Word on the Web: EastEnders’ late night Omnibus

Tradition over changing viewing habits, that has been the clash this week as the BBC move the Sunday afternoon edition of EastEnders to a late night slot.

The BBC says that the new late night “slot is closer to the original transmissions and will be more consistent as it will not need to be moved for sporting commitments.”

As viewing habits also change the BBC feel the slot can be put to better uses on Sunday afternoons. EastEnders can currently be viewed via a number of alternative options such as Sky+ recordings, Virgin Media’s On-Demand and BT Vision replay.

The BBC also offer the episodes for consumption on the online iPlayer and the regular 10pm BBC Three repeat.

EastEnders has, like all ‘modern’ soaps, come under criticism for airing graphic scenes at 7.30 or 8pm and the Sunday omnibus seemed ever further out of place for such storylines.

The Word on the Web has been mixed…

Ninny posted on the BBC website, “i have trouble staying awake until midnight ,let alone 2am.that means i will miss my favourite soap. why have you done this?”

While over on Digital Spy Kez Richards said, “roasty and eastenders is a tradition! sundays will never be the same.” On the same site Thomas Anthony Evans added, “This has been a tradition for many years… but as long as It’s replaced with some GOOD DECENT content – what’s the big deal? Repeats on BBC Three & catch-up on iPlayer not enough? EE Fans don’t be so utterly ridiculous.”

At the SoapChat forum BilBob20 said of the move, “I quite like the idea. I agree that some of the content has long been inappropriate for a sunday afternoon slot. Besides, BBC shove it all over the place now – it doesn’t seem to have a regular slot on a sunday. So giving it a new regular slot might improve viewers who perhaps dont bother to keep up with it all week and just wanna watch the weeks events all in one.”

Square Eyes on TV Forum noted that the omnibus at midnight “would have been better if it had been BBC Three.” While Brekkie added, “I doubt it’ll be permanent either – they’ll quietly drop it altogether when nobody is looking.”

Back at the BBC online, “Now they tell me. Too late to check if I really did see a microphone in the scene with Ian and Dot on her sofa. Bah!” said Ladyhedgehog.

And JackyP mocked, “This is Ridiculous, I’m normally so drunk in a Night Club at this point, although a good idea would be to project Eastenders onto the wall of the night club and distribute headphones to everyone on the dance floor that would rather watch Eastenders.”

“There’s nothing better than EastEnders on a Sunday morning when you’re stuck in with a hangover from the weekend!” Said MrsSuperman on SoapChat.

Digital Spy readers continued, “Can’t believe some of the people telling sob stories about no Eastenders on a Sunday over roast dinner! PMSL! It’s called Iplayer or Sky+ or online! Why do people moan about stupid things like this!” said David Conway.

“Makes perfect sense. Television is changing, and the way people think about watching television is changing. A omnibus is simply not needed, particularly on the Britain’s No.1 Channel on a day where most people are off-work. it’s repeated on BBC Three every night, it’s available on iPlayer, iPlayer is pretty much available anywhere! We can record it on Sky Plus…this was always going to be the case.” Said Matthew Wolstenholme.

And Sunshineboy at SoapChat concludes, “Good move! I caught it last night and it was really good … i dont think EE is appropriate viewing for sunday afternoon anyway it’s far too adult for little kids to be exposed to.”

EastEnders has aired an omnibus continuously since its launch in 1985. In recent times the catch up has been at varying times across the Sunday schedules and has even been switched over to BBC Two to make way for sporting events. The first late-night omnibus drew in 477,000 viewers. The final Sunday afternoon edition reached 792,000 people.