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Dish Drops 'EastEnders' PPV Offering

For the past 11 years, United Kingdom expatriates in this country and other fans have been able to keep up with the popular BBC soap EastEnders via a $9.95 monthly pay-per-view offering on Dish Network. 

That lifeline to the goings-on around the fictional Albert Square in London's East End has been cut off, at least for now, as Dish and the BBC have discontinued the PPV offer. The cut-off apparently took effect on Sunday, when four half-hour episodes normally would have been available, according to Larry Jaffee, who publishes a U.S.-based fan newspaper about the show, called The Walford Gazette.

Dish and BBC Worldwide said in statements that “The EastEnders TV series is temporarily unavailable as a new distribution model is being finalized by Dish and BBC Worldwide. We regret any inconvenience and remain committed to promptly returning this content to our customers.” Neither Dish nor BBC Worldwide would elaborate on the statement. Dish now operates a streaming pay-TV service called Sling TV.

The discontinuation, even if only temporary, has caused a bit of a stir among fans of the show, including Bobbie A. Camp, who said in a Twitter exchange with the @Dish_Answers account, "EastEnders has been on PPV since 2004 through Dish, and to just cancel it without a word to viewers -- tsk, tsk."

The show does air on public television stations around the country, but those episodes are nearly a decade old. Interest in the show spiked this past February with stunt programming around the 30th anniversary, including a week of live telecasts.