It was a poor performance for EastEnders last night as the once powerful soap made its return.

The return of EastEnders last night attracted only 3.35 million viewers to BBC One.

The episode went out at the strange time of 8.05pm, but had been heavily trailed across the BBC as well as in the tabloid press and online news sites.

EastEnders was forced off-air in mid-June having run out of material that was filmed before coronavirus lockdown restrictions came into force in March. The BBC One soap returned to filming in June using new filming techniques such as Perspex screens, CGI and real life family members as supporting artists. The length of the new episodes have also been cut from 30 minutes to 20 minutes.

Elsewhere, Coronation Street was watched by 5.5 million viewers at 7.30pm on ITV.

Coronation Street and Emmerdale managed to remain on-air during lockdown and returned to filming earlier than EastEnders did.

Monday evening also saw the return of Channel 4 soap Hollyoaks with scenes filmed before production stopped in March. The episode at 6.30pm was watched by 606,000 viewers.

On Sunday, EastEnders revealed that Chantelle Atkins will die at the hands of her husband Gray in the culmination of the domestic violence storyline. Chantelle’s efforts to escape her abusive marriage will have “ultimately fatal consequences”, the BBC said.

EastEnders airs Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday on BBC One and is also available anytime on BBC iPlayer.

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