John Yorke, controller of drama production at the BBC, has claimed that every bad episode of EastEnders loses the soap 5,000 viewers. Yorke also discussed the impact of changing viewer habits on soaps in general in an interview with The Guardian.

In an interview with The Guardian John York, drama production controller at the BBC, claimed that every bad episode of EastEnders loses the soap 5,000 viewers. Yorke was discussing the impact of changing viewer habits on soaps in general and how in the multi-channel ages soaps must maintain standards to keep its audiences – bad episodes of EastEnders costs the BBC soap viewers it doesn’t get back.

 

There has been a decline in soap audiences just as there has been a decline in channel share but as a rule of thumb, I don’t panic unless EastEnders’s audience declines more than channel share. We’ve been getting audiences of 1.5 million on BBC3 as well as over 1m requests on iPlayer regularly,” he added. “Viewing isn’t about habit any more: you have to work hard to attract an audience. The audience is still there – the 20 million viewers we got for our 25th anniversary episode proved that – but we’ve got to be better than we’ve ever been. I believe that every time you put out a bad episode you lose 5,000 viewers who never come back” – John Yorke in The Guardian

EastEnders celebrated its 25th anniversary earlier this year with a special live episode in February which was the climax of its Who Killed Archie Mitchell storyline. The episode was seen by nearly 20 million viewers and saw the dramatic departure of Bradley Branning (Charlie Clements). EastEnders has been averaging 8 million viewers in recent weeks but this is mostly because of the summer with families and viewers opting to holiday during the season – in winter months the soap averages 9 million viewers per episode. Yorke was Executive Producer on EastEnders between 2000 and 2002 and was credited with revitalising the soap with the introduction of the Slater family.

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