Former EastEnders executive producer Dominic Treadwell-Collins has criticised the decision to move the show around Women’s World Cup matches.
The popular BBC soap has been shunted around the schedule in recent weeks, owing to live coverage of events from the football tournament, which has seen England’s Lionesses progress to a semi-final clash against the USA.
On Thursday, the show received the lowest ratings in its history, pulling in just 2.4 million viewers.
EastEnders was moved to 7pm, clashing with ITV soap Emmerdale, in order to accommodate coverage of England’s 3-0 victory over Norway.
ITV won that particular ratings battle, as their show earned twice the audience, with 4.9 million viewers tuning in.
Treadwell-Collins, who served as executive producer on EastEnders between 2013 and 2016, blamed scheduling movement for the show’s struggles.
Every time #EastEnders starts to rebuild its viewers’ loyalty after a fallow period, it’s moved around in the schedules for the bloody football. Move the football around #EastEnders. It’s en fuego at the moment. https://t.co/pRWoQHbhwt
— DomTreadwellCollins (@dominictc) June 29, 2019
He said: “Every time EastEnders starts starts to rebuild its viewers’ loyalty after a fallow period, it’s moved around in the schedules for the bloody football.
“Move the football around EastEnders. It’s en fuego at the moment.”
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Veteran soap actor Natalie Cassidy, who plays Walford resident Sonia Fowler, shared the producer’s sentiments, retweeting his message to her followers.
The BBC has announced that there will not be an episode of EastEnders tonight, as the semi-final match is being broadcast live from 7.30pm.
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In a statement regarding the schedule changes, an EastEnders spokesman said: "With the growing popularity of this year’s Women’s World Cup, it was decided that BBC One viewers should have the opportunity to watch as many of the matches as possible.
"Although this meant a late schedule change for EastEnders this week, we are confident that our audience know they can watch EastEnders on BBC iPlayer as we have already seen a significant number of viewers watching this week’s episodes."