Sunday 21 January 2018

Eastenders boss Sean O'Connor leaves soap after just one year as ratings plummet

Producer Sean O'Connor
Producer Sean O'Connor Newsdesk Newsdesk

Eastenders boss Sean O'Connor has left the BBC after a series of controversial storylines and a drop in ratings.

The executive producer (49) had been in his role for just over a year and is now leaving to pursue film production. Ratings for the show have considerably dropped in recent months, with 4.5 million viewers tuning in last week, a significant decline from the 6.2 million who tuned in for September.

Former boss John Yorke, who has a senior role in BBC, will temporarily step in until a permanent choice is decided. There are reports that morale had dropped on set, according to The Sun.

Some of O'Connor's decisions including the controversial deaths of Ronnie and Roxy Mitchell and introducing a new set of characters, including Dean Gaffney's Robbie Jackson in a comeback performance.

He confirmed his departure in a statement, saying: "I’ve had an amazing time at East­Enders. Working with the editorial staff, cast and crew at Elstree has been an absolute privilege.

"They are the kindest, most loyal and hard-working team in the business. But my heart lies in ­feature films and I’m hugely excited as my film projects are now reaching production.

"When the BBC asked me to take over, my plan was to stay until the end of 2017. But with production starting on these films sooner than anticipated, I must, with a heavy heart, bid farewell to Albert Square."

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