Emmerdale head honcho Kate Oates has been appointed as producer of Coronation Street, with Stuart Blackburn set to move on to new drama projects within ITV.
Ian MacLeod will become the new Emmerdale producer, with the appointment set to take effect at the end of the year, with Oates moving over to Weatherfield at the start of 2016.
A former producer of Radio 4’s The Archers from 2003-2010, oates has been producing Emmerdale since January 2013.
She previously worked as Coronation Street’s assistant producer following a stint as Emmerdale’s story editor. Speaking today, Oates said: “I’m delighted to accept the role as Coronation Street’s new producer. It’s really exciting to be moving from one amazing soap to another and I feel very blessed.
“Emmerdale is an exceptional programme and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed working with the cast, writers and crew. They are some of the absolute best in the business and it’s been a privilege to work with such dedicated, hard-working and creative people, and make some life-long friends in the process.
“But as much as Emmerdale has meant the world to me Corrie also has a special place in my heart.”
During her time at Emmerdale, Oates has overseen such high profile plotlines as the Woolpack siege, Alicia Metcalfe’s sexual assault and the soap’s recent helicopter crash.
Managing Director, Continuing Drama John Whiston commented: “Everywhere you go these days everyone is talking about Emmerdale. Kate Oates has been responsible for the show’s on-going resurgence. She has that rare combination, a sharp editorial eye for a compelling story together with deep understanding of what drives characters caught up in such drama.”
“As a result, under her leadership, Emmerdale has reached new heights and importantly, new audiences. Kate has done this without sacrificing either the credibility or the humour for which Emmerdale has always been renowned. Steeped in the sheep dip of soap, she is the ideal person to take Corrie on to its next phase.”
Stuart Blackburn, who has been in creative control at Coronation Street since 2013, said of his departure: “I’ve loved every minute of producing Coronation Street. What a rollercoaster ride it has been.
“We’ve met every challenge along the way and I can’t praise the cast, crew and writers highly enough for rising to the occasion with each storyline. Whether it’s been the hilarity of Sally and Tim’s relationship, Carla’s descent into gambling addiction or highlighting Simon Barlow’s abuse of Leanne, each story has been incredibly well crafted, directed and performed to the highest of television production standards.
“I’m in awe of everyone I work with and can’t thank them enough. For the next few months my focus will remain entirely on all things Corrie, as we have massive stories coming up taking us in to the spring and summer of 2016. I wish my friend Kate well in her role as she takes on one of the best jobs in television.”
Key storylines on Corrie under Blackburn’s tenure have included the death of Hayley Cropper, the fire at Victoria Court and next week’s live episode that is set to be the centrepiece of ITV’s 60th anniversary celebrations.
Coronation Street’s executive producer Kieran Roberts commented: “Stuart has been a wonderful producer of Coronation Street and a fantastic colleague. The skill, professionalism and care he has brought to the job shows in everything he does – whether it’s the sensitive steering of Hayley’s acclaimed exit story, the ambitious and brilliantly executed Victoria Court fire or, behind the scenes, the enormous contribution he made to our seamless move to our new home in Trafford.
“Stuart has eagerly embraced the challenges of producing a live episode and is bringing all his experience, creative talents and leadership skills to ensuring this will be a very special event to mark ITV’s 60th birthday. He will be such a hard act to follow when he steps down from the role of Producer in a few months and I wish him every success with whatever he does next.”
Of Kate Oates’s appointment, he added: “Finding a successor to Stuart was never going to be easy but in Kate Oates I believe we have the ideal next Producer. She made a huge impact when she was here as assistant producer and after the terrific job she has done on Emmerdale I know she has all the qualities to be a big success as producer of Coronation Street.”
Incoming Emmerdale boss Iain MacLeod takes the helm after working as series producer at Hollyoaks, a role he has held since 2013. “Taking the reins of a programme in such rude health is both highly exciting and a mouth-watering challenge, and I could not be more delighted to be tasked with taking Emmerdale forward.
“To work on a show with such pedigree, such brilliant characters and storytelling, and with such a talented team already in place is a dream for anyone in my line of work and I can’t wait to get cracking.”
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Watch 60-second rundowns of next week’s episodes of Coronation Street and Emmerdale below.