Coronation Street needs more diversity - producer

Coronation Street producer Kate Oates has said more needs to be done in terms of increasing racial diversity among the soap's cast and crew.

Oates, who has been at the helm of the ITV serial drama for a year, has also said she was very aware that she had been "punishing the women" while working as a producer on rival soap Emmerdale, and that she did not want to repeat this on Corrie.

Queens of the Street Credit: Radio Times

In terms of reflecting diversity and showing black and Asian characters, yes, we absolutely need to do more of it.

– Kate Oates
Alya Nazir played by Sair Khan Credit: itv
Bhavna Limbachia plays Rana Nazir who captured Zeedan's heart Credit: ITV
Zeddan played by Qasim Aktar Credit: ITV

And we need more black and Asian writers, to bring out the truth of those voices.

– Kates Oates
Yasmeen Nazir played by Shelley King Credit: ITV
Long-established Jimmy Harkishan who plays Dev Alahan Credit: ITV

It's important to keep the show strong and relevant, so that it's running long after everyone's forgotten who I am.

The presence of strong women was the backbone of the show as Tony Warren created it.

The tone and content of the stories have moved on, and so have the female characters, but that strength has still to be there for it to be truly Corrie. On Emmerdale, I was uncomfortably aware that I'd been responsible for the deaths of a number of women characters and I didn't want to repeat that. I did feel like I was punishing the women.

– Kate Oates
Strong women:Catherine Tyldesley plays Eva intent on revenge Credit: itv

Oates said, to avoid the audience from disengaging, "there had to be journeys of triumph and strength".

Oates took over from previous Corrie series producer Stuart Blackburn, who was the soap's boss since 2013.

She has been hailed by fans for bringing back a number of popular Corrie characters including Peter Barlow (Chris Gascoyne), Toyah Battersby (Georgia Taylor) and Rosie Webster (Helen Flanagan), and also for giving the female cast heavy but empowering storylines.

Recent storylines on the soap have included Bethany Platt (Lucy Fallon) taking action after being groomed by her partner Nathan Curtis (Chris Harper) for a sex ring, and Eva Price (Catherine Tyldesley) plotting revenge on her cheating fiance Aidan Connor (Shayne Ward).