Former EastEnders boss takes swipe at the soap – “It has gone the wrong way”

“I think that it has not been brilliant in the last few months," says Diederick Santer

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Diederick Santer, a former executive producer at EastEnders, has criticised the current state of the BBC1 soap.

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Santer (show boss between 2006 and 2010), took aim at recent storylines, commenting that EastEnders has “gone the wrong way”.

The Guardian reports him as saying on the opening day of the Edinburgh television festival: “I think that it has not been brilliant in the last few months.

“I think Sean O’Connor is a brilliant producer who did brilliant work at The Archers. I don’t really know what has gone on but I have not found it massively watchable in recent months. But it is cyclical.”

Talking about what he saw as having gone wrong, Santer added: “It’s about balance. It always has to walk a line and this is where I think it has gone the wrong way lately.

“It has to walk the line between social realism and stuff that is exciting, stuff that grips you and makes you gasp – and you have to tune tomorrow to see it. You don’t want to see it on iPlayer; you want to see it live.

“Maybe that is what it has lacked just lately, finding a sort of a universality and a scale in those everyday stories.”

Jenna Russell (centre) as the recast Michelle Fowler, with Adam Woodyatt (left) and Letitia Dean (right)
Jenna Russell (centre) as the recast Michelle Fowler, with Adam Woodyatt (left) and Letitia Dean (right)

Sean O’Connor stepped down as executive producer in June, following a controversial period in charge in which he oversaw the deaths of the Mitchell sisters and recast Michelle Fowler, while his back-to-basics approach to storytelling alienated some viewers.

John Yorke – who during his original time on EastEnders was responsible for the ‘Who Shot Phil?’ plotline as well as the death of Ethel Skinner – has now been brought in as creative director on a temporary basis.

Diederick Santer is now the chief executive officer at Kudos, the production company responsible for Broadchurch, Grantchester and Apple Tree Yard.

In other EastEnders-related news, it was reported today that a gas explosion to be screened next month will claim the life of one of the soap’s main characters.

You can watch a 60-second rundown of next week’s episodes of EastEnders below

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