End of the road for EastEnders? Soap’s future thrown into question as its views plummet, falling behind competitors

7 July 2023, 14:43 | Updated: 7 July 2023, 22:10

Sources allege the show could be in its 'final days'.
Sources allege the show could be in its 'final days'. Picture: Alamy

By Jenny Medlicott

The future of EastEnders has been thrown into question as the once iconic show’s views take a hit over accusations of 'desperate' and 'woke' storylines.

EastEnders once drew in up to 30 million viewers as one of the UK’s most watched soaps, among other classics such as Coronation Street and Emmerdale, but now the show’s future is in jeopardy as viewers have dwindled to around a million.

Audience members have allegedly grown frustrated by the show’s plot lines, arguing they’ve become too absurd in a desperate plea to regain viewers, including a recent plot which saw the return of a character from the dead.

Others have accused the show of going ‘woke’, as some MPs criticised the show’s political references.

And now reports suggest it’s a “worrying time” for the show and its remaining fans, as The Sun reported the show could be in its “final days”.

Read More: Brexit and climate change: Storylines that caused EastEnders viewers to switch off as soap’s future thrown into question

A source said: “'It's a worrying time for EastEnders. It used to be the show which everybody was talking about but it's now in a precarious position where older viewers are switching off, and younger viewers have no interest.

“Bringing back presumed dead characters is a desperate move which rarely works, but EastEnders is really running out of options. We could be watching its final years.”

It follows recent reports that the show has faced questions over its decision to splurge £87m on a new set.

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Cindy Beale, played by Michelle Collins, recently returned to the cast.
Cindy Beale, played by Michelle Collins, recently returned to the cast. Picture: Alamy

But one insider contradicted this suggestion, they said: “EastEnders still remains an institution as far as the BBC is concerned and the feedback is that young people are loving it...

“They were particularly glued to the recent pregnancy storyline where 11 year old Lily Slater announced she was having a baby. The figures are nowhere near what they were but as far as the bosses are concerned there is a huge appetite.”

Addressing the claims made agains the show, a spokesperson for EastEnders told MailOnline: “EastEnders episodes are made live to the audience at 6am every morning on BBC iPlayer giving the audience the choice to watch when and where they choose...

“So when episodes are moved to a different day, or channel, due to a live sporting  event it is no surprise that this is reflected in the regular overnight audience...

“Over the last two weeks EastEnders has been streamed almost 18 million times on BBC iPlayer and remains one of iPlayer's most popular programmes.”

The show is falling behind its competitors, Coronation Street and Emmerdale, according to new figures which show they attract around four million per episode.

Some of the soap’s most renowned characters have spoken about how they felt it was going downhill, including Danny Dyer who previously said of his character: “I didn’t quite know who I was playing anymore.”

He also made reference to his encounters with former fans of the show who had told him they stopped watching.

Despite the soap’s attempt to call back former fans, such as with the return of Cindy Beale, its efforts has failed to have the desired upturn.

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