One of Newman's first key tasks as temporary executive producer was to oversee production of a special episode featuring a live segment in which the character of Billy Mitchell carries the Olympic Torch as an official torch bearer in the 2012 Summer Olympics torch relay. Carl Doran, creative head of the BBC’s Torch coverage, revealed the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games and EastEnders production team had worked for two years to organise this.The episode was part of the official torch relay, meaning the torch made a special detour from London to the EastEnders set in BBC Elstree, Borehamwood. Billy Mitchell was also involved in one of Newman’s most controversial storylines, in which his granddaughter Lola Pearce has her baby taken away by social worker Trish Barnes. Real-life social workers protested this "unhelpful portrayal", with the British Association of Social Workers (BASW) calling the BBC "too lazy and arrogant" to get correctly portray the child protection process, and saying that the baby was taken "without sufficient grounds to do so". Bridget Robb, acting chief of the BASW, said the storyline provoked "real anger among a profession well used to a less than accurate public and media perception of their jobs".
Newman's first major cast change was reintroduction of Sharon Watts in August 2012,which Newman revealed had been a year in the planning. Upon her return, Dean said that Newman was "very good at character insight". Ben Mitchell departed in the same month following the conclusion of the storyline of Heather Trott's murder storyline, with Newman confirming the departure of Anthony Moon soon afterwards. Newman later introduced Ava Hartman, the secret daughter of Cora Cross and Ava's son Dexter, and also upgraded Poppy Meadow from a recurring to a regular character. Major departures under Newman’s tenure include Syed Masood and Christian Clarke in November 2012 and villain Derek Branning, killed off in the Christmas Day episode.
Newman has planned for a number of new characters and old ones to return to the show including: Danny Pennant, Lexi Pearce, Ava Hartman, Kirsty Branning,Dexter Hartman, Sam James, Carl White, Sadie Young, Peggy Mitchell, Ronnie Mitchell, Peter Beale, Cindy Williams, Carly Wicks and David Wicks.
On 29 July 2013 it was confirmed that Newman would leave the soap and Dominic Treadwell-Collins took her place as Executive Producer.
|Executive Producer of EastEnders|
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