EastEnders in ratings slump with quiz show Only Connect getting more viewers

EastEnders appeared to be struggling to stay afloat in the ratings battle as the BBC soap lost out to one episode of quiz show Only Connect in the latest figures this week.

Monday, October 4, saw only 2.9 million fans tuning in to watch the latest Albert Square drama, which was a number beaten by BBC Two's game show as well as ITV documentary series Beyond the Line: North Wales Traffic Cops.

The loss was a painful milestone for the gritty East London long-running series, but some were excited for Only Connect's rare success.

The series is presented by host Victoria Coren Mitchell, and managed to attract 3.1 million viewers during its Monday night instalment.

While Beyond the Line had an audience of 3 million people, meaning EastEnders was only just behind both.

The BBC's Media and Arts Correspondent David Sillito teased the take-over was "exciting" and praised BBC Two's programme win on his Twitter page.

He tweeted: "I'm sure I'm not the first to spot it but on Monday evening 'Only Connect' was Britain's most watched TV programme in its time slot. @VictoriaCoren and chums even beat Eastenders. This is almost more exciting than the third place play-off."

The fun show tasks contestants with finding connections between different clues in a bid to win some prize money.

In response Victoria also joked about the figures, as she said: "Nothing is more exciting than the third place play-off."

The BBC's statement on the surprising ratings switch-up offered that the change in streaming and how people watch TV could have impacted the change.

This means while the ratings low on Monday could seem disastrous for the soap, in reality the figures will be totted up from different platforms over time, along with various repeats on BBC One.

"EastEnders is one of the most popular shows on BBC iPlayer and has been streamed 305 million times in the past year which shows the audience know they have the option to choose when and where they watch it," the spokesperson said.

Over the years, EastEnders has attracted some record-breaking numbers for their Christmas episodes, which have regularly beaten all competition in the same time slot.

However, this summer the soap had its lowest ever viewing figures during the Euro 2020 football tournament.

While some episodes were cut down by 10 minutes, the BBC also made the decision to put an entire week's worth directly onto iPlayer to ensure fans still got to watch their favourite soap.

Unfortunately, this meant that one episode's individual viewing figures dropped to an abysmal 1.7 million viewers in July.

"Throughout the Euros and the Olympics, EastEnders have been dropping the entire weeks episodes on iPlayer every Monday giving the audience the choice to watch when and where they choose so it's no surprise that the overnight audience has been impacted," a spokesperson told MailOnline at the time.

"EastEnders has been streamed 51 million times since this began, making it one of iPlayer's most popular shows."

EastEnders continues Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday on BBC One.

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