After a tense meeting between scriptwriters and chief executives, the BBC today conceded they still had "no workable plan" to conclude long-running money pit, Eastenders.
The programme began in 1985 with the mission statement of delivering a crime drama based on the murder of Reg Cox in twelve-episodes. That was doubled after only six episodes when it became clearly apparent that only five percent of the storylines they had clumsily introduced could possibly be resolved in the remaining timeframe.
"It was carnage to be honest" said scriptwriter Martin Stewart, who was brought in by corporation bigwigs when the programme overrun by the first twelve months. "There were just threads of storyline dangling here and there, not connected to anything and serving no purpose. In many cases we even had to bring in more characters specifically to prop up the weak points- it was just so flimsy."
But media commentators are united in their criticism of this approach, arguing it led to mission-creep on an uncontrollable scale. "It's another case of the BBC throwing good money after bad" said one. One minute you're worrying about banging someone up for murder, the next you've got to unravel a complex narrative based around a national treasure like Mike Reid."
But faced with unprecented cutbacks, the BBC has been forced to take drastic action, with Director General Mark Thompson saying "We all know this has been going on for far too long now and it isn't fun for anyone any more. I promise decisive action: we will end this misery".
A number of possible tactical solutions are rumoured to be on the table including a parallel existence in which Reg Cox did not die at all, the discovery that it had all been one of Wellard's dreams, or moving the whole thing to BBC4 and then just stopping.
Despite now overrunning for sixteen years and with a spiralling budget, Mr Thompson highlighted a number of successes for the Eastenders programme during his tenure. "We finally killed off Pauline, that was a good one" he reminisced, fondly.
"Everyone got a pay rise that year".