For the past three months, Yorke has had EastEnders back on his viewing schedule (he reckons to watch 340 hours of TV a year). What went wrong with it while you were away? "Soaps have to be character-led. It became a bit too plot-led. It was the Brookside syndrome - just pursuing sensationalism. That's very dangerous. Audiences just don't believe you after a while." Why then not kill off EastEnders, just as Brookside was terminated while you were at Channel 4? "You couldn't do that! EastEnders saved the BBC." But that was 20 years ago. "No, it is part of the BBC1's DNA now, it's vital to the channel.
Monday, April 25, 2005
John Yorke, controller of continuing drama series and head of independent drama, tells Stuart Jefferies in Media Guardian (free registration required) why, having returned to the BBC from Challen 4, he still believes in EastEnders.