EastEnders boss reveals reason for ratings drop after it ‘hit new low at 2.9m’

It was revealed last week that EastEnders reportedly hit a new low in the ratings at 2.9million viewers.

And now BBC drama boss Piers Wenger has explained the inconsistent airing schedule and shorter episodes are partly to blame for its lower ratings.

Although he said the show has ‘been particularly badly hit’ he is ‘focused on getting the show back into its usual slot and making sure it’s delivering.’ 

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Dip: EastEnders boss Piers Wenger has explained the inconsistent airing schedule and shorter episodes are partly to blame for its lower ratings

He went on to say that the team behind the show have every intention of lengthening the episodes, but ‘it’s not going to happen overnight’ despite them currently ‘addressing’ it behind the scenes. 

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He also mentioned that the Covid-19 pandemic had played a part in making the episodes shorter.  

He continued: ‘EastEnders has always been a BBC half-hour, whereas Corrie and Emmerdale and are commercial half-hours and, therefore, shorter so they’ve been impacted slightly less by shooting with COVID protocols, but we are working to get back to [it].’

Ratings: Although he said the show has ‘been particularly badly hit’ he is ‘focused on getting the show back into its usual slot and making sure it’s delivering’

Last week it was reported that the show hit a new low in the ratings at 2.9m. after it was beaten by a quiz show and a documentary about traffic police.

According to The Sun, a peak of 2.9 million people tuned in to last Monday’s episode of the BBC soap while Only Connect on BBC2 drew 3.1 million.

Meanwhile, ITV’s Beyond the Line: North Wales Traffic Cops drew an audience of 3 million at the same time.

An insider said: ‘This is further proof that EastEnders doesn’t have the same pulling power it once had.

Last week it was reported that the show hit a new low in the ratings at 2.9m. after it was beaten by a quiz show and a documentary about traffic police (pictured actress Charlie Brooks)

‘The same night, Emmerdale and Coronation Street enjoyed viewing figures that were more than 50 per cent higher. It’s an embarrassing situation.’

Only Connect sees contestants compete in teams to find connections between seemingly unrelated clues.

The BBC’s Media and Arts Correspondent David Sillito took to Twitter to point out the quiz show beat the soap.

He wrote: ‘I’m sure I’m not the first to spot it but on Monday evening ‘Only Connect’ was Britain’s most watched TV programme in its timeslot. 

‘@VictoriaCoren and chums even beat Eastenders. This is almost more exciting than the third place play-off.’

MailOnline has contacted representatives of EastEnders for comment.   

Ratings winner: Only Connect sees contestants compete in teams to find connections between seemingly unrelated clues (presenter Victoria Coren Mitchell pictured)

Viewers: The BBC’s Media and Arts Correspondent David Sillito took to Twitter to point out the quiz show beat the soap

It comes after EastEnders star Louisa Lytton spoke out on battling coronavirus soon after giving birth to her first child last month.

The actress, 32, who plays Ruby Allen on the BBC soap, welcomed daughter Aura with her fiancé Ben Bhanvra in September- but the couple both contracted coronavirus soon after the arrival of their newborn.

Louisa explained during an appearance on Loose Women on Thursday: ‘It was difficult because I had a long labour which resulted in an emergency C-section and just as we were finding our feet, we then both got Covid.

‘So it’s not been the best start, but she’s been fine throughout, so that’s all we can ask for really.’

Interview: It comes after EastEnders star Louisa Lytton spoke out on battling coronavirus soon after giving birth to her first child last month 

The star went on to explain she tried her best to prepare herself for parenthood but admitted she felt there was nothing that could ready her for becoming a mother. 

She said: ‘I just don’t think anything prepares you. I read every book, I spoke to every friend and she’s the best thing that’s ever happened to us, but it is tough.’

Louisa is currently taking time out from EastEnders after giving birth, but says she’d happily return to the show in the future, and may even let Aura star as her on-screen child.

‘Yeah I could,’ she said. ‘Definitely, if I go back, it’ll be with a child, whether she wants to be part of it, who knows.’

New parents: The star, who plays Ruby Allen on the BBC soap, welcomed her daughter with her fiancé Ben Bhanvra but they both contracted coronavirus soon after the birth

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  • EastEnders hits new ratings low as it’s beaten by documentary on Welsh traffic cops