ITV serials Coronation Street and Emmerdale are getting new producers.
Kate Oates – currently Series Producer for Emmerdale – will supersede Stuart Blackburn as producer of Coronation Street in the New Year. Iain Macleod a former story editor on Coronation Street and a current series producer on Hollyoaks will replace her on the rural saga at the end of this year.
“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.” – Kate Oates
Kate worked as a producer on BBC Radio 4’s long-running radio series The Archers between 2003-2010 before joining Emmerdale as Story Editor where she remained until taking up an Assistant Producer post on Coronation Street in 2012. She returned to Emmerdale as the show’s Series Producer in 2013. Early soap experience was gained with a stint as Script Editor on Carlton Television’s revival of Crossroads in the early 2000s.
She recently produced Emmerdale’s compelling helicopter disaster episodes and has also been responsible for overseeing powerfully challenging storylines such as Gennie’s murder and the Woolpack siege, Robert Sugden’s repressed sexuality, Laurel’s descent into alcoholism, Alicia dealing with sexual assault by troubled teenager Lachlan and the love triangle involving Debbie and brothers Pete and Ross Barton.
“I’ve loved every minute of producing Coronation Street. What a rollercoaster ride the last three years 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 last three years.
“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.” – Stuart Blackburn
Coronation Street’s current boss, Stuart Blackburn will remain with ITV and ITV Studios working on drama projects. Stuart will continue to produce the network’s flagship serial until he leaves in the New Year including its live episode on Wednesday 23 September to mark ITV’s 60th birthday. Stuart has guided the soap to two successive BAFTA wins and is the only Producer in modern soap history, ITV note, to produce two live episodes. Stuart previously worked on Emmerdale between 2009-2012 as a Story Editor and later Series Producer overseeing the live episode which celebrated the show’s 40th anniversary.
During his time at Coronation Street, he has been responsible for several memorable storylines including the death of Hayley Cropper, a story which led the national debate about the ‘right to die’, and the explosive fire at Carla’s flat in Victoria Court in which Kal and Maddie tragically lost their lives.
“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.
“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.” – Coronation Street Executive Producer & ITV’s Creative Director of Drama in the North, Kieran Roberts
Iain MacLeod will inherit a raft of storylines from outgoing Producer Kate when he takes the helm at Emmerdale. He joins the rural saga from his position 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.” – Iain MacLeod
A former Coronation Street researcher and Story Editor from July 2009 until 2013, Iain has previously worked on some of Corrie’s most momentous storylines including the death of iconic character Jack Duckworth, the 50th anniversary tram crash and the rape of Carla Connor. Iain left Coronation Street in 2013 to join Hollyoaks and was promoted to Series Producer shortly afterwards.
“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.
“Under Stuart, Corrie has been in the safest of hands. Mind you, given that he has sent half of our characters careering over a cliff in a minibus, engulfed the other half in a massive fire and pushed the lovely Tina McIntyre over a balcony to her death, I’m not so sure! What I do know is that under Stuart’s stewardship, Coronation Street has been at its wonderful best – dramatic, relevant and funny all in equal measure. Stuart has managed to infuse the show with his own particular spirit, which is humane and heartfelt, but with just a touch of irreverence. The show is indeed fortunate to have had such a class act at its helm for the last three years.
“When Iain left ITV in 2013 we knew one day he would be back to run one of our shows. With a strong story head and an innate feel for what makes soaps tick, Iain will be a brilliant next Producer of Emmerdale. He inherits a great team and a great show, both of which he will nurture and have fun with when he joins the team at the end of the year.” – Managing Director, Continuing Drama John Whiston
Coronation Street airs Monday/Wednesday/Friday on ITV/STV/UTV. Emmerdale airs weeknights at 7.00pm on ITV/STV/UTV with an additional episode at 8.00pm on Thursdays.