BBC axes EastEnders Sunday omnibus

Fans in uproar as BBC1 soap's weekly round-up shifts to midnight on Friday nights

Say goodbye to lazy Sunday lunchtimes in front of the EastEnders omnibus: the weekly Walford round-up, which has been shown on Sundays on BBC1 since the soap’s debut in 1985, has moved to late on Friday nights.

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The new scheduling kicked in on 6 April, but was only confirmed as a permanent arrangement on the EastEnders website yesterday. This weekend the omnibus will air at 12:05am on Friday night/Saturday morning, concluding at 2am. It has the same slot the following week.

An EastEnders spokeswoman told RadioTimes.com: “Viewers now catch up on EastEnders through a variety of means such as the PVR, our BBC3 repeat or on iPlayer. We’ve therefore decided to move the omnibus slot to later on Friday nights. This slot is closer to the original transmissions and will be more consistent as it will not need to be moved for sporting commitments.”

Some fans on the programme’s site, however, do not see it that way. “I have trouble staying awake until midnight, let alone 2am,” wrote one. “That means I will miss my favourite soap. Why have you done this?”

“I will be out partying on a Friday night as opposed to staying in to catch up with EastEnders,” complained another fan. “Why would they want to lose viewers? Sundays are made to stay in bed and catch up with soaps! The BBC are making a huge mistake!”

On 6 April, the first Friday-night omnibus – shown at 11:30pm – attracted 477,000 viewers, compared to 792,000 for what turned out to be the last ever Sunday omnibus, at 1:05pm on 1 April.

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What do you think? Will you miss the Sunday Easties omni? Should the BBC change its mind and move it back? Or is a broadcast round-up unnecessary these days, when you’ve got iPlayer and Sky+? Vote below…