Jodie Whittaker helped to draw in viewers for new drama Trust Me, in which the incoming Doctor Who star took on the role of a deceitful medical professional.
She also received high praise from critics, who widely commended her for her portrayal of a desperate nurse masquerading as a doctor in the fraught programme.
The first episode of the four-part BBC One series drew in an average of 4.3 million viewers, and a peak of 4.4 million, when it aired at 9pm on Tuesday.
Trust Me’s overnight ratings were higher than those for the final episode of the latest series of Doctor Who.
The sci-fi series’ finale, which saw outgoing Doctor Peter Capaldi begin to regenerate, aired on Saturday July 1 and saw an average of 3.8 million fans tune in.
Jodie will be the 13th person to play the Doctor, and her outing in Trust Me left fans feeling increasingly excited at the prospect of seeing her as the Time Lord.
Critics were impressed with her portrayal of Cath Hardacre, a nurse driven to stealing her senior doctor friend’s identity after being fired from her job for whistleblowing, but the show itself did not garner such high praise.
Jodie was praised by The Telegraph’s Ed Power for being “sublime” in the role, despite the drama – penned by doctor and writer Dan Sefton – around her being “often as rickety as a dodgy nose job”.
The Guardian’s Sam Wollaston said that, while the part does not give away any clue as to what kind of Doctor Who she will be, she was “warm and watchable”.
Wollaston added that “this part doesn’t give her the opportunity to show the wit that I hope she will bring to the Tardis, and which that role requires”.
Den of Geek’s Louisa Mellor said that Jodie was “luminous”, although the first episode was “just a bit dull”, due to viewers being so strongly on Cath’s side.
Mellor added that “Whittaker is a rare talent when it comes to conveying conflicted emotion” but that Trust Me’s script has not allowed her to show “what she can do”.
Gabriel Tate wrote in The Times: “The Tardis is in safe hands: if the Doctor-in-waiting, Jodie Whittaker, can sell Trust Me, beating the Daleks will be a doddle.”
The Independent’s Sean O’Grady said that Whittaker gave a “solid” performance, and that it was “enough to make one care about her fate, which is the point”.
Armchair critics were quick to have their say on the new drama, too, using Twitter as their platform.
Which comments about the show and Jodie were positive over all, some found flaws – most centred around employment and medical procedures – that niggled at their enjoyment.
All fair points, but we are happy to suspend disbelief on the finer details.
Trust Me continues next Tuesday at 9pm on BBC One.