ITV has denied it had an ulterior motive in scheduling Manchester based soap Coronation Street before the National Television Awards on Wednesday evening.
Tony Warren created Corrie for ITV Granada back in 1960.
Coronation Street was broadcast at 7.00pm (GMT) on the night followed by the ceremony which saw the soap win in the ‘Most Popular Drama Serial’ category. The network’s rural saga, Emmerdale, which usually airs in that slot, was shunted to Tuesday evening – in an hour long edition – to make way for Corrie. However, ITV has denied accusations it made the change to keep the veteran soap fresh in the minds of viewers while voting was still open.
An anonymous insider quoted by The Mirror, supposedly from the BBC, criticised the move saying:
“It seems ITV will stop at nothing to win NTAs. The stars tweet reminding people to vote – then they put a big Corrie episode on moments before the show starts. It is such an obvious tactic and not the first time they have played unfairly when it comes to the NTAs”.
An equally anonymous ‘ITV source’ hit back saying “These claims of a fix are just sour grapes. The best soap won and our ratings are better than EastEnders’ too, averaging 9.2 million”
An official statement from ITV read: “Last year Coronation Street was broadcast on Monday, Thursday and Friday but in 2013, it is going out on a Wednesday. Viewers expect to see it midweek, which is why it was rescheduled to 7pm to make way for the NTAs”
Of course it could be argued that Emmerdale fans also expect to see the Yorkshire soap on a Wednesday evening at 7.00pm.