Why isn't EastEnders on tonight and when is the next episode?

Lola Pearce in EastEnders
Lola faces more drama at the end of the week. (Image credit: BBC)

EastEnders fans have got a bit of a wait to watch the next installment of the soap after a schedule shake-up has seen air dates change this week. 

Fans of the soap are used to catching up on the drama in Walford on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings, however, things look a little different this week. 

Instead of airing tonight (Wednesday, February 8) EastEnders has been moved from the schedules so that an FA Cup fourth-round replay between Sunderland and Fulham can kick off at 7.30 pm on BBC One.

But thankfully the reshuffle won't cause too much trouble for soap fans because Wednesday's episode will now air on Thursday evening, and Thursday's episode will air on Friday night instead. 

Lola Pearce-Brown crying

Lola found out who Emma really is last night.  (Image credit: BBC)

The most recent episode of EastEnders, which aired on Tuesday, February 7, saw Lola overcome with emotion after the revelation that 'Nicole' who had been into the salon was actually her long-lost mum, Emma Harding. 

Sadly the shock took its toll on Lola and her health took a funny turn as she battles terminal cancer.

After Lola had her check-up and calmed down about the ordeal, it wasn't long before a concerned Emma showed up at her house profusely apologising about what she had done.

As Emma opened up to Lola about why she did it, Lola was furious that Emma had been following Lexi and scolded her mum for walking out on her when she was three years old.

Eventually, old family secrets came to light and the pair made up... but fans are convinced that Emma might have a secret agenda behind her return to Lola's life. 

Emma Harding wants to make things right

Emma Harding wants to make things right with her daughter in Thursday's episode.  (Image credit: BBC)

With the truth now revealed, Emma arranges to meet Lola for lunch to talk things through in Thursday's episode (February 9). 

Although Lola's new hubby Jay Brown knows that Lola needs insight into her abandoned childhood, he's worried that finding out more about why Emma left when Lola was a small child might prove too much of a strain.

After Lola realises that Jay has reservations, she asks him to come to the lunch with her, so he can be there to support her.

In the Vic, Emma makes it clear that she wants to make up for lost time with her daughter. But will Lola and her family agree?

EastEnders continues on Thursday, February 9 at 7:30pm on BBC One. You can also catch up on BBC iPlayer, with first look episodes dropping at 6am the morning each episode airs.

Claire Crick
Assistant Managing Editor at What To Watch

Claire is Assistant Managing Editor at What To Watch and has been a journalist for over 15 years, writing about everything from soaps and TV to beauty, entertainment, and even the Royal Family. After starting her career at a soap magazine, she ended up staying for 13 years, and over that time she’s pulled pints in the Rovers Return, sung karaoke in the Emmerdale village hall, taken a stroll around Albert Square, and visited Summer Bay Surf Club in sunny Australia. 

After learning some tricks of the trade at websites Digital Spy, Entertainment Daily, and Woman & Home, Claire landed a role at What’s On TV and whattowatch.com writing about all things TV and film, with a particular love for Aussie soaps, Strictly Come Dancing and Bake Off

She’s interviewed everyone from June Brown — AKA Dot Cotton — to Michelle Keegan, swapped cooking tips with baking legend Mary Berry backstage at the NTAs, and danced the night away with soap stars at countless awards bashes. There’s not a lot she doesn’t know about soaps and TV and can be very handy when a soapy question comes up in a pub quiz! 

As well as all things soap-related, Claire also loves running, spa breaks, days out with her kids, and getting lost in a good book.