BBC move Call the Midwife to avoid Corrie clash

BBC bosses have headed off a ratings clash by moving the final of Call The Midwife after ITV chiefs scheduled a clash with Coronation Street.

The show, which stars Miranda Hart, has been shifted from its usual 8pm slot after ITV1 dropped an episode of Coronation Street into its Sunday night programming later this month.

BBC executives are thought to have been infuriated by the move which is being interpreted as a spoiler for its 1950s drama, which has been a surprise hit.

ITV claimed it needed to find a place for the Street after it was squeezed from its Thursday slot by a Europa League tie between FC Porto and Manchester City.

Now the BBC has decided to shift Call The Midwife to 8.30pm on February 19 to avoid any difficulties. The show has been pulling in more than nine million viewers and was instantly commissioned for a second series after it proved to be so popular with viewers.

It is understood BBC bosses have seen the move as aggressive and believe ITV could have placed the edition of Coronation Street in another slot, such as a Friday double-bill.

A BBC insider said: “Call The Midwife has been the standout hit of the year and it’s both surprising and disappointing for viewers that ITV1 were prepared to sacrifice an episode of Coronation Street just to damage its audience.”

The Sunday night slot for the Street also means Dancing On Ice will be on half an hour earlier.

A spokesman for ITV said it was simply a case of screening Coronation Street at the first available similar slot.