Coronation Street producer Kate Oates has announced her departure from the ITV soap. She will be replaced by current Emmerdale boss Iain MacLeod, with the changes taking effect from June. Kate confirmed the news in a statement, explaining that she's excited for new challenges – which include producing the upcoming second series of Bancroft, starring Sarah Parish. The 38-year-old said: "Being a part of Coronation Street has quite simply been one of the best experiences of my life. I am proud of the stories we have told and the impact they have had – and I've had a ball working with one of the best and most talented teams in television.
Kate Oates is stepping down as Coronation Street producer after two years
"I'll be forever grateful for this opportunity and all it has given me, but I'm also excited to try something new. I can't wait to make a start on Bancroft, working with the brilliant Sarah Parish and Tall Story Pictures – and I'll continue to love watching both ITV soaps from the comfort of my sofa."
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Kate's two-year tenure at Coronation Street proved divisive. Storylines including Pat Phelan's reign of terror and Bethany Platt's grooming ordeal brought in high viewing figures, but also a large number of complaints. Speaking to the Radio Times in February, Kate acknowledged the controversy, saying: "I realise that, at the moment, Corrie is divisive. I love the old-school viewers because they're key to our audience. But the audience is changing – the dynamic needs to move and shift. It's all about keeping current with what people want. As long as we cater for everyone in the mix, then I think we're doing OK."
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Kate oversaw some hard-hitting storylines, including Pat Phelan's reign of terror
Speaking about Kate's departure, John Whiston, ITV Studios' Creative Director for Coronation Street and Emmerdale, said: "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.
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"Kate has done this whilst putting on screen 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. Meanwhile, Kate has unleashed on us one of the finest villains in soap history with Pat Phelan and his dastardly deeds. And the show has continued day in day out to provide the viewer with top notch Corrie humour from Liz to Moira, from Steve to Tracy, from Sally to Tim. Doing all this while taking the show from five episodes to six episodes a week is a phenomenal achievement by Kate and something of which those who work on the show and those who watch it are hugely appreciative."