Bryan Kirkwood to leave EastEnders

Monday 12 March 2012, 13:30

Nickie L Nickie L

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Bryan Kirkwood has announced that he is stepping down as Executive Producer of EastEnders.

He's been at the helm of the good ship Enders since March 2010, and orchestrated some of the show's most talked about episodes, particularly, the 'baby swap' storyline and the final days of Walford icon, Pat Evans. He also brought Kat and Alfie back to the Square, as well as David and Simon Wicks. He's introduced many new characters - to name but a few - Cora Cross, Derek Branning, the Moon brothers Michael, Tyler and Anthony, and the recast of Lauren Branning, played by Jacqueline Jossa who recently won an NTA for Best Newcomer.

Under his tenure, the show has won the full set of BAFTA, RTS, NTA and British Soap Award. EastEnders was the most watched programme on both Christmas Days for the past two years - this year beating Downton Abbey and peaking at 10.4 million.

Lorraine Newman, Series Producer, will be taking over the role on an acting basis.

Bryan said: "Being the Executive Producer of EastEnders is one of the most exciting jobs in TV, but it's also the most exhausting - so after two years, I've decided it's time to leave Walford. It's been a thrill to work with such talented people such as John Yorke, Simon Ashdown, and our amazing cast and crew. Most of all it's been a privilege to tell stories that have genuinely had the nation talking. I'm going to take with me some brilliant friends and memories.

I'm delighted to leave the show in the capable hands of Lorraine Newman. Lorraine has been by my side every step of the way for the last two years and knows EastEnders inside out. I wish her and the show every future success."

John Yorke, the BBC Controller of Drama Production and New Talent paid tribute: "I would like to thank Bryan for his extraordinary hard work, a chest full of awards and some great storylines. It's been a pleasure working with him and I wish him every success for the future."

Bryan will be sadly missed by all of us here on EastEnders. He'll be sorely missed, and we'd like to say thank you to him for being such an excellent guvnor.

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  • rate this

    Comment number 1.

    Just wanna say thanks to BK for all he has done for EE. I have very much enjoyed it over the last couple of years.
    If you are looking for someone to take over as boss, I am avalible :-)

  • rate this

    Comment number 2.

    I have to say there are many great things Bryan brought to the show as outlined above but I do feel it is time for a change and I think the new EP will need to look at the writing and storyliners. I also feel that the following characters need to leave... Derek, Ben, Jay, Anthony, Tyler and Lola as they just do not work or characters I care about. I think that's the saddest thing about EastEnders of late, there are too many characters that I do not want to watch. I feel that Mandy, Ray and Rose all have potential - just they're still finding their feet. Please EE get back to what you do best! :)

  • rate this

    Comment number 3.

    Oh no. What a shame. Well done to Bryan kirkwood

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    Comment number 4.

    What a shame, you did very well Brian! Shame about all the people moaning about Derek Branning, I dunno if it's those people that put you off, but I cant say I blame you with the amount of stupid complaints viewers are always making.
    "Get rid of Derek this, get rid of Derek that, derek, derek, DEREK" And I dont see a problem with him at all, I'm sick of them, dunno how you're feeling about that!

    Good luck for the future, thanks for great TV and entertainment you've given me.

  • rate this

    Comment number 5.

    bad news I thought BK was a good executive producer sad to see him go wonder who will take over?

  • rate this

    Comment number 6.

    oh right my mistake it says who will be taking over as EP still sad.

  • rate this

    Comment number 7.

    I have to say I have enjoyed a lot of the recent story lines that have been provided but have to say there are many changes that need to be made. There are a few of the cast that could do with a black cab ride out of the Square including a certain Derek Branning........and Lola. Good luck in future ventures BK.

  • rate this

    Comment number 8.

    I'm so glad he's leaving, he ruined EastEnders to the point it could'nt be ruined anymore. He turned a family based show with a mix of younger and older characters and turned it into another Hollyoaks. I'd rather have Kate Harwood or Louise Berriage than Bryan anyday. Its such a shame that the ratings have declined, because its such a brilliant show. John Yorke should give it a kick up the ass and save the show before its too late, i think John was the best EP because he cared about the roots of the program, there always was a mix of young and older characters in the show. I don't see why Bryan had to change it. Such a shame

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    Comment number 9.

    Although he introduced some great characters, im glad he is leaving some of the storylines have been terrible and he axed the wrong people!

  • rate this

    Comment number 10.

    Seems nice enough bloke but since Diedrick Santa left, and he has taken over, the show has been pretty rubbish! I don't think there has been a good storyline since Peggy Mitchell left! It all went downhill with the baby-swap storyline and has snowballed from there :L...

  • rate this

    Comment number 11.

    quite happy about this tbh, hopefully now we can get somebody in that can repair the damage hes done to the kat and alfie dynamic and characters. theres a lot of people who have only know the bryan kirkwood version of kat and alfie, and therefore think kat is some cold hearted bitch,who treats alfie like crap and sleeps around at the drop of a hat. personally i watched kat and alfie from the start in 2002 and watched them become the best and most loved couple in eastenders history with this amazing chemistry between jessie and shane that made their story so believable and why people took 'kalfie' to their hearts. thats why i think its sad and wrong when people just think kats some dirty slag, thats not what shes about, it never was,thats what bryan made her out to be. if you want to see the real kat and alfie watch some clips from their first run, hopefully we can get them back to what they were. :)

  • rate this

    Comment number 12.

    this is brilliant news, hopefully EE can get back on track, the EP hopefully will be better than BK

  • rate this

    Comment number 13.

    Well done to Bryan, I just hope whoever replaces him doesnt go breaking up Christian and Syed permently! They are extremely popular and well liked by millions and it would be a very foolish move.....just sayin ;-)

  • rate this

    Comment number 14.

    I did not expect this news I have to say I do think its time there was a new producer the baby swap storyline was good but the ending was poorly written the episodes when max ect found out Tanya had cancer was brilliant but the biggest let down has to be the last two christmas episodes [2010 and 2011 ] so I'm hoping this years will be brilliant.Bryan brought Kat and Alfie back so at least some think good came out of him running the show. I just hope Lorraine is going to sort the show out the storylines have been so poor for a good while now time will tell I suppose

  • rate this

    Comment number 15.

    there has been a lot of unpleasant comments on different forums over bk. i personally feel he has been a good ep. ee has won a humongous amount of awards under his reign and has had some very memorable eps. i would like to thank bryan for bringing us the wonderful and talented ann mitchell in the role of cora cross, a great signing. all the best bryan for the future.

  • rate this

    Comment number 16.

    I'm going to sum up BK's Career in four ways:

    Worst storyline: Baby swap
    Most unrealistic storyline: Denise's 'death'
    Best storyline: Pat's death
    BK's job overall in a single word: Oops.

    Enough said.

  • rate this

    Comment number 17.

    Can't say I'm sad to hear it. The "all Derek, all the time" approach HASN'T worked. I watch the show on BBC iPlayer so I can happily skip through any Derek scenes. Now if it were "all Chryed, all the time" you wouldn't hear me complaining! Yes, remember them? Maybe if we all concentrate really hard we can.

  • rate this

    Comment number 18.

    I watch the show every day from Australia...yep, I'm an Aussie and can't get enough of it...EastEnders as well!??! Sorry, I forgot where I was!?! I somehow blundered into accuracy on Pay TV about 18 months ago and it was on. I saw someone get hit over the head with a Queen Vic "head" and thought, "Gee that doesn't happen every day in a Melbourne Pub so I kept watching and watching...and watching...and...
    You guys can have our Neighbours (my bloody neighbours have a barking dog which will soon be 'de-barked' early one morning!!!) and Home and Away (I wish my 'her outdoors' went away more often!!) but keep giving me eastEnders...pleeeease!
    The acting is 200% better than the Aussie rubbish we send you and besides, I am in love with Kat Moon...any chance of a signed photo for a fair dinkum red-blooded Aussie bloke?? Anyway, I reckon all the characters are cool and the storylines often have a message for the audience...teen suicide, prostitution, depression, bullying and similar thimngs happen in Oz as well, so keep up the great work whoever takes over at EE. I think we are about 3 months behind you guys in Britain-that's Ok. hope to get over there for the Ashes...anyone fancy a boarder for a couple of months? 53 y.o. bloke, single/divorced, enjoys getting outdoors especially for a barbie and I love all sports...take no notice of that stuff...I'm only being serious!!!

    Have a good one.
    Thanks for your time guys and keep up the great work...Go Hammers!!!

  • rate this

    Comment number 19.

    Bryan might be well liked on a personal level but he has been a disaster to Eastenders.

    Having watched since episode 1, this year I voted for Corrie in the NTAs! I am sick of storylines where characters change their entire personality to fit ie Alfie telling Kat 'I knew what I was marrying' to allow her to do the nasty in alleyways! Horrible!

    I also hated the baby swap storyline because it did nothing to highlight cot death but sensationalised it, creating a confusing commentary on what was being said re mental health and the effects of losing a baby. Pointless and potentially damaging.

    The Derek Branning character is awful and brings nothing to the show. Albert Square doesn't always need a gangster. It's unrealistic and anachronistic nonsense!

    Cora is a weird attempt to bring back the Lou Beale type character. It doesn't work but I quite like her sometimes.

    All in all, it's become a messy mismatch of laughable or convoluted plots which are either a) blatantly obvious or b) laughably ridiculous.

    Until EE stops dumbing down its stories or demanding such a suspension of disbelief its viewers are expected to step through the looking glass, I will not be making a supreme effort to watch.

    The Heather issue is also very annoying. To not renew Chryl's contract because of her personal life is outrageous. She is a well liked character but she's overweight and not a youngster so the BBC can a) make judgements about the actress's lifestyle and b) kill her off as soon as she meets someone? This is cynical at best and I am very disappointed. A younger, thinner actress would never have been on the receiving end of such treatment. That's the 'shocker', not the storyline!

  • rate this

    Comment number 20.

    A bit gutted you are leaving but many thanks for the new impetus of character driven stories which I enjoy very much. And thank you for your kind words last year Bryan, much appreciated and working very hard on developing my skills and talent. Good luck in the future and maybe one day I would work with you.


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