Oates previously worked on Emmerdale, The Archers and Crossroads.
“Kate Oates has transformed Coronation Street during her tenure. This has been reflected both in the huge critical acclaim the show has been getting and in the ratings. We are now used to opening the overnights and seeing Coronation Street has delivered its highest ratings for many years, a herculean achievement in this box set era. Kate has done this whilst putting onscreen some groundbreaking and socially important stories such as the Bethany grooming story and David’s rape story. It is a testament to her brilliant editorial touch that these stories, though difficult, have been both credible and engaging.” – ITV Studios Creative Director for Coronation Street and Emmerdale, John Whiston
ITV this morning confirmed Kate Oates is to leave the Weatherfield set saga as producer. Current Emmerdale boss, and former Hollyoaks boss and Corrie storyliner Iain MacLeod has been appointed as the new Producer of Coronation Street.
In a press release from ITV Granada, the company say that Kate Oates made the decision to leave the serial in order to move into drama series production. The announcement comes at a time when Corrie is facing a backlash from viewers – and famous fans such as Paul O’Grady – over dark plots. However, conversely, the programme has also been praised for its socially aware storylines with ratings remaining strong for the Salford based production.
Oates and MacLeod were announced as the new execs on Coronation Street and Emmerdale in September 2015 with Kate taking over from equally as controversial boss Stuart Blackburn. Kate is moving to work with ITV Studios owned label Tall Story Pictures, where she will produce the forthcoming second series of Bancroft, starring Sarah Parish.
She previously 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.
In her time at the ITV Yorkshire saga she introduced the helicopter disaster episodes and was 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. Over at Corrie she’s overseen the introduction of set extension Victoria Street, a sixth episode on the ITV schedules and plots such as serial killer Pat Phelan, the rape of David Platt and the drug-addicted Vicar Billy Mayhew.
The dark stories haven’t however resinated with many fans of the show’s previous format of ‘light and shade’, with more emphasis on the light – as currently seen in the Classic Coronation Street repeats on ITV3. Paul O’Grady is the most recent personality to hit-out at the long-running serials keenness for gruesome storytelling noting:
“It was about working class life in a little street, but now it’s like Syria.“
Chat show host Michael Parkinson also waded in last November noting to the RadioTimes:
“I never imagined I would recoil from watching Coronation Street. But the storyline of the kidnapping and torture of Andy and Vinny and their brutal murder by Pat Phelan had little to do with that gentle, funny reminder of life in the North Country I discovered and so admired in the early 1960s when I joined Granada Television.”
Other famous names not impressed include television presenters Fern Britton and Carol Vorderman as well as ex-cast including Sarah Lancashire and Bruce Jones.
“When bad things used to happen in Corrie, and of course they did it wasn’t always a happy-go-lucky serial, these disasters were spread out more; so you cared more. Lately it seems as if Corrie’s had just too much going on while EastEnders has suffered from the opposite problem of being televisual boredom. And of course it’s usually ‘Enders that is renowed for its grim, dark plots. Although I think even the Beeb saga couldn’t get away with the style of storytelling Kate’s introduced into Corrie the past two years, for many viewers its just too much.” – TV Critic Vivian Summers
Ian MacLeod is no stranger to the cobbled terrace as a former Corrie 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. Over at the Leeds based Emmerdale, he’s tackled a range of notable storylines including the recent acid attack inflicted on Ross, the reuniting of Robron following an acrimonious break up after Rebecca gave birth to Robert’s son, Seb, the realisation that Faith Dingle has suffered a double mastectomy and Emma Barton’s demise following the death of James.
The ITV Yorkshire series has also received a remarkable string of awards during Iain’s time as Producer including a BAFTA for Best Continuing Drama in 2017, the RTS Award for Continuing Drama in 2016 and 2017 and the National Television Award for Serial Drama for consecutive years in 2017 and 2018.
ITV has also announced today that former ITV Drama Commissioner Jane Hudson has been appointed Emmerdale’s Executive Producer responsible for the future editorial and creative direction of the soap. Assistant Producer Kate Brooks becomes Producer alongside current Series Script Producer Laura Shaw who also becomes a Producer.
“Emmerdale has been going through its own golden period under Iain MacLeod’s aegis. It too has built its audience volume and share. And it has delivered some truly memorable storylines. Ashley’s dementia was notable not just for the strength of the story, but for the way it was told with some soap defining drama, such as the episode all seen through Ashley’s point of view. Equally hard hitting, though in a different way, was the multi-car pile up on Hotten bypass. Emmerdale has a reputation for delivering big stunts and this one was the biggest and most spectacular, as well as the most intricately plotted and it came from the perfect soap brain of the supremely talented Iain MacLeod.” – ITV Studios Creative Director for Coronation Street and Emmerdale, John Whiston