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Saturday, 11 August, 2001, 12:16 GMT 13:16 UK
EastEnders wins soaps showdown
EastEnders has beaten Coronation Street in the ratings as the two popular soaps clashed in the TV schedules for the first time.

In the Friday night 8pm showdown, BBC One's EastEnders recorded 8.4m viewers, while ITV's Coronation Street was watched by 7.3m.

The figures meant EastEnders was watched by 41% of the television audience, while Coronation Street was watched by 36% of viewers.

But ITV's viewing figures were well ahead of BBC One's over the evening as a whole.

An earlier hour-long episode of Emmerdale helped ITV to achieve a peaktime audience of 7.9m - 45% of television viewers.

Mel from Eastenders
The drama of Mel's kidnap continued in Eastenders
This was against 5.3m, or 30% of the total audience, for EastEnders: It's Your Party, on BBC One between 7 and 8pm.

Friday's broadcast was the first of a new regular fixture for EastEnders, which has been increased from three to four times a week.

But the first-ever head-to-head is unlikely to become a regular occurrence.

Coronation Street had been moved from its usual 7.30pm slot to make way for a special hour-long episode of Emmerdale.

Initially ITV bosses had been furious at the scheduling, accusing the BBC of dirty tricks by engineering the showdown.

But BBC bosses insisted that they had always had their eye on the 8pm slot and had not intentionally set up a clash.

The Street's Tracy Shaw
The Street's Tracy Shaw is rival female talent to Tamzin Outhwaite
From next week Coronation Street will return to its usual 7.30pm slot, in which it has been broadcast since 1996.

The National Grid said the head-to-head failed to produce a huge power surge.

But bosses of both dramas made sure that fans had a difficult choice of which one to watch with big storylines in both soaps.

In EastEnders the drama of Mel's kidnap continued as Dan made a ransom demand of 100,000 from both Steve and Phil.

But Corrie hit back with the unfolding story of runaways Roy and Hayley who are avoiding the authorities after bolting to protect their foster son Wayne.

Bookmakers had EastEnders as favourite to win the ratings battle on Friday, largely because of the hype surrounding the extra episode.

The action in Albert Square carried odds of 2/5 compared with 7/4 for the events in Weatherfield.

See also:

10 Aug 01 | TV and Radio
Soaps battle in TV showdown
02 Mar 01 | Entertainment
EastEnders brings record ratings
22 Mar 01 | TV and Radio
The ups and downs of TV ratings
19 Feb 01 | Entertainment
First month laurels to ITV
16 Jul 01 | TV and Radio
Home and Away returns
25 Jul 01 | TV and Radio
EastEnders gets fourth episode
22 May 01 | TV and Radio
Queen honours Street stalwart
08 Dec 00 | Entertainment
40 years on the Street
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