Stuart Blackburn appointed series producer of Emmerdale

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Stuart Blackburn, most recently the story editor of Emmerdale, has been appointed the soap's new series producer.

He replaces Gavin Blyth, who died in November 2010. Tony Hammond has been acting series producer since that time.

Blackburn said: "This job is very special to me because producing is the ultimate form of story-telling and I've always been very passionate about drama in my working life. This is without doubt the most exciting day of my career. I feel a massive responsibility as well as excitement. We'll never be complacent at Emmerdale as it's important we look forward. Together with the cast and crew we'll continue to work extremely hard to improve what Gavin had started."

John Whiston, the creative director of soaps at ITV Studios, said Blackburn has "a unique combination of the perfect pedigree and the fire in his belly to take Emmerdale to new heights".

"I'm really glad he threw his hat into the ring for the producer's job and I'm confident the show will now build not just on the foundations that Gavin laid but also on the amazing work that Tony Hammond and the team have done to carry on Gavin's legacy," he added.