Call the Midwife and Coronation Street to go head-to-head

Miranda HartBBC One’s hit new drama Call the Midwife and ITV1‘s veteran soap Coronation Street each other are to go head-to-head.

Provisional schedules reveal the two shows will clash on Sunday 19th February. Call the Midwife has been a critical and ratings success for BBC One with audiences topping 10 million viewers; a second series has already been commissioned. ITV soap Coronation Street still commands big audiences, averaging 9 million viewers per episode, despite being over 50 years old now.

On Sunday 19th February the two shows will clash and the press will be sure to report, with glee, which series wins the “overnight” battle between them. However, neither Call the Midwife or Corrie is likely to lose in the long-term as audiences will be able to record either or watch later via on-demand platforms meaning the battle between them is only superficial.

ITV is moving Coronation Street to the Sunday evening because the Thursday evening edition will not be shown because of football coverage. ITV’s tight Sunday schedules at the moment, because of Dancing on Ice, means at this stage a clash between Corrie and Call the Midwife in unavoidable. ITV is already moving Dancing on Ice back to earlier in the evening to accommodate Corrie and to have enough room in its schedule to air African drama Wild at Heart straight after – though the broadcaster may still make changes to its line-up.

Alex Kingston and Keeley HawesThe BBC meanwhile is planning to launch the second series of Upstairs Downstairs immediately after Call the Midwife, which will be the 1950s drama last episode of the first series. The BBC will be hoping that the majority of the audience will stick with BBC One for Upstairs Downstairs and there is some logic to their thinking; both are period pieces and both are written by Heidi Thomas.

Interestingly later this year Coronation Street will move back to Sunday’s permanently as ITV has decided its Thursday evening slot has not worked out as well as it hoped. So further clashes between the Granada soap and BBC One’s big dramas may yet happen.

UPDATED: BBC have changed their schedule to avoid the clash, read more here >>