On Friday something previously considered impossible happened. Coronation Street was beaten in the ratings by the programme on BBC One at the same time.
It’s thought this has only happened before in special circumstances such as when an episode of Corrie clashed with a major live sporting fixture.
But on Friday, Beyond Paradise – a spin-off from Death in Paradise – beat The Street by just over 1m viewers in the overnights.
It should be stressed that Coronation Street’s ratings were normal – instead Beyond Paradise shored up large numbers of those seeking an alternative.
It’s a reminder that the fortunes of the two main channels are no longer as closely intertwined as they used to be in an era where multichannel TV is taken for granted.
So does this add to the argument that big soaps have had their day?
Frankly ITV 1 will not be bothered. As long as Corrie’s numbers are good, it doesn’t matter if another channel occasionally wins the slot.
But there should be a lesson for BBC commissioners and schedulers.
Schedulers should realise that BBC One can beat Corrie and Emmerdale when if provides a high quality alternative. The slots opposite these soaps are no longer a death zone.
Those of a certain age remember when BBC One would often schedule serious programmes opposite Corrie as there was no point wasting the slot on entertainment or popular drama.
It was also the place where long-running programmes in decline seemed to be sent to die – Doctor Who in the 80s, Top of the Pops in the noughties.
It also adds to the strategic argument that EastEnders – now the loser in nightly battles with Emmerdale – should have a different strategic role.
We’ve noticed how the BBC seems to be losing strategic interest in soaps and continuing dramas.
Does the success of Beyond Paradise in that slot add to the argument I made a few weeks ago? Namely that the BBC should focus primarily on high quality series with limited runs.
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