CORONATION Street has been dealt another blow after it was revealed Emmerdale had beaten it in the ratings on Monday night.
The ITV soap has been the most-watched UK soap by almost a million viewers for much of the last few years, but on Monday night amid a deepening crisis behind the scenes on the show, it was beaten by its rival.
Emmerdale managed an impressive 5.34m average for its bank holiday Monday episode, inching ahead of Corrie for the first time in years.
Corrie's first episode of the night won a 5.30m average, while its second episode languished behind on 5.24m.
It comes after seven stars have quit the nation's top soap amid a crisis that has led to claims of a mutiny backstage.
An insider told The Sun: "No one has been particularly happy since former show boss Kate Oates left.
"There are lots of scheduling issues and the workload has become very difficult to manage with six episodes a week.
"There are now lots of unhappy people who are jumping ship but many of them are ‘putting a spin on it’ publicly because they don’t want to upset their mates left trying to save the show."
It has been claimed that the soap's recent decision to require cast and crew to work weekends has led to some of the departures.
A source said: "Working weekends was introduced a few months ago and that was the last straw for some people.
"Some of the younger ones are on £40,000 to £50,000 and they are doing a lot of promotion for the show and don't get any extra cash for that.
"The younger ones need the weekends off. Sure, they not working seven days a week but they need time off with their loved ones and having a Thursday off mid-week doesn’t help because the pressure of acting is there all the time as they know they’ve got to come in at the weekend."
The mass exodus of high-profile stars includes Kym Marsh as Michelle Connor, Faye Brookes (Kate Connor), Tristan Gemmill (Robert Preston), Lucy Fallon (Bethany Platt) and Katie McGlynn (Sinead Tinker).
Liam Bairstow (Alex Warner) has also announced he is temporarily leaving, although he is not contracted full-time.
A Coronation Street spokeswoman has been contacted for comment.
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