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Last Updated: Monday, 29 September, 2003, 16:01 GMT 17:01 UK
EastEnders switched off in US
The show has performed badly on BBC America
EastEnders has been taken off air in the US after suffering disastrous ratings on BBC America.

The show aired for the last time on the broadcaster's commercial cable channel on Saturday because it was losing the network most of its viewers.

Hundreds of fans have expressed their disappointment at the move in web discussion groups.

But a spokeswoman said unlike many successful UK imports, the soap was not getting a large enough audience.

She said: "EastEnders ratings have consistently under-performed compared with the rest of BBC America's schedule, despite inheriting one of the channel's strongest audiences and promotional support.

Barbara Windsor as Peggy Mitchell
EastEnders is among the UK's most-watched programmes
"On average over the past year, BBC America lost 69% of its audience share when EastEnders came on...

" When other programming resumes... there is a sharp increase (up 84%) in the audience."

The spokeswoman said the show had attracted "a band of passionate fans" for the London-based soap.

But she said: "The audience simply isn't big enough to justify keeping it on the channel.

"As with all US basic cable networks our programmes have to attract ratings and advertisers to maintain their position in the schedule."

A string of UK shows are hits on the channel, including comedy The Office, reality makeover shows Changing Rooms, Ground Force and What Not To Wear, and the latest hit - the racy sitcom Coupling.

Some viewers were not impressed with the BBC's decision to drop the soap.

"What do they expect when they show the entire 2.5 hours omnibus on a Saturday afternoon when most Americans are either at work or watching/recording football/baseball etc?" said viewer Angela Lee.

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