Temporary ‘EastEnders’ producer John Yorke has reportedly set out a plan to turn the soap’s fortunes around, following the sudden exit of executive producer Sean O’Connor.
The show’s top boss announced he was leaving over the weekend, after just a year in the job, having been met with tumbling ratings and criticism over dull storylines during his tenure in charge.
John has since stepped into the exec producer role on a short-term basis, and The Sun has claimed he plans to ensure Danny Dyer is given a new deal to keep him in the Vic as Mick Carter.
He’s also reportedly planning to give Steve McFadden a more central role as Phil Mitchell.
There’s also a possibility he could bring back Jessie Wallace and Shane Richie as iconic Walford couple Kat and Alfie Moon to help boost flagging ratings, which have fallen as low as 4.5 million in recent weeks.
John was responsible for the family’s introduction in 2000 during his previous tenure as exec producer, also creating the classic storyline where Kat was revealed as Zoe’s biological mother.
However, actors Shane and Jessie have been vocal about not returning to ‘EastEnders’ after filming spin-off series ‘Redwater’, with Shane recently telling HuffPost UK: “At the moment, there’s no plans for Kat and Alfie to go back and that’s not to say they never will, but at the moment, everyone is just concentrating on getting ‘Redwater’ right.”
The finale of the spin-off series, which aired last week, even saw a question mark left hanging over the characters’ future, when both were feared dead at the end of the episode.
Outgoing boss Sean issued a statement about his departure, explaining he was leaving “with a heavy heart”.
“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,” he said.
“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 at ‘EastEnders’, 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.
“I’ll enjoy watching ‘EastEnders’ go from strength to strength but will miss everybody enormously. Elstree really is a place where you make friends for life.”