Wednesday, March 02, 2005

EastEnders gets no Charity from Emmerdale

In a head-to-head battle of the soaps last night, BBC1's EastEnders was roundly beaten by Emmerdale on ITV1.

Both had hour-long specials - EastEnders to make up for a lost show on Friday when Comic Relief will squeeze the show out of the schedules, and Emmerdale to mark the departure of one of their most high profile characters, Charity Dingle.

On average during the hour from 7-8pm 6.3 million people watched the BBC while 9.1 million saw Charity leaving Emmerdale, according to unofficial overnight ratings, reported in Media Guardian (free registration required).
A spokeswoman for BBC1 played down the ratings figures, by saying EastEnders suffers when it has to go head-to-head with Emmerdale in the same slot as "the soap audience is split".

"It's par for the course when we go head-to-head. We had to do an hour-long episode because Comic Relief on Friday means we'll miss an episode then. But Emmerdale had a massive story-line, whereas we just had regular episodes," she said.

The lowest ever audience for EastEnders was 6.2 million - a 30% share - recorded on September 21 2004 when Ian Beale declared his love for café manager Jane Collins.

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