EastEnders slumped to its lowest ever audience share on Thursday night as viewers flocked to rival soap Emmerdale.

Emmerdale’s one-hour special on ITV1 finally revealed who had killed Tom King, with an average audience of 8.6 million watching the show, peaking at 9.1 million for the moment Tom’s son Carl confessed to the murder.

On BBC One, EastEnders attracted just four million viewers – its 19.6 per cent share was the lowest for the soap since records began.

This is despite the episode being widely publicised as featuring the biggest action stunt in the soap’s history after the Mitchells’ and Beales’ camping trip ends in disaster.

The ratings were also the second lowest in the show’s history – beaten only by a 3.9 million audience in July last year, when EastEnders also went head-to-head with Emmerdale.

Emmerdale’s viewing figures represented a 44 per cent share of the available viewing audience.

An EastEnders spokeswoman said the ratings were low only because the soaps were scheduled against one another.

“It is viewers who miss out when the soap audience is split by ITV scheduling Emmerdale directly against EastEnders,” she said.

Last Friday’s episode of EastEnders was watched by an average audience of nine million, peaking at 9.8 million, she added.

Last night’s BBC Three catch-up show, allowing viewers to see the episode at 10pm, attracted a record 1.4 million viewers.