'EastEnders' returning to weekly summer box sets to make way for sports coverage

The Albert Square sign on the set of EastEnders. (BBC)
EastEnders will premiere weekly on iPlayer over the summer. (BBC)

EastEnders is set to return to its summer shake-up of releasing weekly box sets of episodes to make way for a busy couple of months of sporting events.

The BBC One soap made the innovative move of releasing batches of a week's worth of episodes at a time in summer 2021 as much of the channel's air time was given over to matches for the delayed 2020 Euros.

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Now, EastEnders will return to its summer schedule of premiering episodes weekly on iPlayer to make sure that viewers don't have to miss any of the big sports events coming up over the summer.

From June 27 until mid-August, every Monday the four episodes due to be aired that week will drop on iPlayer, giving fans the chance to binge watch all at once, catch up when it is convenient for them, or watch the episodes as they air on BBC One.

WARNING: Embargoed for publication until 00:00:01 on 08/03/2022 - Programme Name: EastEnders - January-March 2022 - TX: 15/03/2022 - Episode: EastEnders - January-March 2022 - 6451 (No. 6451) - Picture Shows: ***EMBARGOED TILL TUESDAY 8TH MARCH 2022*** Phil Mitchell (STEVE MCFADDEN), Kat Moon (JESSIE WALLACE) - (C) BBC - Photographer: Jack Barnes/Kieron McCarron
Phil will make a lethal enemy in prison. (BBC)

Last summer, EastEnders episodes still aired on BBC One too, but the schedule was different to usual to accommodate the football with air times and days changing from week to week.

Major sporting events that could potentially play havoc with the soaps schedules in summer 2022 include Wimbledon, the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, the UEFA Women's Euros which is being hosted in England, the Tour de France, golf with the 150th Open Championship at St Andrews, and more athletics at the European Championships in Munich.

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In 2021, ITV's soaps also released box sets of episodes to make way for England's Euros campaign, but it is unclear at the moment whether they plan to do the same this year.

Mitch Baker (second right) with his brother Avery (second left) and nephews Finlay (left) and Felix (right). (BBC/PA)
Mitch Baker (second right) with his brother Avery (second left) and nephews Finlay (left) and Felix (right). (BBC/PA)

EastEnders' executive producer Chris Clenshaw said: “With such a big summer of sport ahead, box setting all four episodes again this year feels like the perfect solution to enable EastEnders viewers to choose when and where they want to get their weekly fix from Albert Square. We have a big summer ahead so this is the perfect way to ensure that no one has to miss out.”

Albert Square is set for a dramatic summer as Phil Mitchell makes a lethal enemy in prison, his sister Sam settles back into Walford while hiding her true intentions for returning, and Mitch Baker's family join him in the form of three new cast members.

EastEnders will release weekly box sets on iPlayer at 6am on Mondays from 27 June to 15 August.

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