BBC spent £700,000 on EastEnders episode - TV & Radio - Media - The Independent

BBC spent £700,000 on EastEnders episode

The BBC spent almost £700,000 on its anniversary half-hour live episode of EastEnders last year, a new report has revealed.

Corporation bosses earmarked an extra half a million pounds - over and above normal costs - to fund the 25th anniversary programme.



The figures are revealed in a report by the National Audit Office (NAO) into the way the BBC manages the costs of continuing drama, which also shows the Walford soap will spend nearly £7 million on cast this year.



It found the cost of six key dramas, including EastEnders and Casualty, has reduced by a fifth in real terms over the past eight years.



However with audiences declining, the NAO study also found the cost per viewer for the six programmes had actually risen by almost 9% in real terms over the same period.



The NAO concluded a lack of formal objectives for the dramas meant it was unable to say whether the BBC was actually delivering good value.



But it said the corporation had taken "important steps" towards achieving value for money with its cost-savings.



The NAO looked into UK-wide shows Casualty, Doctors, EastEnders and Holby City, plus the Scotland-only series River City and Wales's Pobol y Cwm which cost a total of £102.5 million in 2009/10.



The report details how the cost per viewer for EastEnders is a third of that for Casualty.



The hospital drama is the most expensive drama in the report at 9.4p per viewer, while EastEnders - the cheapest - costs just 3.5p.



Albert Square's live episode cost a total of £696,000 the NAO report showed, which included the extra £500,000 to fund expenses such as extra cast and outside broadcast facilities.



It proved to be a huge audience hit with 16.6 million watching on BBC1 in February of last year, and it was the most-watched drama of the year. A BBC3 spin-off straight after set a new record for a digital audience in the UK.



A live episode of ITV1's Coronation Street last year, to mark the soap's 50th birthday, is said to have cost up to £1 million - although that did involve staging a tram disaster, with large sections of the set in rubble, plus CGI effects.



A request to find out the cost of the EastEnders episode under Freedom Of Information legislation had previously been rejected.



Two-fifths of the cost of the live episode - which represents the standard cost of an episode - came from the show's £29.9 million budget for 2009-10.



Figures in the report show the EastEnders overall budget has been reduced by £6 million from six years earlier, although it is still the largest of the six shows under consideration.



The report reveals EastEnders will spend £6.9 million on cast this year with a further £2.6 million on scriptwriters and story advisors, which accounts for 32% of the budget - the same proportion as the previous year.







Amyas Morse, head of the NAO, said: "The BBC is doing a good job of applying basic financial controls and achieving steady cost reduction across its portfolio of continuing dramas.



"However, it should take a more holistic approach and compare the cost of these programmes with audience levels and opinions, both targeted and achieved, as these are critical measures of broadcast performance, and a key guide to whether the continuing dramas are delivering value for money."



BBC1 controller Danny Cohen said: "Continuing drama on BBC1 delivers high-quality British programmes that reach huge and appreciative audiences.



"Today's NAO report shows costs have dropped by 20% but at the same time, audience appreciation has risen considerably. On this basis, it provides excellent value for money for licence fee payers across the UK."







The BBC Trust said it was pleased with the finding of a 20% real terms reduction in costs.



Trustee Anthony Fry, who is responsible for value for money, said: "The report shows the BBC has made real progress in delivering value for licence fee payers, an excellent achievement of which the BBC can feel proud.



"Popular, long-running dramas like EastEnders sit at the heart of the BBC schedule, generating loyalty from audiences as well as an environment for new writing, acting and production talent to flourish. They cost viewers less than they did 10 years ago, while audience approval is on the up."

News
John Travolta is a qualified airline captain and employed the pilot with his company, Alto
people'That was the lowest I’d ever felt'
Life and Style
healthIt isn’t greasy. It doesn’t smell. And moreover, it costs nothing
News
peopleThe report and photo dedicated to the actress’s decolletage has, unsurprisingly, provoked anger
Property
Home body: Badger stays safe indoors
property
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
News
The programme sees four specialists creating what they believe are three perfect couples, based on scientific matchmaking. The couples will not meet until they walk down the aisle together
tvUK wedding show jilted
Arts and Entertainment
US pop diva Jennifer Lopez sang “Happy Birthday” to Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow, president of Turkmenistan
musicCorporate gigs become key source of musicians' income
Arts and Entertainment
You've been framed: Henri Matisse's colourful cut-outs at Tate Modern
artWhat makes a smash-hit art show
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'
filmsDaniel Craig believed to be donning skis as 007 for first time
Sport
Mikel Arteta pictured during Borussia Dortmund vs Arsenal
champions league
Voices
Yes supporters gather outside the Usher Hall, which is hosting a Night for Scotland in Edinburgh
voicesBen Judah: Is there a third option for England and Scotland that keeps everyone happy?
Arts and Entertainment
Pulp-fiction lover: Jarvis Cocker
booksJarvis Cocker on Richard Brautigan
Arts and Entertainment
Robin Thicke and Pharell Williams in the video of the song, which has been accused of justifying rape
music...and he had 'almost no part' in writing it
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Head of Marketing - London

Negotiable: Ashdown Group: Interim Head of Marketing / Marketing Manager / Dig...

Brand Manager / Account Manager

£28 - 36k (DOE): Guru Careers: A Brand Manager / Senior Account Manager is nee...

Sales Executive

£20 - 24k (Uncapped Commission - £35k Year 1 OTE): Guru Careers: We are seekin...

Director of Programming and Industry Engagement

£40k - £50k depending on experience: Sheffield Doc/Fest: Sheffield Doc/Fest is...

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week