After recent reports that new Corrie executive producer Stuart Blackburn, who takes over from current boss Phil Collinson in January, was planning to sack ten current cast members, ITV have denied claims that a mass cast turnover is on the cards.
According to a report in The Sun newspaper, Blackburn had already planned on sacking the ten actors, thought to include Karl Munro (John Michie), Marcus Dent (Charlie Condou), Izzy Armstrong (Cherylee Houston), Rob Donovan (Marc Baylis) and newcomer Mandy Kamara (Pamela Nomvete), in a shake up to inject new life into the 50 year old ITV soap.
However, a Coronation Street spokesperson told Digital Spy this morning: “No such discussions have been had. The new producer would not even start discussing future storylines until he starts in January 2013.”
Blackburn was announced as Collinson’s successor last month following his departure from rival ITV soap, Emmerdale, and news of his big ‘shake up’ spread quickly, earning him the nickname of The Grim Reaper with some of the younger cast.
One cast member told the publication at the time: “There’s three groups of stars on Corrie – the untouchables like Barbara Knox, Bill Roache and Eileen Derbyshire, the long-term contractors and sexy ones like Kym Marsh and Michelle Keegan.
“And then there’s the rest of us. Most people are either on six-month contracts or one-year contracts, so we all know any of us could be on our way out the door within weeks of him arriving.
“Whenever a new producer starts you get called into their office to meet them and discuss your character – if you get called in for a second time it’s not good news!”
The source added: “There’s a lot of worried people here and agents are all trying to get their stars longer contracts before he starts.
“It’s only natural Stuart will want to put his mark on the show and that always means some new faces appearing – and some leaving.”
Blackburn was the brains behind Corrie’s tram crash, the last big push which saw fan favourites Ashley Peacock (played by Steven Arnold) and Molly Dobbs (Vicky Binns) killed off, during his last spell at Coronation Street.
The ITV source added: “Stuart’s a safe pair of hands but he’s bursting with ideas of how to get Corrie ratings through the roof.
“He’s done a good job on Emmerdale and can’t wait to get stuck into Coronation Street.
“Sadly that will mean some people will be going out the door. The big question now is who?”
Watch Molly Dobbs dramatic exit from the show at the hands of Blackburn during the epic live anniversary tram crash episode in the clip below: