A former Keighley man has taken charge of TV soap Emmerdale.

Stuart Blackburn was promoted from story editor to replace series producer Gavin Blyth.

Mr Blyth, who died last November from cancer, had taken Mr Blackburn with him when appointed to the post in 2009. The pair previously worked on Coronation Street where Mr Blackburn was story editor for three years.

Mr Blackburn was born and grew up in Keighley before studying drama at Birmingham University. After graduation he moved to Edinburgh to help run an arts centre for drug users and former prisoners. After four years he became a storyliner for Emmerdale, working on plots including Kim Tate’s reappearance in 1997. He has also written for The Bill, Ballykissangel and Casualty, and worked on Crossroads and BBC drama Doctors. He said the moment he received news of his appointment was the most exciting of his career.

He said: “I feel a massive responsibility as well as excitement.

“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.

“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, creative director of soaps for ITV Studios, said: “Stuart Blackburn had a unique combination of the perfect pedigree and the fire in his belly to take Emmerdale to new heights.”