EastEnders to go head to head with Emmerdale in big schedule change


EastEnders has announced new scheduling that will see it air head to head against Emmerdale.

The BBC has revealed its soap will move to a permanent 7:30PM slot, airing Monday-Thursdays from March.

The move follows ITV announcing schedule changes for its soaps, with Emmerdale airing weeknights at 7:30PM and Coronation Street moving to hour-long episodes on Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 8PM.

As a result it means both Emmerdale and EastEnders will air at the same time for four nights a week.

Meanwhile, the BBC has also revealed that is daytime soap Doctors will get a regular primetime repeat, airing Monday – Thursdays at 7PM on BBC Two. Doctors will continue to air in its usual lunchtime slot at 1.45pm on BBC One.

As well as watching shows live on TV, viewers can catch up online on either the BBC iPlayer or ITV Hub.

BBC Studios’ continuing drama chief Kate Oates said of the changes: “We’re delighted that, from 7th March, there will be new regular time slots for EastEnders on BBC1, and Doctors on BBC2.

“Both shows have a loyal following; and this new simplified schedule means it’s even easier for viewers to get their fix, as well as being able to watch whenever and wherever they choose on iPlayer.

“A 7pm time slot gives a whole new audience chance to enjoy the drama in Leatherbridge; while EastEnders’ new 7.30pm slot begins with a hugely exciting week, as killer Gray Atkins is finally exposed.”

The shake up comes after ITV revealed plans to air an extended hour-long news programme weeknights at 6:30PM.

Presented by Mary Nightingale, ITV’s new news show will “offer the same high quality, accessible, and trusted journalism and will build on one of the key features of the current programme, strong on-the-ground reporting from outside of London, putting people at the heart of ITV’s coverage”.

ITV’s Managing Director of Media and Entertainment, Kevin Lygo said of the move: “The nation’s two most popular continuing dramas, Coronation Street and Emmerdale, are fundamental to the success of ITV, and we know that, as with all dramas, viewers increasingly watch them whenever, and however they choose.

“The new scheduling means that viewers can watch them live on TV in one go in a continuous soap fix, as well as on ITV Hub where they are regularly in the most watched shows every month.”

The changes will take effect from March 2022.