Emmerdale’s executive producer Stuart Blackburn is moving over to Coronation Street to take over as producer there from Phil Collinson, and it seems that the cast of the show are in mortal dread that Blackburn may axe their characters.
Blackburn – who’s been dubbed “the grim reaper” due to his propensity to oversee major soapy disaster storylines that see characters killed off – has reportedly summoned each and every cast member to have a one-to-one with him about what they see as their future on the show.
Speaking to the Mirror, a show insider said, “There are a few people full of jitters in here.
“They don’t know whether their faces will fit or not.
“And with mortgages and commitments to think of it’s a panicky time for a few people…
“Even if they don’t get the bullet they can be kind of sidelined, which means their pay packet will take a battering until it is decided to bring them back in to the fold.”
The show source continued, “This is nothing really new. When a new boss comes in they always want to get to know the people they are working with.
“But they will also have their own ideas on how the show will be heading and that could mean drastic action.
“The process of him talking to the cast will take weeks if not months to get through, so there is bound to be an uneasy feel around the place as people wonder if they are going to get chopped.”
Of the arrival of Blackburn – who was formerly a story editor at Corrie – cast member Jack P Shepherd, who plays David Platt, said, “We’re terrified. It’s always the same, with people asking, ‘Have you heard? New boss, what’s he like’?
“But I remember Stuart. Thankfully, I’ve a good relationship with him.”
The insider added, “There were a lot of worried people when it was announced Phil was going…
“There was talk of agents trying to get their artists longer contracts before the new guy started.
“Whenever a new producer comes in people get called into their office to meet them and discuss matters.
“The word in general is that if you get called in a second time it’s not good news.
“It’s only natural that Stuart Blackburn will want to put his mark on the show.”
However, a Corrie spokeswoman said that Blackburn’s plan to see the cast members individually was not inherently “sinister”.
She added: “He has a very open door policy. Literally, his door is always open.
“He is very approachable and very friendly. He has said, ‘Come and see me, I’m really happy to see you’.”
If you were the new broom at Corrie – and assuming you were going to axe some characters – who would you like to see leave the show and why?
For now, here’s a reminder of Blackburn on This Morning last year talking about Emmerdale…