Rotten Tomatoes deletes all the early user reviews for Doctor Who: Season 12

Something strange is happening with Rotten Tomatoes’ user reviews.


Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes has scrubbed all the initial user reviews for season 12 of science fiction drama Doctor Who from its site.

YouTuber Sheila Allen, who previously drew attention to the Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker being stuck at 86%, discovered that the Rotten Tomatoes user reviews for Doctor Who season 12 had been purged sometime between January 9 and January 11.

Season 12 premiered on January 1 and since that date, hundreds of user reviews had been posted to Rotten Tomatoes with the overall Audience Score being both Rotten and declining.

After the season had accrued its first 145 reviews on January 4, it had a Rotten Audience Score of 39%.

Doctor Who: Season 12 was rated Rotten and had a 39% Audience Score on January 4 (Wayback Machine - Rotten Tomatoes - Doctor Who: Season 12)
Doctor Who: Season 12 was rated Rotten and had a 39% Audience Score on January 4 (Wayback Machine – Rotten Tomatoes – Doctor Who: Season 12)

Over the next five days, more than 200 additional user reviews were posted and the score dropped to 32%.

Doctor Who: Season 12 was rated Rotten and had a 32% Audience Score on January 9 (Wayback Machine - Rotten Tomatoes - Doctor Who)
Doctor Who: Season 12 was rated Rotten and had a 32% Audience Score on January 9 (Wayback Machine – Rotten Tomatoes – Doctor Who)

Then sometime between January 9 and January 11, all these user reviews were deleted from the site.

By January 11, all the initial user reviews for Doctor Who: Season 12 had been deleted (Wayback Machine - Rotten Tomatoes - Doctor Who: Season 12)
By January 11, all the initial user reviews for Doctor Who: Season 12 had been deleted (Wayback Machine – Rotten Tomatoes – Doctor Who: Season 12)

Now when browsing through the current user reviews for season 12, the oldest reviews are just two days old. Some of these reviews also mention that the user’s previous review “vanished” and so they’re posting their review again.

Some users are reporting that their previous review “vanished” (Rotten Tomatoes - Doctor Who: Season 12)
Some users are reporting that their previous review “vanished” (Rotten Tomatoes – Doctor Who: Season 12)

Although hundreds of user reviews were deleted, the downward trend for the Audience Score has continued with it currently sitting at just 7% with 465 user reviews.

Doctor Who: Season 12 is currently rated Rotten and has a 7% Audience Score (Rotten Tomatoes - Doctor Who: Season 12)
Doctor Who: Season 12 is currently rated Rotten and has a 7% Audience Score (Rotten Tomatoes – Doctor Who: Season 12)

It’s not clear why Rotten Tomatoes mass deleted these early reviews from the site. Much of the criticism from the early reviews appeared to be focused on:

  • The political correctness and social justice themes in the show
  • The degradation in the quality of the show since its early days
  • Bad acting, writing, and dialogue
These archived user reviews from January 4 to January 9 show criticism of the Doctor Who: Season 12’s themes, quality, story, and acting (Wayback Machine - Rotten Tomatoes - Doctor Who: Season 12)
These archived user reviews from January 4 to January 9 show criticism of the Doctor Who: Season 12’s themes, quality, story, and acting (Wayback Machine – Rotten Tomatoes – Doctor Who: Season 12)

These criticisms are still prevalent in current reviews for Doctor Who: Season 12.

Current user reviews show similar criticisms of the Doctor Who: Season 12’s themes, quality, story, and acting (Rotten Tomatoes - Doctor Who: Season 12)
Current user reviews show similar criticisms of the Doctor Who: Season 12’s themes, quality, story, and acting (Rotten Tomatoes – Doctor Who: Season 12)

Regardless, the removal of these user reviews comes at the same time as a huge divide between fans and critics is developing on Rotten Tomatoes. The critics’ Tomatometer score is sitting at a Fresh 82% while the Audience Score is at just 7% – a huge 75% gap.

It’s also the latest of several strange occurrences surrounding user reviews scores on Rotten Tomatoes. The Audience Score for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is still at 86%, despite there now being over 90,000 user reviews. As we reported previously, the score appears to have been stuck at 86% ever since it gained 6,231 user reviews and there are several strange patterns in the reviews that have been submitted.


Tom Parker

Tom Parker is a head contributor for Reclaim The Net and provides news and analysis on how we can promote free speech, stop censorship, and protect our personal data online. [email protected]