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EastEnders to return to 30-minute episodes

EastEnders to return to 30-minute episodes
© BBC
The BBC's head of drama Piers Wenger says that EastEnders will return to full 30-minute episodes in the near future.

BBC drama head Piers Wenger has confirmed that EastEnders will return to full 30-minute episodes in the near future.

The soap was forced off air for almost three months last year due to the coronavirus crisis, and when it finally returned episodes were reduced in length to between 20 and 25 minutes.

ITV rivals Coronation Street and Emmerdale avoided going off air and have also each been airing six 24-minute episodes a week for more than a year, but EastEnders is still running short.

As a result the soap has suffered from inconsistent scheduling - coinciding with a ratings slump that has seen it watched by fewer viewers than BBC Two quiz show Only Connect.

"It's absolutely our intention for EastEnders to return to its original running time, it's something we're very aware of and we're working on addressing as we speak," Wenger said in quotes reported by The Sun.

"It's not going to happen overnight, there are very obvious reasons why we've had to make shorter eps.

"EastEnders was always a BBC half hour while Corrie and Emmerdale are commercial half hours so shorter, so they've been impacted slightly less by shooting with COVID protocols."

EastEnders and other TV productions have been able to operate without most legal restrictions due to COVID since mid-July.

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Sharon and Phil have a tense chat on EastEnders on June 8, 2020
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