Media / Talk of the trade: EastEnders foil James Bond

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The Independent Online
THE BBC is pleased with the overnight ratings for the first Monday edition of EastEnders this week: 11m, against 8.7m for the first hour of the James Bond film on ITV. On its other two days the BBC soap usually wins about 12m viewers, but against weaker opposition.

Meanwhile the dispute rumbles on about the future of World in Action, whose Monday night slot has become a casualty of this contest. Granada's current affairs series is likely to stay off the air until July, apart from one or two possible slots after News at Ten (to use up programmes already made).

The odds are, though, that World in Action will return to a peak-hour slot on a different day of the week. It had an average audience of 8.1m last year, with a high of 11.2m for an edition about juvenile crime. (The 1988 average was only 5.5m.) Several times it drew larger audiences than the hour-long drama that followed it.

Its fate will depend partly on inter-company politics. Although the Granada/LWT group rivals Carlton/Central overall, the latter wields the major influence on the weekday schedule. Maybe the answer would be to schedule World in Action on Friday or Sunday, when LWT pulls the London strings.

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