EastEnders repeats to move from BBC3 to W (the new name for UKTV’s Watch)

Pay-for channel to take over BBC3’s Walford repeat from next month - and will also be getting a new (shorter) name

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EastEnders same-day repeats are moving from BBC3 to W (the new name for UKTV channel Watch) from next month.

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The narrative repeat of the Walford-based soap will air on W the same day as the BBC1 screening from February. It will also introduce a weekend omnibus broadcast of the soap when as the channel relaunches with a new name, new look and new shows.

The move, which comes in the same month that BBC3 is taken off air, is likely to offer a massive boost to the viewing figures for the UKTV subscription channel.

The EastEnders repeat on BBC3 is nearly always its highest rated programme on the nights it is shown, regularly attracting audiences of around half a million viewers.

Other W shows include a new factual entertainment format Get Me To The Church and Nev’s Indian Call Centre following larger-than-life boss Nev Wilshire of hit-BBC3 show, The Call Centre. 

Explaining the new name and line-up, the channel said in a statement: “UKTV has spotted a demographic growth area for W in 30 to 39-year-old women and their partners, husbands and family, with whom they share a love of smart entertainment.”

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Steve North, W’s general manager, added: “We have a treasure trove of compelling original commissions, our own crown jewels. Plus the gold standard of US acquisitions, combined with the best shows from the BBC. We want to dazzle our viewers and have evolved and honed this entertainment channel, building a schedule that entertains but never patronises.”