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Last Updated: Wednesday, 22 September, 2004, 11:59 GMT 12:59 UK
EastEnders loses out to Emmerdale
Albert Square
Viewers have said EastEnders needs stronger plotlines
Audience figures for EastEnders dipped sharply on Tuesday as the soap failed to counter competition from an hour-long episode of Emmerdale.

Unofficial overnight ratings showed the BBC One total at only 6.2m compared to 8.1m for ITV1's Emmerdale.

It comes only a day after EastEnders' executive producer Louise Berridge quit over falling ratings.

A spokeswoman for the BBC said: "It's incredibly difficult when the soap opera audience is split."

Lost appeal

She said the dip in viewers was unusual as the soap had maintained a steady average over the summer.

On Tuesday, EastEnders attracted only a 30% share of viewers, whereas the ITV soap took 41.5%.

On the previous Tuesday, 9.6 million watched EastEnders, when it was screened against Champions League football on ITV1.

The figures do not take into account viewers who record programmes to watch later.

'New challenges'

Ms Berridge left to "move on to new challenges" after ratings fell from an average of 13 million at the start of 2004 to 11 million in June.

I think it has lost its appeal because of complacency
Maxine, London, UK

In July she defended the soap after a Mirror newspaper survey found that 57% of viewers thought it had lost its appeal.

More than half of those questioned thought EastEnders needed stronger plotlines.

Emmerdale took home three prizes from the British Soap Awards in May, compared to seven for EastEnders.

Kathleen Hutchison, currently executive producer of BBC One hospital series Holby City, is to take over Ms Berridge's role at EastEnders.




SEE ALSO:
EastEnders chief quits programme
21 Sep 04  |  Entertainment
EastEnders actor gets flight ban
20 Sep 04  |  Entertainment
EastEnders producer defends soap
29 Jul 04  |  Entertainment
EastEnders wins battle of soaps
08 May 04  |  Entertainment
Emmerdale bosses talk to Kensit
25 Jan 04  |  Entertainment
Emmerdale's Seth returns home
07 Nov 03  |  South Yorkshire


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