EastEnders is one of the most successful BBC programmes of recent years. Previous studies have concentrated on the text, its reception and its audiences. This article examines the project to get EastEnders on air from an institutional viewpoint. EastEnders was launched at a critical moment in the corporationâs history and was intended to demonstrate the BBCâs ability to produce popular programming. However, this required change both in the way programmes were commissioned and resourced, and in terms of professional culture at all levels of the organization. Using interviews with participants and internal documentation the article highlights problems, discussions and solutions involved.
(Reprinted by permission of Sage Publications Ltd from McNicholas, Anthony (2004) Wrenching the machine around: EastEnders, the BBC and institutional change. Â© 2004 SAGE Publications).