.0/5, is not included in order to keep the number of episodes per series equal.
Series 8 & 9 Combined Leaderboard
  1. Face the Raven – 4.57
  2. The Witch’s Familiar – 4.55
  3. Listen – 4.54
  4. The Zygon Inversion – 4.53
  5. Flatline – 4.48
  6. Mummy on the Orient Express – 4.47
  7. The Magician’s Apprentice – 4.454
  8. Heaven Sent – 4.450
  9. Dark Water – 4.43
  10. Under the Lake – 4.37
  11. Deep Breath – 4.20
  12. Hell Bent – 4.13
  13. Before the Flood – 4.054
  14. The Zygon Invasion – 4.048
  15. The Caretaker – 4.0
  16. The Girl Who Died – 3.98
  17. Time Heist – 3.96
  18. Death in Heaven – 3.95
  19. Into the Dalek – 3.87
  20. The Woman Who Lived – 3.85
  21. Robot of Sherwood – 3.66
  22. Kill the Moon – 3.53
  23. In the Forest of the Night – 3.35
  24. Sleep No More – 2.92
This is a slightly more even indication than the like-for-like, mirroring the generally similar levels of approval of the averages but still tipping the balance in favour of Series 9, which makes up six of the top ten. The result for the discrepancy, then? That’d almost certainly be Sleep No More, shown here to be by far the least popular episode of the Twelfth Doctor’s era thus far with TGT voters, with that very low score dragging down the average to below Series 8 despite Series 9’s more robust performance up to and after that point.

Best Writer

Series 9 saw seven different writers pen at least one episode – but who came out on top of the writers list? Here’s a leaderboard of average scores for each writer:
The episodes Moffat co-wrote are excluded from his count, so he’s only counted as writing 4 episodes here.
  1. Sarah Dollard – 4.57/5
  2. Steven Moffat – 4.40/5
  3. Peter Harness – 4.29/5
  4. Toby Whithouse – 4.21/5
  5. Jamie Mathieson – 3.98/5
  6. Catherine Tregenna – 3.85/5
  7. Mark Gatiss – 2.92/5
With the acclaimed Face the Raven, it’s Sarah Dollard who takes Jamie Mathieson’s crown as writer of the year here. Steven Moffat, with his four, positively received instalments, came second, with Peter Harness rebounding from last year’s divisive reception from Kill the Moon to scoop third. Intriguingly, aside from Sarah Dollard at the top, it’s notable that writers who wrote multiple episodes actually did better than writers with just one, which is the opposite of what you’d expect.
The Episode Categories

Using the results from Series 8 and 9, it’s possible to work out a set of categories roughly denoting what level of reception each average score indicates. With that in mind, here’s where Series 9’s episodes generally sat (often, the category can mean two things):
4.5/5 and up – Fan favourite.
This is the highest category for an episode, reached by just four episodes this era thus far. If an episode breaks into this category, it’s both considerably acclaimed and not very divisive (with very few negative scores to bring the average down), indicating an episode that’s become an instant fan favourite. Three episodes of Series 9 slotted into this category:
  • Face the Raven
  • The Witch’s Familiar
  • The Zygon Inversion
4.3-4.5 – Very positive

This is a narrower category than most, but several episodes of this era have slotted into this margin. This category indicates an episode that receives a substantial amount of praise and has done very well indeed, but with the caveat that there’s less outright love and/or a higher level of divisiveness than the fan favourite episodes. Three more episodes of Series 9 slotted into this category.
  • The Magician’s Apprentice
  • Heaven Sent
  • Under the Lake
3.9-4.3 – Generally positive
This is a category that indicates a reception that’s predominantly positive with a majority of 4/5 and 5/5 votes, but the response is slightly more measured once more. This was a very common category in Series 8. Often, especially towards the lower end of this category, the amount of 4/5 votes can eclipse 5/5 votes. 

In a few rare cases, this category also accommodates an episode that’s highly divisive – receiving a high amount of 5/5 votes but also a substantial amount of negative responses to drag it down. The most notable example of this is Hell Bent, which received a lot more 5/5 votes than Under the Lake but received a surprisingly high amount of 1/5 votes, which dragged it down into this category. Four episodes of Series 9 slotted into this category:
  • Hell Bent
  • Before the Flood
  • The Zygon Invasion
  • The Girl Who Died
3.5-3.9 – Mixed reception

There’s still plenty of positivity to go around in this category, but the responses here are divided, with a substantial amount of votes in the lower categories and a restrained amount of 5/5 votes. This indicates a mixed response of some kind, with too much divisiveness for a verdict to be had either way. Just one episode of Series 9 slotted into this category:
  • The Woman Who Lived
3.0-3.5 – Considerably divisive

This indicates a reasonably even spread of votes – a very mixed response with tepid levels of positivity. This is still mixed, but with far more negativity in there, indicating an episode that’s tipping into negative territory. No Series 9 episodes joined In the Forest of the Night here.

2.5-3.0 – Generally negative & extremely divisive

This category indicates a response that’s now generally negative – a thumbs-down verdict from TGT voters with a considerable amount of negativity. This wouldn’t have existed for Series 8, but a certain episode in Series 9 required its invention:
  • Sleep No More

So, there you have it. A divisive series as usual, but one that seems to have gone down a little more warmly in places than last year, the average-lowering Sleep No More excepted. We’ll have a new poll at Christmas for The Husbands of River Song!