And Then There Were Nine…

When the Walford Gazette began publishing in late 1992, the total number of public TV stations airing EastEnders was down to 25 from about 50 in late 1987, and since then many of these outlets have dropped the show, claiming poor ratings or a lack of financial support from viewers. There are sadly only nine left, which is why if you can afford to donate when asked you should.

Station           City                                           Day / Time

WLIW            New York                          Wednesday 10-11 pm

TPT           St. Paul, MN             Fridays 11 pm-midnight/repeat Sat. 5-6 pm

WETA      Arlington, VA               Fridays 5-6 pm/repeat Sats 9 am-10 am

Prairie          Fargo, ND                  Sat. 10-11 pm/repeat Sun 11pm-midnite

WPBT           Miami, FL                  Sat 11 am-noon & (diff eps.) Mon 1-2am

KUHT         Houston, TX                      Sundays 11 pm/repeat Sat. 3 am

WLVT      Bethlehem, PA                             Thursdays 10 pm

UNC         Raleigh, NC                Sundays 11 pm-midnight/repeat Sat 3-4 am

WCNY     Syracuse, NY                              Saturdays 10:35 pm

The Walford Gazette Survey

In honour of Walford’s E20 postal code, here are 20 questions for EastEnders fans. Your opinion matters! Help EastEnders in the U.S. by taking our survey! EastEnders fans JUST LIKE YOU from all over the country are taking this survey in print or online. The WG team will compile the results and present them to each PBS station carrying EastEnders so they can learn more about their viewers. Thank you!

1. What year (approx.) did you start watching EE?

2. Where do you live?

3. How do you watch EastEnders? (check all that apply)

A. Public television _________ (station call letters)

B. Dish Network __

C. Tape train__

D. YouTube __

E. Other online means ________________ (how?*)

(*your identity will be kept anonymous)

4. If you chose “Other means online,” do you pay for it, and if so how much do you pay monthly, annually? Yes __ No __ 

$__ monthly    $__ annually

5. Do you donate to public TV because of EastEnders?

Yes __ No__

6. How often do you contribute to PBS?

Every year __, Several times a year __ Never __ (check one)

7. I typically contribute: $25-$99 __; $100-250 __; $250+ __

(if the latter, how much? $_______

8. What has been your favourite EastEnders-themed thank you gift?

9. Would you contribute without a thank-you gift?

10. Who is your favourite EastEnders character?

11. What is your favourite EastEnders storyline?

12. Would you pay for the BBC’s iPlayer if and/or when it becomes available? Yes __ No __

13. Do you follow any of the Facebook EastEnders

groups? Yes __ No __

14. If so, which?

15. Have you checked out the Walford Gazette’s redesigned site at: http://www.wgazette.com/wordpress Yes __No __

16. What other EastEnders websites do you use?

17. Have you purchased the Walford Gazette-published books ‘Albert Square & Me: The Actors of EastEnders’ or ‘Walford State of Mind’? Yes__ or No __

18. Would you purchase a new Walford Gazette published book of actor interview who didn’t make it into ‘Albert Square & Me’? Yes __ or No __

19. Do you prefer receiving the Walford Gazette via tabloid newspaper form or would you pay for a pdf version? (Circle preference)

20. What other British TV programmes do you watch regularly? (list as many as you wish)

Please send your answers via email to

walfordgazette@gmail.com or by regular mail to:

East End Company PO Box 271, Kings Park, NY 11754

You can also send in your answers to an abbreviated version of this survey to: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/VF67TBQ

State of EastEnders 2014

By Larry Jaffee

Next February EastEnders will celebrate its 30th anniversary of the BBC broadcasting four times a week a half-hour of fictional working-class strife, family rivalries and battles of the sexes.

For those of us addicted to Albert Square ongoings on this side of the pond watching via public TV, we’re in a perpetual state of catch-up. When the BBC failed to make EastEnders a national PBS show (à la Downton Abbey) back in late 1987, the programme was picked up by about 50 stations (about a fifth of the potential) scattered around the US.

While the US public TV stations never changed their formula of showing two episodes a week, the BBC in Britain in the 1990s expanded to three times, and then about a decade ago to four times a week. The end result is that public TV viewers are about nine years behind the current storylines.

By the time the Walford Gazette began publishing in late 1992, the total number of public TV stations airing EastEnders was down to 25, and since then many of these outlets have dropped the show, claiming poor ratings or a lack of financial support from viewers.

Currently, there are 9 public TV stations still broadcasting EastEnders. But there’s still a cloud hanging over the show. As one Gazette reader told me the other day about her local station in Miami, “I think they kind of put up with EastEnders.” She laments how WPBT stopped fund-raising around the show, but was amazed to recently find EastEnders on in Jamaica, where she was vacationing.

The best way to make sure the show stays on the air on public TV stations is to contribute  – specifically to EastEnders – when asked. (For the record, I do – every drive.)

The BBC has been unbelievably apathetic about making EastEnders a success in the US. For a few years, BBC America ran episodes nearly current with what was airing in Britain, and then cancelled the show in 2003 due to a supposed lack of ratings (you can get the complete story in my book, Walford State of Mind).

The BBC has attempted to fill the void with a subscription service from the satellite service, Dish Network. I finally experienced Dish Network on a recent Sunday evening, thanks to an invitation from subscriber Alice Schleiffer, who pays $9.99 for a month of episodes. Dish runs four back-to-back episodes with no breaks in between, so it’s almost like you’re watching a full-length movie.

EastEnders has recently brought back characters familiar to public TV audiences, but snarky British TV critics haven’t been so kind. (Personally I was glad to see characters like Carol Jackson and David Wicks because with the exception of Ian Beale there are hardly any others we know.) I realise I’m veering into spoiler territory here, which is why I commissioned Claire Meyerhoff to explain the spoiler phenomenon.

Back to the ‘State of EastEnders 2014’, for those fans whose stations cancelled the programme, the Internet does help, particularly YouTube. Thankfully, the BBC launched an official EastEnders presence, and there are even some full episodes to watch there. It takes a little search ingenuity, matching the original UK air date with help from the episode guide courtesy of www.walford.net.

TV Guide actually has descriptions of the episodes that US public TV stations air at http://www.tvguide.com/tvshows/eastenders/episodes/194920, but be forewarned there’s storyline variance, due to preemptions, etc.

In 2011, the BBC announced that it was making its popular iPlayer available in the US via the iPad for an $8 monthly subscription, allowing UK episodes on demand. But the launch never occurred. For the past two years, the powers that be in London have been incommunicado, despite numerous enquiries from the Walford Gazette.

I’m going to speculate that the iPlayer non-US appearance may very well be a victim of the BBC’s £100 million Digital Media fiasco, although one theory holds that BBC America actually squashed it, even though they don’t have EastEnders on their own schedule. What’s not known is whether Dish has exclusive rights for non-public TV broadcast. Dish Network also does not respond to queries.

In any case, there are other online alternatives to access the iPlayer from the US , and also grey-area means via Facebook.