Saturday night's long-awaited Doctor Who 50th anniversary feature-length special has come and gone, leaving the BBC sci-fi show with an aftertaste of success as the similarly landmark ratings begin to make headlines. Outgoing Doctor Matt Smith was joined by other incarnations of the Doctor, including David Tennant, John Hurt and Peter Capaldi, as Whovians were gifted with a breakneck storyline, the likes of which have never been seen before on the show.

Doctor Who
'The Day Of The Doctor' Netted An Impressive Audience.

'The Day of the Doctor' soared ahead of ITV's The X Factor in ratings with an impressive average of 10.2 million during its 75 minute duration, peaking with 10.61 million viewers, compared to the talent contest's 7.7 million. However, Doctor Who did not manage to beat the BBC's Strictly Come Dancing which peaked at 11.7 million viewers with 10.6m average, according to BBC News.

Day Of The Doctor
Smith, Tennant & Hurt Appeared Together In The Special Episode.

Regardless of the special episode failing to win the Saturday night crown, 'The Day of the Doctor' was a lauded success, with fans, casual viewers, and critics all giving favourable nods to the one-off outing for Smith, Tennant, Hurt and co. The Doctors bantered with each other, showing off their distinct personalities, but also were very much one and the same when it came to "compassion, an acute intelligence and a formidable nose for danger," according to The Telegraph.

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The story played with the idea that for once the Doctor was the villain, by referring to a mass genocide that Hurt's incarnation of the Doctor had committed to stop "a great time war" and subsequently became "the last of the time lords."

Day Of The Doctor Matt Smith
Though Individual Performances Were Strong, Steven Moffat's Writing Was Particularly Praise-Worthy.

Den of Geek heralded the anniversary episode as a "labour of love" and joined others in singling out writer Steven Moffat. "I think what's really clever about it is that what he [Moffat] has managed to do is change the mythology of the character - which, after 50 years, is an achievement," said actor Matt Smith after the broadcast.

The Mirror concurred: "[Moffat has] put something together here that not only gives hardcore fans a beautiful reinvention of their favourite show but also gives casual viewers a stonking story and a reminder why we all love this show so much."

Day Of The Doctor David Tennant

Christmas Day is the date for the next Doctor Who episode where Matt Smith's Timelord will regenerate into Peter Capaldi's. Meanwhile, you can catch up with 'The Day of the Doctor' on the BBC's iPlayer.