EastEnders ‘same night repeat’ dropped from UKTV channel W.
“The contractual period for airing EastEnders on W has come to an end and we currently have no plans to transmit future episodes. W continues to evolve as a channel, with a focus on brand new UKTV Originals. Upcoming shows include Flack, the channel’s first ever scripted drama series, Emma Willis: Delivering Babies and Inside The Vets.” – Steve North, UKTV, quoted in Broadcast
The repeat was picked up by UKTV for its premium entertainment channel W in January 2016 as a result of the closure of BBC Three. The broadcasts began in February of the same year as part of a revamp of the station, which had previously been called Watch. The switch to the commercial network for the beeb soap’s rescreening also saw W re-introduce the EastEnders weekend omnibus which had been dropped from BBC One due to declining ratings.
UKTV have not blamed poor ratings on the decision to end their EastEnders output, instead noting that the channel is to focus on ‘original programming’ which has proved successful for W and other channels in the UKTV portfolio such as Gold, Drama and Really.
Broadcast report that a contract wasn’t terminated, instead the two-year deal to show the ‘same night repeat’ of EastEnders was not renewed. The deal expired earlier this month the report adds. A new home is currently being sought for the repeat.
EastEnders airs Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays on BBC One at 7.30pm or 8pm. The ‘same night repeat’ was first introduced by BBC Choice, later rebranded BBC Three, along with a number of EastEnders spin-off ventures including a regular behind-the-scenes documentary series and ‘best of’ countdowns such as love triangles, duff-duffs and weddings.
In a fixed 10pm slot, BBC Three’s repeat showing of EastEnders enjoyed good ratings for a long while until it was moved later in the evening in the channel’s latter days. Similarly, W has recently moved their same night screening from 10pm to 11pm shredding most of the repeat audience in the process while BBC One’s erratic scheduling of the omnibus also eroded away that audience.
UKTV has previously repeated EastEnders in full from its very first episode on its Gold channel in the days when it aired classic soap opera as well as comedy.