EastEnders fans are worried about the show’s future after it was announced that it would air as a boxset every Monday, with each week’s episodes available on BBC iPlayer starting at 6 a.m.
The Euros, which begin on June 14 and run for three weeks, are obviously the reason for this.
Football, as has always been the case, takes precedence over soap operas, so EastEnders episodes will be streamed to avoid the inevitable scheduling nightmare.
Fans, on the other hand, aren’t having it, and believe the move is a test for a future in which EastEnders episodes are only available on iPlayer.
One user on the Digital Spy forums wrote: “The end appears to be approaching for EE, as it begins its transition to the Iplayer only, rather than the BBC. Ratings will plummet as a result of this.”
“The BBC are determined for EastEnders to go the way of Brookside, aren’t they?” another fan speculated. “That truly started to go down the pan once C4 messed around with the schedule.”
“By the end of the decade, at the very least, EastEnders will be off the air.”
“What’s that you can hear?” a user named Shamelessness asked on the dedicated EastEnders fansite WalfordWeb. Is this the end of EastEnders? Is a coffin being hammered with nails? ”
Fans can rest assured, however, that the soap will not be moving permanently anytime soon.
While the BBC declined to comment when contacted by MyLondon, producer Jon Sen stated that the move is intended to give fans more choices in how they watch the Albert Square drama.
“We’re excited to give EastEnders viewers the ability to choose when they tune in to all things Albert Square,” he said.
“With the inevitable scheduling changes due to the Euros, which we’ll be celebrating in Walford on-screen, boxing all four episodes will ensure everyone gets their dose of drama and football fans won’t miss out,” says the executive producer.
“We hope the endless streaming options on BBC iPlayer keep viewers content over the next few weeks, whether they binge-watch them all in one night, spread them out over a few days, or continue to watch the episodes play out on BBC One.”