Around 10.4m viewers tuned in to see David Tennant’s final outing as Doctor Who on New Year’s Day, according to early figures.
And the figure rose to 10.6m towards the end of the 75-minute episode, to see the Doctor regenerate into his 11th incarnation, played by actor Matt Smith.
Smith will now take over the role in the next series of the show which is due to begin in the spring.
Tennant’s final words onscreen were “I don’t want to go,” as he bid farewell to some familiar faces – while Smith made his debut with the line “I’ve got legs! I’ve got legs!”
The show was the highest rated in its time slot, beating Coronation Street into second place with 8.6m viewers.
However both had lower ratings than the episode of EastEnders which followed and attracted an audience of around 11.6m.
The Doctor Who episode was a continuation of the story The End Of Time which began on Christmas Day.
It saw the Doctor battling against his arch nemesis The Master – played by actor John Simm – who had turned every human being into a clone of himself, thus paving the way for the Time Lords to return.
Catherine Tate and Bernard Cribbins were among the co-stars, while John Barrowman and Billie Piper made guest appearances.