Did you watch it? Eastenders Live week culminated last night with the revealing of Lucy Beale's killer and boosted the BBC soap's viewing figures to over 10 million for the first time in a year.

Soaps may not be able to command the huge audience figures of their heydays in the 1970s and 1980s, but they can still capture the public imagination, even in the face of competition from multi-channel #Television and online streaming. Last night's viewing figures will rise further when BBC iPlayer views are added in.

But last night's 10 million is dwarfed by 1980s' audiences. Back in 1981, just over 25 million - some 45 per cent of the UK population - watched Ken marry Deirdre in Coronation Street. That's more than watched the Royal Wedding of Charles and Diana the same year. But the decade's top rating was for an Eastenders' divorce, when 30.1 million - over half the UK population - saw Dennis Watts serve his wife, Angie, divorce papers on Christmas Day, 1986.

Changing broadcasting infrastructure and viewing habits may have hit the headline numbers, but the soaps remain resilient and continue to lead and shape what we watch on television. Even in the face of reality TV finales, such as BBC's The Voice or ITV's X-Factor, and innovative new dramas, such as Sherlock, Broadchurch and Call The Midwife, soaps continue to be in the Top 10 most watched each and every week.

Figures produced by the Broadcasters Audience Research Board (BARB) show that Coronation Street continues to draw over 7.5 million viewers each week, Emmerdale over 6 million and Eastenders 8 million.

Even on the radio, the longest running soap of them all, The Archers, is pulling in almost 5 million listeners a day and almost 2 million podcast downloads a week. The radio soap topped 5 million on New Year's Day 2011 for a 50th anniversary show which culminated with the much-loved toff, Nigel Pargetter, falling to his death from the roof.

We're not just watching, we're also interacting with our soaps. Twitter was red hot last night with the #EELive trending as the at-home detectives joined the show. It became a live #Social media whodunnit event, with speculation and supposition running wild across the Twittersphere. After the first instalment there were thousands of premature 'I knew it was Jane', soon followed by thousands more of 'I told you it was Bobby' tweets being sent. There's no doubt social media has added a whole new dimension to the viewing and listening experience.

Where next for soaps after their recent shots in the arm? They cannot evolve too much, too fast: audiences wouldn't stand for it. There would be rioting in the streets. However, the recent success of 'event' episodes on both Coronation Street and Eastenders has raised the bar and audience expectations. We should expect more of them. Our soaps are in good health and there will more than enough drama and surprises to be had yet.