When John Yorke took over as Executive Producer (Consultant) in June 2017, fans talked about the beginning of a “New Era” for EastEnders. They believed that Yorke would boost ratings higher than the previous executive producer (EP). It looked like we were heading in that direction. In fact, there was a rating boost during the holiday episodes. (I thought the Christmas and New Year’s Day episodes were awesome!)
However, there’s only so much audience information you can include in a 200+ word Tweet.
Since then, some avid fans have shared weekly episode ratings on Twitter™. However, there’s only so much audience information you can include in a 200+ word Tweet. While it appeared that more viewers were tuning into EastEnders, I still had one unanswered question: Did Yorke’s holiday episodes bring in higher audiences than previous EPs, Sean O’Connor and Dominic Treadwell-Collins?
A New Ratings Era?
I was never interested in ratings when watched American soaps. The shows I enjoyed the most had my favorite characters and storylines. That’s how I feel about EastEnders. As long as I enjoy the characters and the storylines, I will still be a fan of the show. So, when the buzz started about Yorke sorting out EE and boosting ratings, I was curious.
That’s when I decided to do my own research to find out if there was a rating difference between the three EPs. (I also needed to practice a school lesson using Google Sheets. This was the perfect opportunity.) The most anticipated episodes of the year air during Christmas & New Years, so I focused on those two weeks.
Although technology has advanced, I never thought about counting ratings for television viewing on other devices.
I found the information quickly on the Broadcasters’ Audience Research Board (BARB) website. Television show ratings are consolidated; they include overnight (first run) and catch-up (online and DVR) viewing. This is why it takes a few weeks to gather final ratings. Although technology has advanced, I never thought about counting ratings for television viewing on other devices. (I love it when I learn something new!)
Once I gathered all of the research and designed my graphs, the data was quite interesting. So, let’s compare the EPs…
Dominic Treadwell-Collins, Executive Producer (until May 2016)
Sean O’Connor, Executive Producer (until June 2017)
John Yorke, Executive Consultant, (First Credited Episode Aired November 27, 2017)
When you compare the holiday-week ratings, Yorke’s episodes were lower than Treadwell-Collins and O’Connor’s episodes. However, there are a few points to remember:
- Yorke was completing storylines that were in place prior to his arrival in June. Although his name appeared in the credits in November, he may have made changes and/or edits as early as September;
- This is only a small sample of episodes. It doesn’t include ratings from Yorke’s previous role as EP.
It’s going to take more time before we can call Yorke’s second tenure on EastEnders a rating success. Although the Christmas and New Year’s Day episodes received positive reviews, response to episodes after the holidays have been mixed. Some of the criticism has focused on continuity of storylines and unexplained character disappearances. (Maybe Luke Browning/Wilmington-Brown was just a dream.)
So, if you’re a fan looking for EastEnders to be “sorted out quickly,” you may have to be patient. Hopefully, in time, Yorke will live up to your expectations.