'Brookside' chief predicts five-night week for soaps

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The Independent Online
Every major soap opera on television will soon be broadcast five times a week, the creator of Brookside, Phil Redmond, predicted yesterday.

The millionaire producer warned that the sheer economics of competition would force the networks to dominate broadcasting with wall-to-wall Coronation Street, EastEnders, Brookside and Emmerdale.

Mr Redmond, 46, who owns Mersey Television, which makes Brookside and the teen soap Hollyoaks, said: "I am quite sure we will go to five nights. It is a financial decision for Channel 4 to make, but I would be extremely surprised if they did not."

Brookside has experimented with showing five nights a week, most recently last year when it did one-off specials covering the discovery of Trevor's body and the trial of Beth and Mandy. But a Channel 4 spokesman said there were no plans to extend the show. "There are several issues involved. One is the cost. But another is whether you can keep up the quality."

Industry insiders acknowledge the logic of showing the major soaps every weekday night, but point out that Crossroads had to be cut back from five nights to raise its quality.

Coronation Street announced plans to go four nights a week last year, but with the fourth episode likely to be on Sunday.

Alan Yentob, controller of BBC1, has denied plans to extend EastEnders. But he added: "One can't be po-faced about this. Clearly those serials are of huge value to the audience."

Both EastEnders and Coronation Street regularly attract 18 million viewers compared with a core Brookside audience of five to six million.